Last updated on November 29th, 2023.
Being non-plussed is a state of mind where one is calm, composed, and unaffected by the ups and downs of life. This concept was popularized by the philosopher and writer Alan Watts, who believed everyone’s goal should be to reach this state of being. Being non-plussed can provide a sense of peace and stability in a world entirely of chaos and distraction.
In his teachings, Watts emphasized the importance of mindfulness, exposure therapy, cognitive reframing, seeking challenges, and practicing self-awareness to achieve a non-plussed state of mind. By embracing these techniques, individuals can cultivate inner peace and resilience, allowing them to navigate life’s challenges gracefully and efficiently.
5 Ways to Practice Being Non-Plussed
- Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves focusing on the present moment and observing thoughts and emotions without attachment. This can help individuals become more aware of their emotional reactivity and develop the ability to regulate their response. Practicing mindfulness can also help reduce stress and increase feelings of calm and inner peace.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is a therapeutic approach that involves gradually exposing an individual to situations or stimuli that previously triggered strong emotions. Over time, the individual learns to process these experiences differently, reducing the intensity of their emotional response. This technique can help individuals become more resilient in life’s challenges, leading to a more non-plussed state of mind.
- Cognitive reframing: Cognitive reframing involves changing negative thought patterns, contributing to emotional reactivity. This can help individuals develop a more positive outlook and reduce their emotional response to stressful or challenging situations. By shifting their perspective, individuals can become more accepting and non-reactive in life’s ups and downs.
- Seek out challenges: Exercising beyond your comfort zone can help build resilience and reduce emotional reactivity. This can be anything from taking on a new hobby to pursuing a new job or relationship. By facing challenges head-on, individuals can become more confident and capable of facing life’s difficulties.
- Practice self-awareness: Observing thoughts and emotions without judgment can help individuals become more aware of their emotional triggers and develop the ability to regulate their responses. This can lead to a more non-reactive state of mind, where individuals can better manage their emotions and maintain inner peace, even in adversity.
Practical examples of exposure therapy
Exposure therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that involves gradually exposing a person to a feared object or situation. The goal is to help the person overcome fear and become less anxious. Here are some examples of exposure therapy:
- Agoraphobia: A person with agoraphobia (fear of public places) may start by sitting on a park bench and gradually move on to more crowded places like shopping centers.
- Cynophobia: A person who fears dogs may start by looking at pictures of dogs, then move on to visit a home with a friendly dog, and finally petting a dog.
- Social anxiety disorder: A person with social anxiety may start by having small conversations with people and then move on to speaking in front of a group.
- Panic disorder: A person with panic disorder may be exposed to symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath in a controlled environment.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A person with PTSD may be exposed to reminders of the traumatic event, like visiting the place where the event occurred or watching a movie about a similar event.
These are just a few examples of exposure therapy. The specific approach will depend on the individual’s fear or phobia.
Examples of the types of challenges to see out in order to work on keeping a calm state of mind
Seeking out challenges is one way to work on keeping a calm state of mind, as it helps build resilience and strengthens our ability to handle stress. Here are some examples of types of challenges to seek out:
- Learning new skills: Trying something new and challenging, such as learning a new language or sport, can help build confidence and reduce stress.
- Traveling to new places: Exploring new environments can challenge your comfort zone and help you develop a sense of adventure.
- Overcoming fears: Confronting fears like public speaking or heights can help you build resilience and reduce anxiety.
- Volunteer work: Engaging in volunteer work, such as helping at a homeless shelter or working with animals, can help you gain a new perspective and develop a sense of purpose.
- Problem-solving challenges: Solving challenging problems like crosswords or logic puzzles can help boost your problem-solving skills and reduce stress.
- Physical challenges: Taking on a physical challenge, such as running a marathon or hiking a mountain, can help build confidence and reduce stress.
- Emotional challenges: Confronting emotional difficulties, such as past traumas or relationship issues, can help build resilience and reduce stress.
These are just a few examples of the challenges you can seek to work on keeping a calm state of mind. The specific difficulties you choose will depend on your personal goals and interests. The key is to choose challenges that are meaningful to you and help you grow in ways that are important to you.
Practical examples of practicing self-awareness
Self-awareness is becoming more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to understand better and regulate them. Here are some practical examples of how to practice self-awareness:
- Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and observing thoughts and emotions without judgment. It can be done through deep breathing, body scans, and guided meditations.
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you identify patterns and triggers and reflect on your experiences.
- Body awareness exercises: Paying attention to physical sensations in your body can help you become more in tune with your emotions. Examples include yoga, tai chi, and progressive muscle relaxation.
- Emotion regulation exercises: Practicing techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you regulate your emotions.
- Self-reflection: Reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Ask yourself questions like: “What am I feeling right now?” “Why am I feeling this way?” “What is the trigger for this emotion?”
- Mindful self-compassion: Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding rather than judgment and criticism.
- Seek feedback: Ask trusted friends or family members about your behavior and how you interact with others. This can help you gain insight into areas where you need to improve your self-awareness.
These are just a few examples of how to practice self-awareness. The specific techniques used will depend on the individual and their needs.
Explore the transformative power of meditation and take the first step towards sharing this practice with others by enrolling in an online meditation teacher training program today, and discover the many benefits of joining a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to mindfulness and inner peace.
In conclusion, being non-plussed is a valuable goal to strive for in life. By following Alan Watts’ teachings and incorporating mindfulness, exposure therapy, cognitive reframing, seeking out challenges, and practicing self-awareness into our daily routines, we can cultivate inner peace and resilience, allowing us to live a more fulfilling and joyful life.