Your mindset can determine how you approach your day, tasks, challenges and anything else life throws at you! How you approach these situations directly affects your mood + how you feel. When you approach areas of your life with a positive mindset and attitude, you are much more likely to achieve your goal and have a lot more fun doing it! Here are eight ways to help you get started on your positive mindset journey.
This is the first and most important step to changing your mindset. Acknowledging your thoughts, positive and negative, and not judging them will help you begin to understand your feelings and give you an opportunity to become more self-aware.
2. BE PRESENT
Whether you are working, talking with your partner, reading to your children or hanging out with a friend, be present and engaged. Making an effort to be present with everything you do throughout your day can help set important boundaries and decrease your stress level.
Visualizing what you want and putting positive vibes and good thoughts into the universe can be a huge game changer. By setting your intentions every morning and visualizing yourself achieving those goals can help you approach your day with a positive attitude.
4. POWER OF POSITIVITY
Being kind to yourself and to others can drastically improve your mindset and improve your overall well-being. Your thoughts and the words you say impact how you feel and the way others feel around you. This is especially important when you have little ones around who listen and mimic your every word. Kindness is one of the most powerful things we can show each other and costs absolutely nothing.
5. MINIMIZE YOUR MULTI-TASKING
Multi-tasking is the opposite of being present. Challenge yourself to devote your undivided attention to each task and each conversation you have throughout your day. You can be surprised at how much you actually get done and how much better you feel about your day.
Starting a journal by writing down the things you are grateful for, ideas, thoughts and feelings. This action can really help you start to become more self-aware and help shift your mindset.
7. ALLOW YOURSELF TO PROCESS
Don’t bottle up your emotions when something happens. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to vent, call a girlfriend and vent! Don’t push your emotions to the side and keep pushing on because eventually, you will reach your breaking point. The more you can process things as they come along, the better you will feel emotionally, physically and mentally.
8. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, BREATHE!
Taking 10 minutes to just close your eyes, relax and take deep breaths can help you de-stress and reset your mindset. This can be done at home, at the office, at the gym or anywhere you can just be present with yourself. Never underestimate the power of breathwork!
DEFINITIONS OF 'MINDFULNESS'
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Today's quote of the day comes from mindful.org.
"Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around it."
Today's episode is going to be all about mindfulness, which that's a great summary of mindfulness, but what really is mindfulness?
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS
I sometimes also like to think of mindfulness as actually getting out of our own way so we're getting a little bit more into her body. So today, I've got a lot of great things I want to talk about and give each of you some tools that you can start implementing today because the title today is how our mindset and our mood, they mirror each other, right? So, which kind of comes first?
To me, I like to think of it as setting up our mind for different situations that can really help us to be in a good, positive mood. Now, there are obviously times when you know you're not going to feel great, and that's okay and that's being human, right? And that's important, too, but we want to minimize those moments of not feeling great.
There are a couple of other definitions of mindfulness that I want to talk about and share with you because I think it's very interesting. This one from Psychology Today says,
"Mindfulness is carefully observing our thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad."
Being mindful, it's not about judging yourself. It's like, "Oh, we have a thought. And what does that thought mean or what can that portray as how we're going to react to a situation?" Different things like that.
This one comes from Berkeley, University of Berkeley,
"Mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens."
I love that they include thoughts, how we feel, body sensations. That's a hard one to find, but I feel it's such a big piece of being mindfulness. It's so much more than just being in your head and constantly thinking about what's going on or how you're reacting to situations.
They called out about our bodily sensations and that, to me, that's a big part of what we're gonna talk about today. It's about flipping a lot of things where maybe we can be hard on ourselves.
Speaking to the choir here.
My husband's always like, "Why are you so hard on yourself? Give yourself a break." I'm working on it. I've made a lot of strides.
But the biggest thing through all of this, it's not about all of a sudden one day we're going to wake up and be like we're going to flip all these habits that we've had for our entire lives, right? We have the ability to become smarter, to become more aware, and to change our habits no matter what age you are, what stage of life you're in.
