It’s all in the mind: phrases with ‘mind’

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by Liz Walter

Since our mind is the part of us that enables us to think and feel emotions, I suppose it’s not surprising that there are lots of phrases that include it. In this post I am going to talk about some of the most common and useful phrases.

When you decide something, you make up your mind or make your mind up:

It’s time to make your mind up. Are you coming with us or not?

If you form a new opinion about something or make a new decision that is different from your previous decision, you change your mind:

I’ve changed my mind about Frida: she’s not unfriendly, just a bit shy.

If you have a lot on your mind, you have a lot of problems or worries:

Sorry for being grumpy: I’ve got a lot on my mind at the moment.

Something that takes your mind off problems or pain stops you thinking about them because it gives you something else to think about instead:

Playing football really helps me take my mind off work.

Something that puts your mind at rest stops you worrying. You can describe the feeling as a load/weight off your mind:

I think you should see a doctor, just to put your mind at rest.

My landlord says I can stay here as long as I like, which is a weight off my mind.

Your state of mind or frame of mind is the way you are feeling about life or a situation at the moment, while a problem that is all in the/your mind is something you are imagining, or not something that is real:

She’s not in the right frame of mind to study.

We thought that the symptoms were all in his mind.

If we describe someone as out of their mind, we mean that they are crazy. We don’t use this phrase for serious mental illness, but when someone behaves in a way that we think is stupid or irrational. We can also say that a person is out of their mind with an unpleasant emotion such as worry, stress, boredom or grief:

You’re planning to cycle across the desert? Are you out of your mind?

The speech went on for over an hour. I was bored out of my mind.

There are several other phrases with ‘mind’, but I will end with one of my favourites. If an inanimate object doesn’t work in the way we want or expect it to, we often say that it has a mind of its own:

Be careful with that coffee machine – it has a mind of its own.

16 thoughts on “It’s all in the mind: phrases with ‘mind’

  1. Zahid farooq

    Most rational and intrinsic mind decisive phrases. The mind related phrases are frequently used in psychology and emotional sciences. Really, new touch and taste in my vocab.

  2. Olga

    Hello, Liz! Thank you for a such amazing post! all of the expressions are so “tasty” that I’m in two minds which to use first! The most liked is about a coffee machine and that it has the mind of its own!

  3. Wynn Hall

    I’ve just joined the website. I can’t find where to leave a comment on a word.
    The word is, “spare”. It’s in a story about a woman being forced to marry in a “spare, unceremonious mass wedding”. I don’t know if it’s misspelt?
    I thought it meant “bare” or something like that. But this meaning is not included anywhere in this dictionary. I’d love some feedback on this, if possible please.

    1. Liz Walter

      This is related to the sense 2 in the Cambridge dictionary, but is used in a slightly different way. It means something like ‘with no luxury’. ‘Austere’ would be a good synonym. Hope that helps.

  4. Maryem Salama

    We say in our language ” that handsome man took her mind.” Can we use the same context in English?

    1. Liz Walter

      That doesn’t work in English, but if you mean she was crazy about the man, you could possibly say he made her lose her mind, which sounds similar.

  5. Raghav Nehra

    My colleague was once very angry at a junior. I asked her ‘why did you lose your mind at him?’ I think I phrased it the wrong way.
    Should I have said “why did you lose your cool?” Or even the first one would mean the same?

    1. Liz Walter

      Yes, ‘lose your cool’ is the right phrase in this situation. ‘Lose your mind’ is more like ‘go crazy’ in the sense of doing something foolish: ‘You lent him £1,000? Have you lost your mind?’

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