Last week I shared strategies on how to train your negative thoughts to be more positive because the thoughts that move through your head have everything to do with your confidence, success, and even your health. (Check it out here.) This week, I’m taking that concept one step further, and sharing how you can set up your internal environment for those positive thoughts to flourish. In other words, what can you do so that your brain is more receptive to the positive messages you're sending it?
Studies show that you can prime your brain to be more open to feeling confident, positive, and to making healthier choices both for your body and your mind. You can physically alter your brain circuitry to promote more positive responses with simple practices that anyone can fit into their day.
Meditation has been around for literally thousands of years, and for good reason. If you’re the type of person who thinks they could never sit still to meditate, I bet you’ll see even greater benefits from starting a meditation practice than the person it comes easy to. I just started up my own practice again, and I certainly noticed a difference being away from it.
Mindful meditation has been shown to provide a more positive outlook on life, improve your self-image, and can even help you recognize (and thus change) self-defeating thoughts. As you gain greater awareness of your thought patterns, you can steer them towards more constructive ones.
If you’re new to meditation, guided meditations make it easy to get started. I’ve been experimenting with different themes using the Chopra app for my morning meditation. I can choose something that I really want to work on, whether it's abundance, gratitude, or my belief systems. Other meditation apps to try are Calm and Headspace, or you can search for guided meditations on YouTube.
Now that I’m in peri-menopause I’m often finding myself awake at 3am worrying or overthinking. This often leads to a tension headache. But since I started meditating again, I’ve been sleeping a lot better. When I find myself ruminating in the wee morning hours now, I focus on taking deep breaths and letting the thoughts slip away. Not only am I falling asleep faster, but I can also feel the headache subside.
When my kids were younger, I used to listen to a meditation when I lay down with them at night. They fell asleep with me by their side, and I got a meditation in. You could even try meditating with your children before bed to help them drift off.
I love that there are many types of meditation so you can experiment and find something that you align with. You can experience the benefit of fifteen minutes of daily meditation in as little as two weeks; everyone has time for that!
Last week I talked about affirmations and choosing the positive messages you want playing in your mind. You can make this more effective by exploring the reasons why you want these things in your life. For example, if you want to hear “I make healthy choices and exercise regularly”, why is that? What will the positive message help you do, be, achieve, or have? How will this message serve you, your family, or your community?
Some of my clients want better health so that they can be more active with their kids or their grandkids. Others want to be financially successful so that they can put their kids through college, have a nicer home, or travel. It’s okay to want things just for yourself, but sometimes it can add extra motivation to help others, too.
Whatever that meaningful connection is for you is the key, because if you feel positive and connected to your thoughts you are more likely to take action on them.
I will never let this one go, and it’s probably the easiest way to create a mindset of positivity and growth: it’s gratitude. I encourage you to take five minutes a day to write down five things you are grateful for. You can do more if you like, but this isn’t about quantity. Writing down what you are grateful for reinforces the thoughts and you will start to notice the benefits pretty quickly.
Some of the things I learned from a regular gratitude practice were:
If you are new to some of these ideas, I encourage you to pick the one that appeals to you the most and try it each day for a few weeks. Then compare your thoughts and feelings from before you started. I bet you will be surprised and want to try the other two practices. Even if you did all three each day, it would take less than half an hour. That’s a small amount of time to create a mental environment that is primed for positivity and success.
If you want more help in becoming aware of what might be stopping you from achieving your goals and how to move towards them faster, make an appointment for a free consultation to learn more about working together. I have a proven process that works!
I also have a few one-on-one coaching spots available, and will also be starting a new group coaching program this November. Send me a message or book an appointment to learn more here; you deserve to live an Extraordinary Life, whatever that looks like to you.
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