“I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”
~ Audrey Hepburn
I believe that true elegance is in styling your mind. Since I was a young girl, I always had a vivid imagination. It’s been both a blessing and a curse. As a child and teen, I often imagined faraway worlds with interesting characters on a whim. My mind was the place I hung out; it was the chic Parisian cafe I longed for in my backyard. While most other kids spent time with each other at parties or the mall, I lived a very private life. Quite often, what I imagined and believed became a reality.
As an adult, I strayed from my imagination and instead turned it into overthinking and anxiety. Spending too much time in your head is only a good thing when you’re decorating your mind space in a positive and happy way.
Flourishing and thriving are the top orders of 2019 for me. This means ditching bad habits and replacing them with positive mindsets. It’s a call for me to put a priority on imagination and believing in myself.
At the end of the day, I’ve come to learn it’s those small, simple steps that lead to the most impactful change and adds a bit of sparkle back to a woman’s eyes.
Positive mindset changes to help you style your mind
1. Understand that you are not flawed
When we become stuck in old dysfunctional habits, we feel that we’re somehow flawed for not being able to flip a switch and change immediately.
When you switch your mindset from focusing on all that is going wrong, or that you feel is wrong with you, to a place of non-judgement, you’ll begin to focus on changing your habits instead of punishing yourself for them.
When life isn’t going as we planned, or we’re depressed, it’s easy to focus on all our flaws instead of what’s good in life. I get it. It’s hard. It’s easier for our brains to beat ourselves up for why we’re in a particular life situation. It’s much harder for our minds to focus on what’s good about us.
When I find myself stuck in old, recurring bad habits, I tell myself I’m not flawed, but there must be a feeling or reason why I’m staying stuck in old patterns. So I begin a gentle inquiry.
Why am I feeling this way? Why am I punishing myself?
Affirmations: I am worthy of a beautiful life. I am creating positive change in my life.
- Gentle inquiry. Ask yourself:
- Why am I feeling this way?
- Why am I punishing myself?
- Write three things that are going well right now. This could be as simple as “I have healthy food to eat.”
2. Focus on what you can change
Obstacles will stay obstacles until you change your mindset. By learning how to turn your trials into triumph, or as the ever-wise Oprah says: “Turn your wounds into wisdom,” you’ll build your resilience for pulling yourself out of bad habits and sticky situations.
If we focus on our past mistakes and obstacles, that’s what we’ll get more of. And it’s nothing but counterproductive. You’ll get nowhere fast.
But what if you focused on what you could change? That’s when miraculous things happen.
Think about it, if you focus on things out of your control, like other people’s thoughts, emotions, feelings, the weather, traffic, world disasters, and the state of the economy, guess where you’ll stay? STUCK.
You’ll be miserable all the time and stuck in those bad habits you’re trying to change.
When I was a part-time barista, I’d encounter other people’s emotions, thoughts and negative energy daily. After doing this work for almost three years, I began to find myself getting caught up in people’s bad behaviour, meanness, and negative energy.
Guess what happens to my mindset? Yes, you guessed right; I start focusing on how awful everyone is. I focus on what I can’t change.
How do I turn this around? I remind myself I can’t change them or their thoughts, but I can change my feelings and thoughts.
Remember that in every situation, you have the power to change:
- Your thoughts, feelings, decisions, attitude, emotions and perspective.
If you reconnect with your why and focus on what you CAN change, you’ll begin to focus your energy on the positive instead of the negative.
Affirmation: I choose to turn my wounds into wisdom.
- Write three things you could improve on right now.
- Next, focus on what you can change about each of those things. Write them down.
3. Do one small thing
Doing one small thing when you’re feeling less than, depressed or stuck could mean the difference between making progress or none at all. This journey of picking myself back up and revitalizing good habits back into my life means not biting off more than I can chew. All that does is create overwhelm and disappointment when I don’t finish a task I set out for myself.
By choosing something small on your to-do list, you’ll feel fulfilled when you complete it.
Think of it this way; one is better than none.
The mindset shift here is being present and focusing on one thing you could change today.
Affirmation: I am making positive progress in my life right now.
- Choose one small thing from your to-do list that you can accomplish right now.
- Next, get it done, then celebrate that small win.
Bonus tool for making big changes:
Have a “thinking day” filled with self-reflection.
I’ve talked about this a few times before, but it’s highly beneficial when you’re feeling lost or stuck. When bad habits continue to invade our daily lives, it’s usually because we’re unsure of where we want to go or what we want to accomplish in our lives. Two words: emotional turmoil.
Self-reflection is a powerful tool. In our always “on” world, it’s something that many of us neglect to do. By quieting your mind, not only will you find calm and peace, you’ll tune into your intuition, which is your roadmap for living life.
Tips for a thinking day:
- Do a feelings check-in. Check-in with your body, are you holding feelings in? I find that when I’m overwhelmed or letting bad habits back in when I’m trying to make changes, it creates a values disconnect. In other words, I’m not acting with integrity, and if I ignore those feelings, my body holds them in. I can feel it in my gut and digestion. If I feel nervous in my gut or have symptoms of IBS, I know that I’m holding stress and anxiety in for some reason. If I dig deep enough into my feelings, I know that it’s caused by not acting in alignment with my values.
- Reflect on your life vision. And no, this is not the “where do you see yourself in five years?” type of deal. I loathe that question, by the way. Where do you see yourself going? What changes do you want to make? What does progress look like?
Positive mindset change takes courage; the courage to stop and look at ourselves authentically and ask, Is this the life I really want to live? And if the answer is no, make the easiest change, you can: change yourself.