It's fascinating being taught how to be aware and I want you walking away today feeling like, "I got this." And if you only do one of the things I share today, it will make an impact in your life. Then, down the road, once you're starting to become more aware whatever skill it is you pick up from today's episode, I want you to come back and listen to this and pick up another one. Because with each layer that we work on to become more mindful, it's amazing what abilities you can develop.
There's science out there shows that we can create new wiring of our brain. We have this area of our brain called the limbic system. Our limbic system is something that can be retrained, and it doesn't happen overnight.
Let's think of walking, for example. You know how to walk, it's something that you do because you've learned it a long, long time ago. But if all of a sudden you decided, "I want to improve how I walk." You can do that because you are able to improve the biomechanics of how you walk. That's what I do through movement. So, take this same idea and put it into our mind, so you're doing the same thing. This is a big piece. This piece with the movement piece can just be like a game changer for your life.
Say for example, when you walk, maybe one of your legs isn't quite as lined up as it should be and it causes some torque on your pelvis and causes low back pain. You can work on that! You can retrain your body how to walk more effectively so that you're strengthening the right muscles, the right fascial lines, rebalancing the pelvis and improving the leg strength. To then, ultimately, you don't have back pain, you don't have any pain, hip pain, whatever else it was, and you've rewired that not only through the movement of your body, but you have actually rewired in your brain in order for your body to do that. So, I hope that makes a little sense. That's where we're going to go into with being mindful.
WHAT MINDFULNESS MEANS TO ME
I want to share what mindfulness means to me. It can mean different things to you, but I wanted to share this because these are the top things that come to mind. Number one is awareness. That is the first step to everything we're going to talk about today, the most important. Start to be more aware of how mindful you are in different situations throughout your life. It sounds so simple, but yet it's actually really, really powerful.
Number two is presence. Focusing on being in the moment, being present with whatever you're doing. This has been a big one for me lately. I'm not perfect at this by any means. Never will be. And I don't do it all the time because sometimes my kids just talk to me to talk at me, and I'm like, "Go play because this is mom's time. This is your time to go play."
But, there are also times right after school, bedtime or dinnertime, where when I'm there with my child or all three children and I want to really be listening to them. No distractions. No phones. Put the computer away for the day, whatever it is. I really want to hear about their day.
And if you're working, really being present on your task at hand. I know my team when they listen to this are going to be like, "Okay, Erica." They see me improving upon it. It's been a struggle, but it's been learning how to create a little bit of balance within being present.
If we start to work on being more present on what we're doing, it could really help decrease stress. Now, sometimes we get this whole overwhelming like, "Oh we got to do all these things." Trust me, I tell you all this because this is me! I'm learning all of these things through personal development + growth. I'm not just preaching it to you just to preach it. I am preaching it to you because it's that powerful. It's changing me for the better, and it's helping me.
One thing is if you're really working on it and you notice negativity start to come into your mind and it's pulling you out of that awareness, that presence, and that mindfulness, that's okay. That's a really, really big thing I want to get across today is it's okay. It's not about perfection.
So number one, awareness. Number two, being present. Number three, visualization. Maybe this is the first one you start working on. Maybe that's easier than awareness. Visualizing what it is that you want or maybe you visualize yourself being more present. I talk a lot about visualizing with movement, connecting through your body, but you can use visualization for everything.
That leads me into my fourth one, which for me in this mindful topic of positivity. The power of positivity and being able to flip that switch in your brain, as I like to say. I feel like that and visualization are one and the same, but also I like to separate them out because I think visualization is visualizing what it is you want to happen. You're putting these good vibes and good visualization out into the world, the universe, however, you want to look at it. So, you're setting up good thoughts in your mind already through visualization.
For me, I feel like flipping that switch and being positive, is such a specific thing for a specific thought/s, where visualization can be broader. That's how I sense it and that's what it means to me. And maybe to you, you look at it a little different. It doesn't matter. We can all have these different pieces that I'm just trying to share some things with you that worked well for me.
With the power of positivity and being able to flip that switch in your brain, as I mentioned before with your limbic system of the brain. We can rewire our brain, and that's awesome. I mean, it's just flat out awesome that no matter what habits you have today, if there's something that you wish to improve upon, you can. You can do that.
