We have all heard the saying “You are what you eat.” While what we eat and what we do for physical activity are important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is important to try and keep balance mentally as well.
Today I am going to touch a little upon the mental side of things. I’m going to put myself out there and say that this is probably my biggest area of weakness. I’m going to give you some tips to help retrain your brain to think and believe the good and positive things you have going for you.
In general I like to think of myself as a happy and positive person. I’m great at encouraging and motivating others, I can help others find the silver lining in a rain cloud, and I can help people keep things in perspective. What I sometimes have trouble with is doing these same things for myself. Doesn’t really make sense does it?
Some negative thoughts that I sometimes find floating in my head…
- I could never start my own personal training business
- There is no way I could run a full marathon
- I’m not good enough for this or that
- I am never going to get married and have a family
- I don’t have what it takes for….
What do these thoughts have in common? They are all negative and none of them are based off of any definite truth.
These thoughts are toxic.
Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer uses the phrase, “Where the mind goes, the man follows.” When these negative thoughts creep in and set up camp in my head it becomes hard for me to focus on what’s important. I find myself worrying about the future instead of living in and enjoying the present.
If left alone, this can start to wreak havoc all over, on relationships with family and friends, on making poor food and fitness decisions, losing sleep, missing great opportunities, being happy, increasing stress hormones…doesn’t sound like fun does it.
How can we expect anything awesome to happen if we are only thinking the worst?
Maybe you look in the mirror and think, “My legs are too big or my belly isn’t flat enough.” This may lead you to get discouraged and skip workouts or eat unhealthy because you think “It won’t matter. I won’t ever look the way I want to anyway.” Just as it is important to speak words of life into others, it is just as, if not more, important for you to speak words of life into yourself. Believe in yourself, love yourself, give yourself grace if you are having a bad day or make a bad choice.
Embrace who you are and the process of your journey.
Always allow for growth and remember that practice makes progress.
Here are some ways that I try to train my brain to produce and believe positive thoughts:
- Post an affirmation on your dresser or bathroom mirror where you will see it every morning. Read this out loud every morning.
- Hang out with encouraging and positive people. “Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey.
- Read, listen, or watch only positive things. I am currently reading the book So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.
- Write down one thing you are looking forward to in that day every morning. In the evening write down at least 3 positive things that happened that day.
- Keep a journal. I just started my very first journal recently. I have always been afraid to write down my raw unedited thoughts on paper but have surprisingly found it very therapeutic.
- Encourage someone else. Volunteering fits in here too. Send a text, make a call, have a visit. I find that when I am putting my energy towards helping others it not only acts as a distraction but it makes me feel good too. 🙂
So the next time you catch yourself with recurring negative thoughts take a moment to really think about if it they true or not. There is a good chance they are not and you have the power to stop that destructive thinking in its tracks.
Change the way you think about yourself- watch your life change!