There are times when it'll feel like life just came outta nowhere and tried to knock you off your feet, and spin you around until you feel like you're gonna puke. After that, it'll be sure to flip you upside down, and then spin you around some more. