How to “Mind your Mind” and Improve your Well-being
This morning you woke up, started your day and, whether you realized it or not, you said some things to yourself. You may have said,
Today is going to be great… I am going to succeed… I look good!
or perhaps the dialogue was more along the lines of
I have too much to do… I’m tired… I need to lose some weight… It’s going to be a rough day…
The way we talk to ourselves can affect our mood, our likelihood of success, and even our health. Saying negative and critical things can bring us down. Would you say to a friend: “You should get going on that to-do list… You look tired… You should lose some weight”? Probably not. So why would you say it to yourself? And what effect does that type of language have on your health and well-being?
We have all heard the buzzword “mindfulness” and may even be familiar with the benefits of practicing it – improved focus, reduced stress, stronger relationships, injury prevention, and the list goes on. One dimension of mindfulness is to pay attention to your thoughts or to mind your mind. My experience with mindfulness has led me to discover that if you can tune in to what you’re saying to yourself – your self-talk – then you can decide whether you want to speak positively or negatively. That’s where the real changes happen.
Want more energy? Say to yourself, “I have an abundance of energy!”
Need to de-stress? Say, “I let go of all my worries and fears.”
Feeling discouraged about your level of fitness? Say, “I accept where I am and continue to work towards my goals.”
Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This may seem silly at first, especially when you don’t believe what you’re saying. I’ve seen the eye rolls! But training your brain with positive affirmations is possible – just like we train our muscles in the gym –and it can benefit your health and well-being.
Think about it – How do you feel when you say to yourself, “I’m fat, I eat too much, and I’m not fit?” This negativity will most likely bring you down and even discourage you from making the changes necessary to improve your health, taking you down the “why even bother?” pathway. Maybe you would benefit from making some improvements to your diet and physical activity. You don’t have to believe that everything is perfect, because it’s not, but there are kinder and more effective ways of motivating yourself.
Think positively about the same situation. It might sound like, “I am grateful for a body that allows me to move, breathe, and live freely. I accept my body the way it is while I am working towards my fitness and nutritional goals.”
Which is more encouraging? Which makes you feel better? Which thoughts are more likely to lead to success?
I believe that if you can mind your mind and maintain a positive outlook, you are more likely to succeed, whether your goals are to improve your fitness, decrease stress, or learn the polka.
Give it a try! Here are some ways to keep those positive vibes flowing:
- Write it down. Use paper and pen to write 2-3 statements, or affirmations, that you need to hear today. The best affirmations are those you can really connect to. Writing it down can help create a lasting impression.
- Say it out loud. Recite your affirmations 3 times each, either out loud or silently to yourself. Inflect a different word each time. Notice how you feel.
- Listen to a recording. Use a recording device, such as the Voice Memos app on your phone, to record yourself saying your affirmations. Listening to your own voice can be very powerful.
- Be consistent. Just like exercise, effective training for your mind requires consistency. Want regular reminders? There’s always an app for that! I recommend ThinkUp, but there are plenty to explore!
So what do you need to hear today? Happy thinking!