5 Practices to change your mindset
Is your cup half full or half empty? Perhaps pause for a moment before you answer this question! Because your mindset is everything. Your mindset is defined as a set of beliefs that shape how you see and make sense of the world around you. But also, how you see yourself. It reflects on how you feel. And how you behave in any given situation.
In this article I’ll show you how learning effective stress management techniques, like awareness based meditation will help you to think with a more positive, mindset.
First let’s look at Growth vs Fixed mindset.
Just like being an optimist or having a pessimistic attitude, having a growth of a fixed mindset can affect how you see yourself and attitude in day to day life.
There are many factors that affect your mindset. In fact, the older you get and the more life experience you have, it’s likely that you become more fixed in your beliefs and attitudes. The more reluctant or less open you are to change.
The characteristics of a fixed mindset suggest that you’re a person who is happy to go with the flow and accept the way things are. If you have a fixed mindset, your capacity or attitude to learning is limited. You may have a tendency of giving up easily. You take any setback in life as failure. A person with this mindset thinks… “If I’m not good at something, I’m never going to be.”
On the other hand, if you have what is called a Growth Mindset, you are a person who embraces the challenges in life. In fact, you thrive in a challenge. You see this as an opportunity for learning. For personal growth. A person with a growth mindset will likely take more risks and have an attitude of “I can’t do it yet.”
Neuroplasticity – You can change the way you think.
Neuroplasticity refers to your brain’s ability to change or ‘re-wire’ how it behaves and thinks. How you manage your emotions. Your ability to adapt to new experiences. How you respond to stressful situations and environments. How does your brain do this? Let me explain how….
Replace negative thinking with positivity. How?
Your mindset impacts how you step out into the world, in your motivation and your resilience in life. We all want to feel safe and secure. To feel happy. But when your mind is absorbing all the negativity in the world, it’s easy to see how this feeds your insecurities. And your fears. You are in essence training your brain to think a particular way, that the world is all doom and gloom.
The best way to change this pattern is to open yourself up to the positivity in the world. To look for the good. Mindfulness and meditation practices show you how to let go of your negative thought patterns to re-wire your brain and change your mindset.
Replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones will help to build a growth mindset. Meditation requires regularity of practice. However Just 10 minutes a day will make a impact on your wellbeing and your mindset.
Let’s say you embark on a challenge like 100 squats a day. And you practised consistently over the following days, weeks, or months. It’s likely you will be much more comfortable perhaps even quicker because you’ve trained or wired your brain into doing that task. It has become more familiar to you.
The same is true with any of these practices I’ve outlined below. Practice regularly and you will change your mindset.
Here are 5 practices that will change your mindset.
1. Awareness based meditation.
There is a perception that meditation requires you to switch off or suppress your thoughts. This is not true. The aim of meditation is self-awareness. When you develop awareness you begin to learn and understand yourself more.
You also develop the ability to witness. To observe and be the witness to your thoughts as they arise. It’s often described as like watching passing clouds in the sky. You allow your thoughts to come and go without any judgement or attachment.
Over time you will start to notice and understand the patterns of your mind. Your mind is a tricky character. Your thoughts tend to be caught up reliving past events. He said, she said. This happened. That happened. Or your mind will be fantasising about future events. The what ifs.
The question to ask yourself, “Is what my mind telling me true?” When you witness your thoughts, it gives you space for reflection. To question yourself. To ask if the thoughts are in fact true.
Developing your awareness and being the witness to your thoughts, you can access the roots of the most negative patterns of your mind.
Self-enquiry meditations like Antar Mouna (inner silence) give you the tools to understand your thoughts more and their origins. (there’s a link at the bottom of the page to access a free 10 minute practice)
2. Practice the art of gratitude – even in the smallest things.
Imagine starting your day with a positive thought and then carrying this mindset throughout the day. When you participate in the art of gratitude you are in essence training or re-wiring your brain to look for what is good in your life. It could be reciting your favourite affirmation, a repeating a mantra.
You may be familiar with the book The Artist Way? Where each morning you write down your thoughts, “Your morning pages.” This has proven to be very powerful for a lot of people around the world to get their thoughts on paper and express gratitude.
A popular way of expressing gratitude it to keep a gratitude diary or too mentally recite three things that you are grateful for in your day.
I wish I could share with you that I keep a gratitude diary. I do like to engage in 30 day gratitude challenges throughout the year. Where each day I’m asked to contemplate what brings me joy, or what I love most about myself (always a tough one to answer!) My family, and the environment around me. Each time i’ve participated in these challenges I notice the benefit to my daily mindset.
My time for expressing gratitude and contemplation comes through traditional meditation. If you don’t resinate with traditional meditation Maybe this is the path for you?
3. Change the negative self-talk.
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you have. Yet very often we are so self-critical. “I’m not good enough.” “I’m not deserving or worthy.” The more you talk about yourself in a negative way the more you will believe it.
A lot of the negative self-talk is inherent from our past experiences from childhood. The interactions with parents, teachers, and the stimulus that you see and hear around you.
Social media has many positives, but it has created a society where we are subjected to stimuli of how we are supposed to look, feel, and behave. How many likes you get. How many follows.
Don’t allow the negative thoughts you have about yourself to control or stop you from enjoying the experience of living a happy fulfilling life. By acknowledging how you feel and working with this directly will help you to develop a more positive mindset.
Exam meditation, for instance, helps students overcome their fear of disappointing results so they can develop a more positive attitude towards the exam process and teaches them to be present.
If you struggle with a task, remind yourself that you haven’t mastered it “yet”. Not that you cannot do it.
4. Find the positive in negative situations.
Sydney traffic is terrible. And when it rains you may as well go home! In this example I share with you, let me say, my day had not started well. All the buses had stopped. Which meant I had to take the ferry and I was running late.
This situation could’ve gone one of two ways…
The old me. Would’ve got really stressed, annoyed, and frustrated that I was running late for work. A feeling that would stay with me all day.
Or I could surrender to the situation, to go with the flow and accept that there was nothing I could do. To look for the good in what might normally be a bad situation.
Where I lived in Manly on the northern beaches of Sydney, there is a ferry that takes you across Sydney’s famous harbour. It’s one of the most picturesque commutes to work there is! How lucky was I. Instead of being caught in the Sydney traffic, I got to travel on the ferry and admire the beautiful surroundings. My commute to work was relaxing. I also got to spend this thirty minutes with one of my best friends who used this commute every day!
5. Change your current environment.
There’s nothing like a change of scenery to change your mindset. Stepping away from your current environment. Taking yourself out in nature. Breathing in fresh air. Tuning into the sounds around you. Feeling the sun on your skin. Blowing away the cobwebs. Shifting your energy. However, you like to describe it!
Stepping away from your current situation can really help to change your current mindset.
I have a mantra which is to listen to what my body needs. Honour that little voice. To ask…”What do I need to do in this moment to change the way I’m feeling?”
If you spend a lot of time indoors. Or like me, you’re working in front of a computer. The energy in your body stagnates, you can get lethargic, almost depressive. Moving my body really helps to get the prana (vital life force) flowing.
When I need to be creative and I have a mental block, changing my environment works for me every time.
We have a Free 10-minute Awareness Meditation that is a good starting point for anyone looking for a quieter mind. You can access this by following this link.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ:
What does “Cultivate the Witness Mean?”
Which type of Meditation is right for you?