Developing a Growth Mindset: Part 3
We are the sum of our choices. Every thought, every decision, every word we say or think has huge implications for our health and wellness. I constantly remind my corporate and concierge clients it takes 20 positive thoughts to reverse one negative thought.
Scientists now know that happiness has a “set point” that determines our state of mind and well-being. The coolest thing and there are millions of them about the human brain, is that we can reset our set point. Yep. If you find you are going through a long and tough time right now, you can choose to reset and re-train your brain. Happiness is a skill that can be learned and re-learned.
The brain is truly amazing.
Our lives are all in a state of tumult in some way right now. There is tension like there’s never been. There is bad news everywhere. And, there is our choice to deepen our wellness and choose to think differently… to choose happiness.
It is along those lines that I’ve developed this list of thoughts that can lead to frustration and ultimately can be another difference between success or not when it comes to your wellness goals. Each one of them takes energy and forces the brain into a “defense” mode, excreting the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to weight gain and a variety of other health conditions.
1. All or nothing thinking… In wellness, there is literally no “all” or “nothing.” There is no “black or white” thinking. It is a journey. If you would have asked me one year ago if I would be back in my running shoes, sprinting hills regularly, I would have said you were nuts. Never. My running days were over. Today, I am so happy that I either sprint hills as a finisher, run with nose breathing only, or just do whatever feels best that day.
2. The absolutes of “I always” or “I never…” Not only are these words – and huge generalizations – so hard for your brain to formulate, just by saying them you have started that project, program, journey on a negative foot. It is as if you don’t have control over your actions. And, you know you do! 💥 Let’s be honest, if someone were to tell you last year we were going to be in the middle of a pandemic in 2020, would you have believed them? “Never” would have been your response. “Always” and “never” can be tough for the brain to overcome. Work to avoid them.
3. Focusing on the negative and only seeing the bad in a situation… there is always a silver lining. Yes, in everything. I lost my father and my sister within four months last year, then six months later, my dear brother, Alex, was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. Even I can see silver linings in everything. Can you? I could have gone to a negative place. I chose to dive even deeper into my vocation to help women achieve ultimate wellness. My dad and my sister didn’t choose the most “well” lifestyle. These events convinced me it is even more important to help others understand the imperative of health for a contented lifestyle and not just get there by deprivation dieting and over-cardio.
4. Fortune telling… This is when we predict the worst outcome, mostly before we have even begun. “I’ll never lose weight.” “No partner would find me attractive.” “I’ll never feel better.” In fitness, I find this with many of our community when I challenge them with a new exercise. The looks on the faces tell all. Those who embrace a new approach eventually find the movement fun and even ask to do it again!
5. Mind reading others around you… When we think we know what others are thinking, it can be a dangerous path. It can also be futile because we cannot know exactly what others are thinking about us. It is best to focus on what you do know. You do know how they treat you. You do know the words they use when they are with you. You do know how they make you feel. Aren’t those the more important considerations when choosing to spend time with others?
6. Labeling… When we label ourselves, we are placing our brain in a position that is getting “set.” For example, if I label myself as “stupid,” like I did for years, I won’t put myself in situations where I would be able to contribute. By being “stupid,” it masked my thoughts and my choices for years. Certain activities I chose to avoid because I was “stupid.” I missed out. It was as if I was giving up without even trying. Do you have labels you have in your mind about yourself or others?
7. Blame… Blame is a dangerous action in the brain. It is even toxic on the brain. When we are victims, we are powerless for change and fail even before we start. Blame is a terrible space to waste time. No one can change you, your health, your body, your job, your relationships but you.