Your mind is the most powerful tool that you can have. Who is in control of your mind? Mindfulness is the key to control your life.
Have you ever had thoughts that infest your mind without your permission? At times, they linger around in your head long enough to destroy your day. It is infuriating, annoying and absolutely frustrating.
I am the type of person who can never stop thinking and this has caused me unnecessary issues. If you are the same with me, I would like to say that I understand your plight. I am sorry for what you have to go through and I am sorry that some people simply won’t be able to empathize with you.
“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
It is true what Elizabeth Gilbert said. Notice how she put “thoughts” in her last sentence and not the first sentence? The way she constructed this phrase has made it more impactful simply by telling her audience that we can all be a better human by making the right choices but above all, having the right mindset.
Here are some simple pieces of advice that I have found to be useful:
Have a routine
I am a night owl who has almost no sense of routine since I was a kid. Routine bores me and makes me feel less motivated. Yes, this is how I felt before I forced myself to go into a routine that helped me boost my productivity. Having a routine really does make wonders. (Click here to read my 3 simple morning routines).
For starters, I set 1 hour a day to simply have time for myself to think and meditate. Again, I use the alarm so that it can snap me out of my thoughts and this helps it not to run wild. Try setting up your own routine and stick to it for at least 1 month. Take note of the before and after effects.
Pay attention to your thoughts and how your mind works
This is the core of being mindful. If we continuously allow our thoughts to drift further and further apart, it will soon impair how we look at reality.
Instead of judging your thoughts, it is better to pay attention to what they are, why do they come into your head and the number of times that an unwanted thought pops into your mind. Understanding the root cause of having such thoughts is essential in eliminating the whole issue.
For example, your partner is being doubtful about his career moves. What do you do? My advice is to not judge him as a negative person but ask him why is he having doubts. The same thing goes for you when you have unwanted thoughts. Ask yourself what is the thought actually about and how do you want to deal with it.
I would not suggest you dismiss it quickly. Dismissal will not solve anything and could lead to the thought coming back repetitively. The best way is to observe your thoughts and your behaviour around them. By observing your thoughts, you will soon learn how to avoid rumination.
Meditate daily or look for alternatives
In all honesty, I am an untrained meditator. My only training comes from the app that I have downloaded on my mobile called “Headspace”. It is a good app and you should give it a shot. There are many other apps and courses out there for you to learn more about meditation. I would suggest that you YouTube some videos if you have never actually learned about meditation before.
If you are not a fan of the meditating idea, there are other alternatives that work extremely well for me. My favourite would be writing. Writing allows me to express every single detail that I want and at times, I draw too. It does not matter if it is well written or beautifully drawn. All it needs to be is for you to be able to push all those thoughts out of your system. After writing, you can either keep them as a diary or just discard it away.
The other alternative is to simply voice out your opinions or thoughts as it is to someone close. If you do not have a partner, you can always voice it out to your best friend or anyone close. There are also anonymous apps for you to voice out your feelings such as WeChat’s bottle. Sometimes you will receive replies from kindred spirits though half the time you may not receive any replies.
Believe and trust yourself that you can change
Self-confidence and affirmation are vital in achieving a long-lasting change. I know some people who are successful but do not see themselves that way. It is great to be humble but, please also respect and believe in yourself.
Some good exercise to build that belief would be looking at yourself in the mirror and say that you can do what you set out to do. Some people take selfies to make them feel better though overdoing it is a trait of narcissism. However, I believe if your intention is well, then it is all good. Or, setting a deadline to what you want to achieve could create a sense of urgency in your mind too.
Our minds can be tricked into believing whatever we want it to believe. Have you heard the old saying, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become”? This is a very strong saying that indicates the power of our mind. The thoughts we have are very important to our growth and success.
Feed your mind with the right food and information
Another old saying says that “you are what you eat”. This saying means that the food is the nutrients you feed your body. If you feed your body with nutritional food then your body will grow to be stronger and healthier.
In an article published by Inc.com in 2013:
“You’re like an athlete in the workplace,” says Richard Chaifetz, CEO of ComPsych, a Chicago-based provider of corporate wellness and employee-assistance programs. “So you should eat like an athlete.”
“You produce lots of oxidants in the brain when you’re working. Foods that are high in antioxidants–berries, beans, apples, tea–act like flame retardants.” – Patti Milligan, director of nutrition at Tignum, a consultancy that helps businesses boost employee performance through holistic wellness programs.
Other than feeding your body, of course, you will need to feed your brains. Feeding your brains would include reading lots of useful and credible writings. Be it books, articles or even informative documentaries. Make sure that you are feeding your brain with the right source of information and not some internet troll. Form good reading habits and lifestyle.