What is a mental diet?
Just as our physical diet is made up of what we eat and drink, we also have a mental diet. Our mental diet is information we take in through our senses (things we hear, things we see), and interpret in our minds. Our mental diet also includes the things that we tell ourselves about those things that we perceive and how they relate to us. In short, our mental diet is what we choose to feed our minds.
Watch outside influences
The outside influences of our mental diet include, family, friends, coworkers and those people around us that touch our lives. Just stop and take a moment to think about the people who are a part of our lives. Are they a positive influence on us? What sort of things do they talk about? Do they gossip? Are they judgmental of us or others? How do we feel after interaction with them? Do they leave us feeling uplifted and hopeful? Or do they leave us feeling deflated and depressed? Just like junk food, if the influence of others leaves us feeling low, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to limit the time spent under those influences.
Outside influences also include media such as television, movies, video games, magazines, newspapers, the internet and social media. Just as there are many temptations for junk food in our physical diet, there are unlimited sources of mental junk food as well. Much of the aforementioned media fits into that category. Most of what we hear of and see in the media is paid for by large corporations with massive advertising budgets. Their goal? To make us feel inadequate and lacking so we will want what their selling. That doesn’t make for a healthy mental diet.
Watch internal dialogue
The external influences are not the most important part of our mental diet. The things that we tell ourselves about these influences, the perceptions we form and how they relate to us is the most important part of our mental diet. We tend to become what we believe so watching our internal dialogue is an important practice. Are our thoughts loving and kind toward ourselves and others? Are our thoughts mean and judgmental? Do we spend a lot of time blaming and complaining or do we spend time thinking of positive solutions? Are the thoughts we’re thinking bringing us happiness? Are our thoughts bringing us closer to our goals?
A healthy mental diet
So how do we create a healthy mental diet for ourselves? For starters we can limit the unhealthy external influences. But what we really need to focus on is improving our internal dialogue. Below is a list of things that can help us improve our mental diet from the inside out.
|Get good sleep||Focus on positive thoughts||Good whole food nutrition||Recite positive affirmations
|Visualization||Meditation – becoming an observer of our thoughts||Heal the gut (gut-brain connection)||Exercise
|Get out in nature||Spend time with positive influences||Set goals and take positive action||Give, and be kind to others|
|Take responsibility and not blaming||Write a gratitude journal||Live minimally- doing and having less||Speak well of ourselves and others|