Mind Over Matter
featured on the essential life
Many studies have shown that your perspective on life can boost your self-esteem, reduce stress levels, & increases your quality of health. I can say first hand that this is true, when I changed my mindset I noticed a dramatic difference in my pain levels & mobility. After focusing on these ten steps, it changed my perspective for the better.
Identify Negative Thoughts
While I went through my first flare up, I recall the constant pain & frustration. I had many unanswered questions & it mentally took a toll on me. If you have struggled with health problems, you can imagine the negative thoughts that crept into my mind. Until, eventually you start to blame yourself for it all & begin to expect the worst to happen. It is an unhealthy filtered state of mind that creates this. Once you become aware of this negative mindset, then you can begin to discard these thoughts.
Start Your Day Positively
It is important to focus on aspects of the day to look forward to versus what could go wrong. Every morning, I promise myself to look for at least five positive things about my day. Whether it’s getting out of bed, a cup of coffee or even seeing an old friend. It is the smallest things that can make a shift in your perspective.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the biggest steps you need to take to have a positive mindset, is changing your lifestyle physically & mentally. This emphasizes on healthy eating & stress relief such as, exercising three times a week, meditating, & maintaining a balanced diet. Since I struggle with joint pain & inflammation, I can’t run. Fortunately, I found biking to be a perfect alternative. If you have any disabilities preventing you from working out, I promise you there are other ways-- I also find painting & yoga to be very helpful with stress relief.
Say a Daily Affirmation
Affirmations are positive mantras you say out loud to encourage yourself. It could be a simple saying such as, “Today is going to be great!” or your favorite quote. You can even repeat positive thoughts about yourself, when bad one run through your mind & bring you down. I have two mantras I live by, when I am down or in pain I tell myself “Water off a duck’s back” or “Don’t worry, you have plenty of spoons!”. If you would like to know why I use spoons as my every day affirmation, check out my website for more information.
Assess What Could Be Different
Sometimes, the reason we view the world in a pessimistic way is because there are aspects of our life that we desire to change. It could be a job you hate, a broken relationship, or failing a class. We find beauty & change, in the lowest points of our lives. For example, I was unhappy with my living situation & my poor health. So, I found a new job on a gorgeous island & put all my energy on getting healthier. I began to look at my food as a source of nutrients, instead of what it tasted like. Working on the island also gave me a chance to enjoy my own solitude & embrace my challenging health. It was a huge life transition for me, but I found what made me happy. I took a big step in my life & it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t cut out the negative parts of my life. You have to put your needs first & remind yourself what you deserve.
Find Positive Friends
If you are struggling mentally or physically, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. You need friends who encourage & support you because the last thing you need to stress about is if you’re upsetting the people around you. Find friends who radiate good energy, you would be surprised at the beautiful chain reaction it can create in your everyday life. Throughout my health journey, I have met so many amazing people who pushed & inspired me. I have surrounded myself with people who influence my good health & constantly uplift me when I feel weak.
Sometimes, you can stumble upon people who tend to unload their issues on you & they don’t even know it. The worst part about friends like this, is they reflect the energy you give off to the world. They’re like a bad drug that constantly enables your heavy thoughts & it’s hard to pull away from that state of mind. It can be difficult to grow & evolve as a person, when you’re surrounded by constant negativity. This sort of energy can be so overwhelming that you begin to feel like a sponge, just soaking up the bad energy until you feel weighed down. I’m telling you now, communicate your needs & if they can’t respect those boundaries then remove them from your life. It’s okay to move on from friends like this because your health comes first. To change your mindset, you have to move forward & it’s your loved ones to choice to come a long or not. This isn’t easy but I promise you will see who wants to be there for you, through the good & bad times, in the end.
I understand it can be a challenge to find humor in your life when you’re in constant pain. But when you find your laughter again, that is when you begin to heal mentally, thus relieving physical pain too. You must learn how to let go of the small stuff & not take life so seriously. There was a time when I could hardly walk because of the pain I was in & I felt so offended when people would stare or ask me multiple questions. Then overtime, I began to separate my feelings & logic, as if I took my rose-colored glasses off. For me to get through my day to day life, I would make harmless jokes about myself to break the ice & comfort peoples worries about me. It was effective for both parties & I feel much happier now because of it. Now if this is still a difficult step for you, you can always find humor in TV, movies, books, & even stand up.
Do Something You Love
When you are sick, it is important to find something that is a creative outlet for you. Such as sports, photography, or even learning how to cook. Find what you love & don’t let negative thoughts of failure get to you, enjoy the freedom of the hobby. Writing, traveling, & painting with water colors are many ways that have helped with my mental health. These are a few therapeutic ways you can let go of built up toxic energy & to decrease your stress.
See a Situation in a Different Way
You must keep a healthier outlook on life to maintain a positive mindset. This means, going back to a negative situation & ponder how you could’ve approached the situation more positively. I have mentioned that I used to get frustrated & embarrassed when people stared at me when I could hardly walk. I had to take my feelings out of the scenario & remind myself that people stare because they don’t understand what’s wrong with me. So, instead of getting bent out of shape about it, I take these opportunities to raise awareness & educate people on chronic illnesses. When we assess these situations, we begin to have a positive outlook on life.
You need to understand that positive thinking isn’t something that happens overnight. This is something you should reinforce & with practice you will continue this way of thinking. If you are determined & work hard, I guarantee you will begin to see many changes in your life. It might seem overwhelming at first, but you don’t need to work on these steps individually. Overtime, you will see them blend together as one. If it helps you stay on track, I would suggest writing a list of goals on your mirror, so you can see them every day as a motivation. Also, write smaller goals each day to hold yourself accountable. You know what they say, slow & steady wins the race!
If you have any comments or questions about this article, make yourself heard in the comments. You can also reach us via email at info@TheEssentialLife.org. We would also like to invite all of our readers to make their mark on The Essential Life by becoming one of our contributors. If you would like to share your story, your words & your wisdom with The Essential Life, & you'd like to see your article featured here on The Essential Life, please submit your articles here.