Mindset and the power of our thoughts seem to be a hot topic lately. From podcasts, books, social media and even the news, people are talking more about mental health and how we can change our lives by transforming our mind. However, it’s hard to overcome the unconscious, habitual thoughts that surface, and many people are challenged by the question, “How do I change this mindset I’ve had for decades?” This is an area I LOVE learning about, so of course I want to dedicate my first post to it!
Start with self-awareness. You can’t change what you don’t know! A great tool to tune into your mind is journaling. Don’t overthink what you write; just set the intention to get to know your mind and write. You can also try meditation, yoga, being in silence more in everyday life. Observe where your mind wanders and take note of it. Dig deeper and ask yourself where this negative pattern of thinking came from and start to bring more awareness to yourself.
The next step, and the one I find personally the most challenging, is acceptance. I don’t mean accept the mindset that tells you: you aren’t worth it. Rather, accept where you are right now, so you can let go and move forward. Don’t get mad at yourself for falling into a negative loop. Praise yourself for bringing awareness to a previously unconscious habit.
Here’s a visualization exercise: picture a balloon surrounding the negative thought or mindset you want to let go. Notice the balloon is outside of you, so the thought isn’t attached to you. Acknowledge its presence and then allow it to float away. A thought doesn’t have power until we believe it. We give so much of our power away, so make sure you only give a voice to the thoughts that come from love intended for your highest good. Otherwise, it has no business in your mental space!
Changing your mindset requires action and growth. I believe our mindset evolves as we grow, but when we don’t grow and evolve as individuals, we become stuck and so does our mindset. Taking action that aligns with a new mindset helps to lock in that new belief system. As cheesy as it sounds, looking at yourself in a mirror and saying positive affirmations is super helpful! Starting a gratitude practice is another way to lock in a new way perspective. I have found my mindset has shifted to a more peaceful and content place by practicing gratitude daily.
Many times, the action required for growth is outside our comfort zone. Want to start believing that you deserve more? Maybe you really want that promotion at work but feel fearful of rejection. In order to overcome the fearful mindset of rejection, you have to get comfortable with putting yourself out there and ask for that raise regardless of the outcome. Hard but true. I love this quote by William Butler Yeats, “We are happy when we are growing.” A great reminder that working through the uncomfy growth is what brings the most joy and lasting change in life.
Have patience with yourself. It’s easy to get frustrated when we fall back into old habits of thinking but have compassion toward yourself. Would you criticize your best friend for making a simple human error? No! You’d probably tell them, “Oh be easy with yourself; you’re just doing your best.” So, friends, let’s be kinder to ourselves. Whenever those nasty thoughts pop back in my mind, I go back to step 2 and send it away. If I catch the thought mid action, I will speak to myself in third person. For example I might say, “Monica, you are okay and handling this situation well.” Doing this exercise is a great way to distance yourself from the issue. It brings awareness that you are not your thoughts or feelings. You are so much more than those things and in control. Talking in third person also places you in a coaching position to yourself, which gives you the opportunity to support yourself and have more self-compassion. Instead of getting angry at yourself for falling into old habits, you come from a place of love and give yourself grace by gently redirecting your mind.
There you have it! 4 steps to changing your mindset. I hope you feel empowered to transform your mental space into a happier, more peaceful mind. If you find yourself still stuck, I highly recommend therapy. There have been mindsets I have needed help processing, so never feel like you have to do all this work on your own! – Monica