The word ‘mindset’ may lead you to believe that once you have set your mind to positive then it’s done and dusted and you don’t have to think about it again.
It’s quite the opposite in fact and a specific mindset is something that needs to be practiced daily. While that may sound like a lot of work, rest assured it’s actually not. Over time this ‘practice’ becomes automatic as your mindset is reframed not just by your thoughts but also your actions. So as long as your actions continue to support a positive frame of mind then your thoughts will, over time, automatically follow without you having to give much consciousness to them.
So what are the actions that you can take to flip your thinking?
Firstly I want to raise your awareness to the huge amount of signals and messages that get thrown at you each and everyday. The emails that come into your inbox, the text messages from friends and family, the articles that you read online, the programmes and advertisements that you view on television, the marketing messages posted on billboards when you’re outside, and the many conversations your have with other people throughout the day both in your work and personal life. Every single one of these has the potential to derail your thinking from positive to negative without you even realising. And so it’s important that you are aware of the threats that all of these present and be mindful about where you are placing yourself.
Self-awareness is the key to unlocking a positive mindset as it allows you to recognise the way in which people, places and things are affecting you, and only through conscious recognition of their effects will you then be able to put measures in place to manage your exposure to them.
So have a think back over the last 14 days and see if you can pin point specific people, places or things that particularly energised you or made you feel good. Notice if there were any days where you struggled to sleep, and if so, try and work out what events had taken place in that day that may have caused that. Are there any people you have spoken with in the last two weeks that clouded your thinking and drained your energy? Are there any people that motivated and inspired you?
The idea of this exercise is to learn more about what triggers you to feel a positive or negative way which in turn has a positive or negative effect on your mood, energy levels and productivity. Take time to do this exercise as it’s hugely insightful and the best way to identify areas of your life that you need to change. Your mindset is unique to you so it’s no good just speaking to others or reading books that tell you what to do, you need to find out what does and doesn’t work for yourself. Once you have identified what brings positive feelings and emotions into your life then you need to ensure that you are planning more of these activities or meetings into your days and then put boundaries around the time time spent with the people and places that have a negative effect on your mind and wellbeing.
Your environment is paramount to your growth and development because it is what triggers thought and action responses within you, so you must make sure you are consciously paying attention to it and creating an environment that supports your personal growth.
Once you have increased awareness of your environment and have taken steps to manage this to your best ability, only then should you start looking to incorporate additional positive mindset building activities. You want to provide the best foundations and environment for any new activities to take hold and so once you’ve got your house in order you can then look to incorporating growth mindset activities such as reading and listening to positive and insightful material and setting yourself confidence building challenges on a weekly basis.
You’ll need to make room for additional activities so the previous exercise should help you identify things that you are doing that have a negative effect on you and can be replaced with more positivity inducing ones. Cutting down time spent mindlessly watching TV, aimlessly scrolling through digital media or getting yourself out of bed that little bit earlier to ensure you get some positive mind fuel before you start your day are a few of the many ways you can make room for more positive activities in your lifestyle.
Next I want to bring your attention to your thoughts and specifically your thought processes. You would have previously identified specific things that have the potential to send your mind whirring into a negative spin and if you’ve been exposing yourself to these things over and over again then your mind may be inclined to look for negativity by default. Removing or limiting your exposure to these specific things will help but you really want to get into the habit of watching your thoughts and you can do this by setting an alarm or reminder in your phone to go off at different points in the day to prompt you to check in where your thoughts are at. If you find yourself thinking negatively then stop what you are doing and take a conscious effort to bring your thoughts to something positive. If you are struggling to think of something positive in relation to yourself then look for something positive around you. By doing this exercise over and over you are helping to reverse your default negative thought setting and instructing the mind to look for positivity instead.
And finally, I want you to get a little selfish. Taking time out for yourself may seem uncomfortable but by not doing it, and focusing instead on your friends, family or workload, you are telling yourself that everything else is more important than you are and thus you viewing yourself in a negative way compared to others and damaging your self worth. Take intentional time out each and every day. It doesn’t matter how you spend it but be intentional with it and book at least 30 minutes of time for you and only you. Remove yourself from distractions of other people, work tasks, phone pings and just be with yourself. If you’re not used to doing this it can be very uncomfortable at the start but persevere. This time allows you to reconnect with yourself and process your thoughts better to build more self-awareness, understanding and compassion, which in turn builds your confidence and ability to think positively.
About the author
Camilla is a Self-Image Specialist and Confidence Coach. She is also the founder of multiple beauty and creative agencies that work with individuals, corporations and luxury brands.