Here is a head-scratcher for you…

Increasing mental well-being often involves learning to listen to your thoughts and feelings MORE and LESS. What? How does that work?

By listening more, I mean paying more attention, or practicing a mindful awareness. Imagine that you are the parent and your thoughts and feelings are your children. You do not want to neglect them. You want to stay aware of what is going on with them, what their wants and needs are, and how they are developing.

But at the same time, you do not want to follow their every whim or indulge their every request. By listening less to your thoughts and feelings, I mean following them less, and not assuming that they are always an accurate interpretation of reality. Just because your child tells you there is a monster under her bed does not mean there really is one,  and just because your thoughts and feelings tell you something upsetting, such as that others are judging you unfavorably,  it does not mean that they actually are.

Thoughts and feelings do not give you a perfect read on your surroundings; They only indicate how your system is interfacing with those surroundings.

The child who tells you of a monster under her bed needs to be listened to and comforted, because her discomfort is real.  But you are not going to sell your house due to monster infestation. Your thoughts and feelings need to be acknowledged and listened to, but they do not always need to be taken as fact or acted upon.  Sometimes, they just need you to sit with them, turn the light on, and tell them a calming story so they can relax and rest.