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Releasing ourselves from ‘mindtraps’


Inspired by a recent online article, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall summarises five common ‘mindtraps’ and asks us to consider questions that may generate new energy and solutions

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Clergy mental health

In a recent edition of the Alban Weekly I read an article with the intriguing title, ‘Exhausted? – Maybe You’re “Mindtrapped”’ by The Rev’d Dr Lawrence Peers (a former senior consultant of the Alban Institute).

“Lawrence Peers raises the possibility that the exhaustion so many of us are feeling right now may be a result of being “mindtrapped”, a phenomenon which has us over-relying on our instincts even in situations when those instincts are failing us” (Alban Weekly, 8 February 2021).

Peers observes:

“Misery loves company, the saying goes, and clergy are indeed bonding with each other through these challenges. We commiserate, support, and resource one another the best we can. Still we feel exhausted by the onslaught of so many challenges at once.

Our exhaustion is real, but it is only partly brought about by our external challenges. Another source of  stress is that we try to manage unfamiliar stresses and uncertainties in old, familiar ways.”

Peers argues that we need to release ourselves from our mindtraps. He identifies the following five:

  1. We are trapped by “simple ”
  2. We are trapped by wanting to be right.
  3. We are trapped by wanting everyone to agree.
  4. We are trapped by wanting to control the outcome.
  5. The trap and seduction of the ego.

He then leaves us with four questions that might generate new energy and solutions as we imagine stepping out of  our mindtraps:

  1. What is at stake for me at this moment in my ministry or leadership?
  2. What is hardest about this current situation?
  3. What is best about this current situation?
  4. How do I know what is true for me and my experience right now?

This article appears alongside others, including one by Susan Beaumont titled, ‘Can you trust your gut right now’, which might also be worth your following up.

Perhaps you could consider subscribing to the Alban Weekly, which seeks to offer stories of hope and practical wisdom on how to lead congregations today.

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