“If you change your mindset, you have the ability to change your whole world.” ~ Damien Thomas
How has your week been? Picking up where we left off from my last post: did you take time to re-charge by focusing a little more on sleeping and taking breaks when needed? Even if you didn’t get all the shuteye you want, just being aware of your sleep habits and stress levels will go a long way towards renewing your energy and giving you greater purpose each day. As we talked about in my last post, the concept of getting healthy isn’t just about getting our bodies in shape, it’s about gaining awareness of how our thoughts and habits – our MINDSET – guide our choices, both bad and good.
RE-SET your MINDSET
Here’s an example:
A client of mine recently told me she “can’t get through her afternoon” without having a sugary iced coffee and a pastry at 2:00 every day. “Otherwise, I would fall asleep at my desk,” she explained. When we talked more about this habit, which added unwanted calories and cost to her day, it became clear that the RITUAL of getting the coffee and pastry were just as important to her as their taste. She had an emotional attachment to taking this break during her work day and the short-term energy boost the sugar and caffeine she was convinced these treats would give her. So, I asked her to conduct a three-day experiment: instead of the coffee and pastry, she would take a fast walk around the block – fast enough to get her heart rate up. She’d follow that up with 2 tall glasses of water with a slice of her favorite fruit (she chose strawberries). Then I asked her to write down any fluctuations in her energy levels, compared with the days she had sugar and caffeine. The results? After three days, she felt more energized than she had in over a year. Within a month, she had lost five pounds, to boot. Why is this?
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
Our thoughts typically drive our feelings and our feelings typically drive our actions. In the case of my client, she thought she needed a caffeine sugar boost to get “through her afternoon,” which led to her feeling temporary excitement and craving for that habit every day, which led to her arranging her schedule (and to a degree, her budget) around that action. But in the end, she felt better when she was able to REPLACE this self-defeating habit with other things that gave her more energy and helped her get healthier.
Most of the time, this is how we operate. And because we are wired to think of safety and familiarity, we tend to hang onto our routines – even if they’re self-defeating. Changing this old approach starts with being aware of our thoughts and learning to create some space between a thought and a meaning to that thought. It’s like exercise for your brain.
Here are a few additional ways to RE-SET your MINDSET:
- Meditation – Start by taking just five minutes a day to sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed. Focus on breathing deeply and calmly, out and in. Observe your thoughts without any judgement. With practice, you’ll be able to clear your mind – even if it’s only for 10 seconds at a time.
- Journaling – Writing in a journal is a great way to get your thoughtsout of your head and down on paper where you can see them. This is also a good way to empty your mind and find a more objective way to see how what’s going on inside that noisy brain.
- Get Out – Going outside, taking a walk, or even just sitting outside under the sky are all great ways to help you achieve more clarity. Once you’re able to create that space for yourself, you’ll find that you’re no longer just reacting to life, you’re actually being present to whatever is going on. Oh, and I know it might feel crazy, but leave that phone in the house! When you get out, really get out.