Now, I would pick one thing right now that's going to be a priority for you. Then as you start to implement it, pick a second one. Don't feel like, "Oh my gosh. I'm going to overhaul my entire life in one day," because that's just not realistic, and I want you to be successful. This may be such a simple thing as adding a little bit more positive self-talk and this is going to improve how you feel, improve your moods for your day.
There's something about the back and forth between awareness and acknowledging. For example, you find yourself bringing awareness to, "Yeah, feel kind of tired and kind of crappy today." By becoming aware of that, you can then start to acknowledge how you are going to better that thought.
POSITIVE RESULTS OF BEING MORE MINDFUL
Obviously, number one is you will decrease stress. I find that that's a really, really big one because that's where these little pieces are really powerful and that's where I like to say the awareness is the first piece. I feel like it can help you so much just to take that top edge off of the stress.
There's a process that starts happening in your body and on the brain side of things. It can improve your senses, your sight, your smells, the things that you say that come out of your mouth, or all of a sudden you might start noticing words that people are saying around you or words that come out of your kid's mouth and you're like, "Whoa, where'd that come from?"
I'm going to share this one example because it was so powerful to me. I was listening to a podcast. I don't remember which one it was, but she was talking about the power of words. It put it in a perspective for me that, man, it was like a flip of a switch. I'm putting this out there. I'm only sharing this as an example, and that was she was talking about a kid might say, "Oh, I feel like I'm going to die because something so bad happened." Even though it's in a context that's just a phrase because other kids say it, they're not really saying it in a what-it-actually-means context. But they're still saying these powerful words that don't need to be said. We don't want to do that, so we can change those words. Not that I say those things, but it was one of those things for me.
Then, that night, and I swear there's some divine something going on where my seven-year-old gets up. It's bedtime and she says, "Mom, I'm so thirsty. I need some water. I feel like I'm going to die." I was like, "Holy crap, kid!" It was one of those moments where if she's said it before, it didn't register to me. You know what I mean? So, I paused her for a minute. I said, "Piper, can we rephrase this?" So, I rephrased it for her. She was like, "Okay, mom." To her it didn't matter any difference, right?
So, it's the same thing, whether we're teaching this to our children, to other children or you just using it for you. When we bring this awareness into the thoughts that we're thinking, the words that we're saying, the words that are being spoken around us and how powerful they are, and how sometimes we shouldn't be using certain words. They're not bad words. They're just words that aren't uplifting.
Believing in you. In the beginning, it might be one of those things where you really need to stop and you're like, "Wow. Why am I saying this to myself? What's going on?" Do a little self-reflecting and there may not be a real reason other than it's a habit that's been created from some. Does it mean that maybe there's some work that needs to be done there? Sure. But you also have the power right now to work on these things moving forward for the future.
Anybody can turn their life around or improve it even in the tiniest bit. It'll reflect off of your spouse and the people around you. One gal I do some work with, she's always reminding me, "The reaction of people around me is a reflection of me." Think about that for a minute.
Then there's the presence, which I've already talked about, but that's just an incredible result of being more mindful. All of a sudden, you remember your conversations a little bit deeper. You're asking deeper questions, more meaningful questions and you're not so distracted by everything else that's going on.
Because, let's all face it, we all have a list of like 100 things we got to do, but are they all really that important? There are things that need to get done. Trust me, I'm like the queen of having a long to-do list, so I start focusing on the top to-dos that I need to do each day that I know is realistic and isn't going to add stress me out while keeping me focused.
Acceptance. I think also accepting of who we are, realizing we each have our own little quirks. And as much as it can be easy to compare yourself to others, stop doing that. There are some days on social media you see different people's posts and instantly want to start comparing your lives. I encourage you to accept who you are for where you're at today. And if there are some things that you want to improve upon, I don't want you to focus on changing. I want you to focus on improving. It takes a more positive mindset shift.
There is no right or wrong way to do all of this. We can take 100 of us and we're all working on the same things and we are all going to get different results. That's why it's important to start visualizing being a better human being and being there for others, but also being there for yourself and being positive for yourself. Because really hard to be a positive influence on people around us when we have the negative self-talk in our heads. We have to work on those things with ourselves first.
