Most times, when we talk about the desire to get healthier, we tend to be speaking of physical health. We take actions like making better food choices, exercising more, maybe even drinking more water, or getting to bed earlier. These are all great changes! However, when focusing on health it’s not often we consider our mindset. It’s almost like it’s an afterthought or something unrelated to physical health. But it’s completely related. In fact, your mindset is not only determining the direction your health is taking, but also affects how you experience life in general. If you want total health, then starting with the mind is where you will get the most benefit. The ripple effect will touch all areas of your life, including your physical health.
Ask yourself these questions today:
1. What am I feeding my mind?
2. What state of mind do I most dwell in?
3. What type of exercise am I doing to improve my mental health?
I challenge you today to think about what you are feeding your mind. You might be making better food choices in life but are you making better mental food choices? Are you going to sit down to a healthy mental meal or are you going to feast at a mental buffet of junk food? Make wiser choices. With cable news, we now have a restaurant that’s open 24/7. You might drop in for a few minutes to see what’s going on, but you don’t need to sit down and spend hours consuming mental junk food. It’s truly like junk food. Once you start on a bag of chips, it’s really hard to stop. Not much different when we think about how we engage in negative news coverage or even gossiping with friends. Instead, eat WELL! Enjoy richly rewarding, nutrient-dense mental food! Consume high-quality items rather than cheap, low nutrient junk. Listen and read uplifting and productive content. Have stimulating and enjoyable conversations with friends and family. Anywhere you can find a nutritious mental meal, eat up!
When it comes to consuming a mental diet put some boundaries up for yourself rather than restrictions. Restrictions only cause you to want more. Tell your brain you are putting up healthy boundaries and you are choosing them for a reason. Make your reasons align with what you want. Staying informed is positive for the mind. It allows you to make better choices in life. However, it’s different than overconsuming negativity. You will know the difference because you will FEEL the difference between the two. Pay attention to your feelings. What are your overall emotions telling you? Listen to your thoughts. Are they filled with worry? Listen to your words. Are they full of complaints? If so, then chances are you’re overconsuming mental junk food.
Next, observe where you are dwelling. If you’re trying to become physically healthier then you aren’t going to hang out in a donut shop all day long. Where are you mentally dwelling? Are you in a state of negativity, complaint, or bitterness? Try to visit a new state of mind now and then. Make it a more familiar place for yourself and your brain will latch onto it because the brain loves the familiar. Try to stop by the state of gratitude more frequently. The more you visit it, the more it will feel like home. Just like you decide to physically go to the donut shop, you have to decide to mentally go to the gratitude shop. Pay attention to your primary mental dwelling space. If you’re spending the majority of your time there, then it’s now become your home. If it has you feeling bad then you’re going to have to find a better home to live in. I have found that all applications for gratitude homes are accepted. In fact, they are the easiest to buy as a “first home”. Typically, the mind doesn’t fight against gratitude. Explore gratitude before trying to be “positive”. Trying to move into a “positive” home (mindset) when you’ve spent years in the opposite, sometimes requires a lengthier “application for approval” by your thinking mind. Everyone has something they can find to be grateful for, no matter how small it might seem. Exploit that if necessary. You will get approval (by your mind).
Even if your physical body doesn’t love exercise, I assure you that your mind does! In fact, if you take a moment to notice it, you will realize that it’s “exercising” pretty much every moment of the day with mental dialogue. Give it some new exercises to do. Try learning something different. That could be something really ambitious like learning a new language. But, if you’re like most people you might not have the time for a big task like that. So, give it smaller, baby step exercises like “Today I am going to busy my mind with looking for all the ways that things went well for me, no matter how small it may seem.” Once you do that for a day, try to see if you can do it for two days….and so on. Keep increasing the days until you do it for 30 days straight, so it becomes a habit. The next month try another exercise like “Today I will focus on giving compliments rather than complaints…..not only to others but to myself.” Then do the same process.
Just like physical health, mindset health is a way of life. It starts with baby steps. Things shift over time but once you get started on it, it’s like a stalled car you are pushing. When you get it going it picks up speed and gets easier to move.
Make a choice today to address your mental health by taking some small action steps and watch how that improves ALL areas of your life, including your physical health.