It’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of work, sleep, more work and maybe a little eating in between. You read about rest days, eating healthy and exercising. But taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body. We just forget that sometimes.
What’s the big deal?
Probably bigger than you think. For example, this study found that stress at work has a negative effect on the human lifespan. Stress factors include the probability of getting laid off, employer-provided health care and the length of working hours. Another study suggests that stress will lead to obesity and high cholesterol. Excessive stress can also lead to heart disease, a reduced immune system and it makes people vulnerable for mental conditions like depression and hypothyroidism.
If you got here because you want to change your thought patterns, reduce the stress in your life and be happier with the person you want to be, then you’re already halfway there. One of the hardest things to do is to admit to yourself that something needs to change.
Being free of anxiety, depression and excessive stress helps us in every single aspect of our life. If I think back to how my life – and my mind – was just a few years ago, I feel physically sick. Even though my body was fit, I was eating healthy and smiling on the outside, I wasn’t happy. My thoughts were unhealthy, and physical actions couldn’t change that. You can’t be healthy if your mind isn’t healthy.
The power of positive thinking
It probably won’t come as a surprise that positive thinking has a positive effect on well, pretty much anything. But what many forget is that your positive mind will also impact others. ‘Positive thinking’ is an overused and broad term. You will find thousands of list articles with short tips that promise to change your life. Spoiler alert: they don’t. You scroll through them on a boring Thursday night when you’re supposed to do something else and then go on with your life.
Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you. – Les Brown
But science is starting to explore the effect of positive thinking on your brain, your health, your skills and other people. ”Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude”, as James Clear puts it.
The subconscious mind
According to recent studies, our minds have trouble processing negative words. Have you ever told someone to stop drinking, only to have them drink more? Or maybe you’ve told a child to stop doing something, only to have the child do it again. the subconscious mind makes a lot of our decisions without us realizing. This happens because our mind doesn’t process the word ‘don’t’. It just processes the word ‘smoke’ or ‘drink’. People who have a negative mindset tend to speak to themselves in negative phrases: ‘stop doing it’ is a common one. If you want to avoid this problem, you need to get into the habit of rephrasing things. ‘Be free from drinking.’
What if I fail?
This is your negative voice talking. If you can take one piece of advice from this article, let it be this: Never listen to the negative voice in your head. The negative voice is like that girl in your math class that reminded the teacher of homework.
Getting into a healthier mindset isn’t about perfecting right away. It’s about practice, patience and reminding yourself of the long lasting effects.
Your action plan
Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore everything that doesn’t make you happy. It just means that you approach it in a positive way. you have good hope that the best is going to happen, instead of the worst. It takes lot sof practice to get into this mindset, but I made it an action plan to help you get started. Feel free to bookmark for later reference!
- Step 1: Recognize your negative thoughts. Our negative self-talk might be so ingrained into our life that it can be hard to recognize. If you notice certain thoughts resurfacing, write them down. They often sound really silly when written down or said out loud. Every time you recognize a negative thought, gently remind yourself of the new positive mindset you’re trying to get into and consciously replace the negative thought with a positive one.
- Step 2: Don’t play the victim. It’s tough to be honest with yourself and tell yourself that you need to take responsibility for your own thoughts and behaviours. You create your life, not the people around you.
- Step 3: Exercise gratitude. At the end of the day, take the time to write down the things you are grateful for. If you’re not a writer, at least sum them up in your head or talk about them with a loved one. I know, this is a well-known tip, but with a reason. Exercising gratitude helps you become a little more positive every single day.
- Step 4: Contribute to your community. It makes you feel good, and it makes others feel good. When I was struggling with insecurity in my teens, one of my friends suggested that I should start helping people. Anyone I possibly could. To this day it is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received.
- Step 5: Practice self-care and manage your stress levels. Take good care of yourself physically and mentally. Get regular exercise, eat well (with the occasional brownie) and take the time to Netflix and chill when you need to. You will thank yourself later.
Don’t force it
Sometimes bad stuff will happen, and it will be out of your control. It will still bring you down, even if you try your best to be positive. Please recognize that this is normal. What you want to do is put the bad stuff into context. Ask yourself if the thing that happened will matter next year, or even next week. Yes, you’re having a bad day, but tomorrow will be better. That is true positive thinking.