If I were to ask you to tell me about the most important part of yourself, what you would you say?
Your nose? Your face? Your backside?
Many of us would likely list something on the outside of our bodies. I would have done the same a few years ago myself, but now I know I have one most treasured part: my mind.
We don’t generally think about “looking after” our minds. In fact, many of the thoughts that run through our mind are negative, mean and hateful. Statistics say that 80 percent of our thoughts are negative—this is pretty scary!
Perhaps even scarier than this is that a lot of these mean and hateful thoughts are about ourselves.
Most of the time, we are our own worst enemies.
Have you ever had the thought “there is no way I can do this”? Or “I am such a freaking idiot”?
These are thoughts that have come from your own mind proving that thoughts are not reality, because you can do it, and you are not a freaking idiot!
I was a workaholic for years and I told myself every day that I wasn’t good enough. I worked myself to the bone. I thought that by doing this, I was proving to myself and everyone else that I was worth it. I was training my mind in a negative way and always focusing on what I had to prove, rather than what I already was.
I ran a very successful business, but this wasn’t enough for me. I thought that I had to be tough to be successful, that I had to be mean. I thought that successful people always worked this many hours and that they were supposed to always be “busy.” People thought that I was heartless, but I was doing what I “thought” I needed to, and I had absolutely no idea what happiness was.
I drank myself happy—or at least I thought I was happy when I was drinking.
I starved myself happy—I thought I was happy when I was thin. And of course I worked myself happy, working almost 80 hours a week.
I had no clue about the power of the mind, I had no idea what self-talk was, and I was on the road to destruction.
Then at the ripe age of 31, I had a wake-up call dressed as a stroke.
It was scary, but I was lucky to escape damage free, with no lasting disabilities. I thought it would slow me down, but it didn’t. I went straight back to work as soon as I got out of the hospital. I kept telling myself that I had to now prove myself all over again. I was convinced that my boss had lost faith in me for being weak enough to have a stroke.
Instead of giving my body and mind time to heal, I went straight back into self-sabotage. And it wasn’t until two years later I was given one more wake-up call, this time dressed as a suicide attempt, that I decided to take notice of my now most treasured part of me, my mind.
We so often take the time to look after our bodies by working out, eating good food, give into to fad diets, wear make-up, spends thousands on clothes, but how often do you take the time to do something for your mind?
We bombard ourselves with information overload each and every day, social media, emails, work, TV, advertising, reading, it never stops. The mind is constantly analysing, judging, making opinions and digesting information, we never make time for time outs. Our forgotten treasures—our minds—are left working overtime in ways that we can’t even imagine.
We rarely give our minds a second thought (pardon the pun).
So what can you do right now to start treasuring your mind?
Just like training our muscles in the gym to look and feel stronger, we can train our minds into a new way of thinking.
Neuroplasticity is what scientists call the brain/mind’s ability to change and heal itself.
When we focus on the bad things all of the time, our minds actually keep doing this; even when something good happens, our minds are hardwired to look for the bad, even amongst the good. Our minds forget what gratitude and joy feel like.
We could be having the time of our lives but be completely unaware of it because if our mind is wired this way to only see the negatives. I have been there; I got stuck in such a negative pattern that I forgot how to celebrate and enjoy the good times.
To treasure our minds, we have to get real with ourselves. Start a daily ritual, even if you start doing this once a week for one week, then maybe the next week doing it twice. Every time you do this you are training your mind to see the positives, and that is good.
Here are my three top things to do when you commit to treasuring your mind:
1. Be grateful.
Every day may not seem all good, but there is something good in every day. Some days we have to look hard to find what it is that we are grateful for but when we do this we are training our brains into a more positive way of thinking.
Start savoring all the tiny moments of joy in your day, whether it’s the smell of fresh coffee or a kiss from a loved one. By focusing on these positive moments you are helping to overcome the brain’s “negativity bias,” which causes us to store negative memories in our brains more easily than positive memories. Whether you write it down or simply say it in your head, a gratitude habit will work wonders for your beautiful mind.
Work those happy mind muscles baby! Please join my Get your happy back revolution where we share what we are grateful for.
2. Be mindful.
By being present in any given moment you are truly giving yourself to life, thereby experiencing it to its fullest. Nature will be more inspiring and people will become more interesting. Life as you know it will become easier and more pleasurable.
Mindfulness has been around for centuries, but is becoming so popular now because we need it more than ever! Our minds are constantly bombarded with information overload and they were not built for this type of use. There are more people stressed out, anxious and worried now, than ever before and we have done this to ourselves.
To be mindful, simply be present in the moment. What do I mean by this? Take a breath, let go of judgement, opinions and biased, focus on exactly what is happening for you right now. If you are sitting on a chair, notice how your feet are placed on the floor, notice how your back feels against the back of the chair and let any thoughts that come to your mind simply fade away. You can do this anywhere, any time.
Give it a go and see how easy it is. Some benefits of mindfulness include increased self-awareness, more balance, more calm and peacefulness and self-acceptance and self-compassion.
3. Be careful!
Watch your thoughts. If you think that you are not good enough, not pretty enough or not smart enough, then others will start to think it too. If you keep telling yourself that you are pretty enough, smart enough and that you are more than enough, your world will change, and so will everyone around you. Self-talk is an extremely powerful part of our mind that often gets overlooked. By learning to master your self-talk, you are also learning to master your mind.
Start by saying a daily affirmation aloud. Here is one to get you started | No person, place or thing has any power over me. I am the master of my world and I choose to live a happy and grateful life. When you notice yourself self-sabotaging, just stop and say “thank you thoughts but you are not helping.” You can train your mind to a new way of thinking, and you and change your life by starting to treasure your mind.
It is our responsibility to ensure that we are feeding our minds with nourishing, kind thoughts. Do you tend to spend time overanalysing what you cannot change? Do you spend hours obsessing over what to wear? Do you tend to tell yourself that you are stupid, fat, or not perfect?
You have complete control over what goes through your mind. You can chose to focus on the absolute beauty that is life, or you can chose to focus on what you believe that is missing from your life. Choose wisely.
Make a commitment right now that you will change, start the above rituals, get focussed and start saying thanks!
One of my favourite quotes is this:
All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. Your mind is that candle, and it’s up to you to keep it lit. ~ Unknown
When we give our minds the attention that it needs we have the opportunity to live a beautiful life.
I am on a mission to make the world a happier place and I would love to help you lead a happier life.
Author: Jessica Groom
Editor: Renée Picard