Last week we started this series on negotiating your mindset. I believe the subject warrants a series as all of life is a negotiation and negotiating your mindset is your most important one. Your inner voice and inner chatter will determine the meaning you attach to things, which in turn will determine your emotional state, which in turn will determine your experience of life. Most people allow their inner critic to take centre stage in their brain and never seize control of their own internal negotiations.
If you missed the intro last week, check it out so you can build the foundation necessary to manage your mindset and choose your state with intention.
Gifts of Gratitude
A simple and powerful technique to manage your mindset and shift out of negative states is to remind yourself of things you can be grateful for now … in this moment. Even in your seemingly darkest hours, gifts abound all around you. In our busy ‘to do’ lives, we often forget to appreciate (or even recognize) these gifts. They become background white noise as we focus on what we don’t have or on what’s not going right.
If you’re having trouble finding terra firma, and want a simple step to reclaim solid ground beneath your feet, simply pause. Take a moment to think of something you are grateful for in that moment. It can be something simple (maybe the feel of the sun or wind on your face) or something more emotionally resonant (the love of someone in your life) or even the breath flowing into your lungs.
You will always find something to be grateful for if you take the time to consider it with intention. Let yourself revel in it for a moment. Breathe it in. It’s impossible to stay in a state of anger, resentment, fear, angst, disappointment (or the range of other negative emotions that disempower us) while in a state of gratitude. Feel the freedom in that gratitude.
Strength In Service
An effective sister technique to appreciating the gifts that abound around you is to also ask yourself “what gifts can I bring”? Coming from a place of service and generosity can be the most powerful gift you can give yourself. It lifts your vibration to a higher plane and releases endorphins, inspiring feelings of well-being and joy. I invite you to ask yourself what gift you can share with the world.
Power of Thoughts
You’ll notice that both the above simple techniques involve choosing your thoughts. I always advocate the importance of getting intentional about the thoughts you choose. This will always serve you, but now, during these unusual times, where we’re spending more time alone, I urge you to get serious about taking control over the thoughts you allow in. We recognize the importance of paying attention to what food we put in our bodies for our physical health. Think of monitoring your internal mental dialogue as mental hygiene.
The thoughts you allow in and the meaning you attach to those thoughts will determine your reality. Sift through the chatter in your mind and consider starting the practice of asking yourself “Does it serve me to allow this to take up space in my head right now?”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, 95% repeat each day. And sadly, on average, 80% of those repeated thoughts are negative. Consider the destructive power of that kind of defeatist repetition. Our brain believes what we tell it, which is why our expectations are so often realized (the good, the bad and the ugly). So, I invite you to expect the best. It takes no more effort.
Your thoughts are the gateway between where you are now and where you want to go. Change your internal dialogue. Change your thoughts, change your outcomes.
Love Yourself Unconditionally
The most important starting point in monitoring your thoughts is to love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself your imperfections. Reconnect with yourself and get to a place where you enjoy spending time with yourself. Be self-centered – in the sense that you’re grounded and centred in and with yourself. Go out into the world from that place.
Live Fully Present
Remember that life is made up of moments. Every moment matters. So, it makes sense to be fully present in each moment. Presence is one of the most valuable gifts you can give – to yourself and to others in your life. Ask yourself if you’ve been living your life with intention in the moment. Or have you been racing toward some imaginary finish line? If you’re thinking about the finish line (whether for a particular task, project or endgame) it’s unlikely that you’re living in the moment. If you’re in survival mode, or waiting for something to ‘be over’, or waiting for ‘one day’, then you’re not fully living.
And the good news is that you can hit the reset button now. You can choose your reality by choosing the thoughts you allow in. Choose gratitude. Choose to love yourself unconditionally. Choose to live fully present in each moment.
Join us next week to explore even more techniques to take control of your mindset and live a more empowered life.