When I talk about mindfulness, I also mentioned the awareness in your body, those bodily sensations. It's not just the mind. It's the body and mind together. If you're having a hard time and you just feel overwhelmed, a good little trick that I like is to just be still and go into your body. This is something that you just need to start practicing it to understand it. You may or may not feel anything right away. That's okay. Don't overwrite it. Don't force it. Just be with it. Sometimes just that act of being in your body and having no distractions for even one minute can be a game-changer.
If you can and you're in a position where you could just close your eyes for a minute, I want you to take a couple of deep breaths. Take some deep breaths, and really feel your breath going down into our belly, into our pelvis, out to the sides of our ribs, into our back. And as you exhale, let any stress go.
Then, either out loud or in your head, I want you to just ask yourself which of these pieces you want to work on. It could be the awareness, the acknowledging, presence visualization or positive self-talk. Of all those words, what comes up in your body? What do you feel in your chest or in your gut, in your belly when either you ask yourself something? Whatever word it is that you feel in your body, go with that one. That's where I want to send you, and that's what I want you to go.
That's a good little practice for every day just to be a little bit more in your body. It doesn't have to be a long time. Don't even look at it as meditation or anything like that. It's just you getting into your body kind of getting out of your head, but it's this whole idea of mindfulness, which includes the body as well. All of this can help set you up for a much better day and help you to be able to have more awareness so that you can flip that positivity switch when you start to feel something not so good creeping in.
When I'm teaching that, it's not about what comes to mind. It's like what comes up from inside your body. It might be a word. It might be a feeling. It might be a phrase. And if it's kind of a crappy feeling, then maybe that's a sign that you need to take a step back even further and ask yourself, "Why is there a crappy feeling coming up today? Why do I feel like I'm in such a crappy mood all the time?" Maybe you need to turn inward and ask yourself that. Maybe you need to just take a break. Maybe you need to go do something fun. I know that's a big one for me.
I mean, for me, there's a lot of things that I do that are fun, but it's like going out and doing something completely different and boom. That's where the magic starts to happen. The great ideas start to come once you step away for a little bit. Even when you feel so busy in life that you're like, "There's no way I can step away," you can step away. Even if it's for 30 minutes or an hour, going to lunch with a friend or going to a movie just for fun because you can.
If you haven't listened to the episode I did with Sarah Reese, where was she talked about gratitude, oh, that was a great, great episode! But one thing she's taught me is just sitting and I feel like it helps a lot with the presence, especially in the beginning when you're trying to transition into meditation. So, just sit and be, and then all of a sudden your mind starts wandering. You start thinking of all the things you got to do and blah, blah, blah. All that, right?
When those thoughts come in, she taught me to just they are clouds passing by. It's a thought. It's a cloud. It's passing by. It's literally just making a thought like a cloud. I think we've been taught as a society just to shove it deep down inside or just plow through and that doesn't really work. It's not sustainable. I hate to break it to you, but it's not. So, just do the best you can.
This is going to take practice, just like anything does, just like the movement stuff I talk about does. It doesn't happen overnight, but the first of being like, "I'm going to try this." And when those thoughts come, they're just clouds passing by. Acknowledge them. "Hey, thought. Thanks for stopping by. Continue on your way." And as you practice more and more, those thoughts become less and less. And the next thing you know, you start to feel more stuff come up from your body.
I want to talk about one thing that is very important to work to minimize. I can put the word avoid in there, but I think that's really hard. I'm a realist over here. I'm not going to teach you something that I'm really not working on. So, to say to avoid is a little harsh, so I'm going to put the word to minimize our multitasking.
I don't know about you, but you're probably similar to me where you have moments of trying to do a couple of things at one time, and I think there is a time and a place for multitasking. I think it's something that, at some form or another, it's going to be hard to not do at all, but I think minimizing our multitasking will help you be more mindful because you can't be present and multitask at the same time. They are complete opposites.
Sometimes if you're having a day where you're really like, "I got to get all this done," and you're trying to force it through and it's just not happening, that may be a sign... I'm going to rephrase that. It is a sign that it may be better for you to take a step back in and take a break for 30 minutes and do something completely different. Go get a workout in. Go just do a couple of exercises at home. If you've got one of my programs, pop on the computer and log in and do your core training. Sometimes just giving yourself a little break and then going back in. Before you start, take a couple of deep breaths and listen to what your body is telling you. And then move forward. Because it's really easy to just get stuck in a go, go, go forcing to get everything done.
