Tag Archives: Positive Thinking
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|
This tip has recently been a game changer for me. Like you, I’d heard this advice dished out many times before. It wasn’t until I actually started to do it consistently that I started to notice changes in my life. But how can writing in a gratitude journal improve my health or help me lose weight you ask? It’s actually brilliant in its simplicity. The nervous system can only focus on one thing at a time. You can do more than one thing at a time but you can only focus on one. So if you focus on gratitude and on what a privilege it is to be alive, in that moment you can’t be making those stress hormones that we talked about in health tip #2. You know, the stress hormones that were making you store fat. As humans, when we don’t feel safe we tend to store fat. Not only that but a whole cascade of negative health effects follow in the wake of the release of stress hormones. So the more we focus on what makes us grateful, the less we can feel the effects of stress in our lives and on our health. More about stress to come in a future post. For now let’s get back to gratitude.
So here’s what to do: get yourself a gratitude journal and a pen or pencil. Keep them on your nightstand. Every night before you go to bed or every morning before you get out of bed, or both, take a few moments to concentrate on what you feel grateful for and write it down. Try to find at least five things you feel grateful for. What we’re really going for here is to elicit the feelings of gratitude. Ideally you should feel a slight stirring in your heart. It should feel good. Why’s it so important to write it down? There are couple reasons. 1.) If ever you are looking for inspiration for things to feel grateful about, just look through your past gratitude lists. If they were written with feeling, they should help get you in the flow. 2.) The mind is a slippery thing. It can go from a positive thought to a negative thought in a heartbeat. You can start out thinking about things you’re grateful for and very quickly become distracted and off task. Writing it down helps pin the mind down.
Just as with not counting calories, we don’t need to count the numbers on the scale either to indicate we are on the path to health. At most, the number on the scale shows where we’ve been not where we’re going. And besides that, did you know that muscle weighs more than fat? Did you know you can be ‘skinny’ on the outside but have dangerous fat accumulations around your organs on the inside? As you begin a new healthy living regime, continually looking at the scale can be discouraging and misleading. Instead of asking, how much does the scale say I weigh today, ask, how is my energy level today? Do I have more energy than yesterday? How do I feel today? If you stay focused on your ‘why’ and visualize your goal regularly, and by continually adding in the nutrient dense foods we discussed in the previous post, you can’t help but be heading in the right direction. Just holding the intention that you want to do something positive for your health will be leading you in the right direction. The scale can’t measure that or any of the other positive changes you are making for yourself. The scale cannot measure your change in mindset which is the biggest factor in making positive changes for your health.