Stress really is the root of so much disease, and so this is where everything I'm talking about can directly correlate to decreasing your stress. Not to mention it can help you to prioritize, help you to be more connected with those around you, and, I mean, flat out just to connect with you.
I wanted to share a couple of things that have really helped me from a journaling perspective. I don't do lots of writing. That's not me. I do like to do little nuggets of writing some to-dos, writing gratitude, things I'm grateful for and things I want to accomplish for today, but I wanted to share three different journals with you.
I've been really enjoying my High Performance planner that Brendon Burchard created. I like it because he does such a good job of incorporating the top things you need to do for the day. It's shifting your mindset to see what you want your day to look like, what can you do for someone else and what do you need to do. Writing up my day helps me prioritize and not trying to accomplish so many things at once.
I am by no means perfect at this, but I will tell you it has been so helpful to me that I was like, "I have to share this." It even helps me in planning when to eat lunch! Trust me, I know how that goes. You're working away and before you know it it's 2 or 3:00 o'clock and you're like, "Wait, I haven't eaten lunch today because I've been too busy with my to-dos and I haven't been prioritizing me." Then, on the other side, it has a reflection for the evening. I've done bits and pieces of that on and off here and there, but I feel like he has it all just in one place. It's been very, very helpful.
Now, if you're someone who you don't want to map out quite as much and you want just more of a gratitude journal, this is my other go-to on. It's by Fitlosophy. They have some great journals. There are calendars and journals, but the gratitude journal is absolutely one of my favorites. I love, love, love that one. If you don't do anything else, then just write down some things that you're grateful for.
It's that taking a moment and maybe not even thinking in your head like, "Okay, what am I grateful for today?" but just closing your eyes, taking a couple of breaths, and see what comes up in your heart. If you don't feel it right away, just keep practicing. It'll come.
I want to share this one because I know many of you listening have kids. Fitlosophy has a kids' gratitude journal. They also have one for teens as well, which I love. Each of my kids has one and my youngest is actually the best. She'll pull it out and do it.
The more that you start to practice these pieces that I'm teaching you today with your little ones, the sooner, the better. I will tell you, with my oldest, who's 12, it's not as easy as they're getting into that preteen era, so start now wherever they are.
I'm also a fan of it's never too late. So, I implement a lot of these things with my kids on a simpler scale, of course. Ask a lot of questions. It's great. Just doing the simple breath practice, it doesn't have to be anything crazy. If you want to learn the ujjayi breathing, Sarah Reese taught us that in that episode with that that I did with her a while back. Or you could do something as simple as inhaling really deeply, trying to find some deep space through your body to breathe. Then as you exhale, just visualize any stress leaving your body and just be more aware of what's going on in your body. It's so simple, yet so powerful. Oh, man, so powerful.
Like I slightly mentioned, the past can shape who we are, but we don't need to let it control us. So if you feel something that comes up from the past, allow yourself to feel it. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to vent, vent. If you need to write about it, write about it, whatever it is that you need to do to help to process it.
This has been a big learning piece for me is like I'm want to just go full speed ahead. I've really worked on this, and it's easy for me to just keep shoving stuff down. But, you got to let those emotions come up because there is someday they will all come up like a fire hydrant getting driven over, right? So, don't let the past slow you down. But at the same time, when things arise, awareness of them, acknowledging them, and then let's work on moving forward.
Just keep in mind that all of this takes time. It's about the journey along the way. What are we learning? And a lot of times things happen and because it's a lesson we're meant to learn, and some are a lot harder than others. But again, it's so powerful when you can be aware and sometimes even asking yourself like, "Okay, I feel like I'm supposed to be learning something from whatever it is," and be like, "Okay, try to embrace the learning and implement moving forward."
I just want to thank you so much for being here. I am so grateful that you here and listening to my episode. I would love for you to share this with a friend, with a sibling. Take a second to review on iTunes, and I look forward to seeing you back next week.
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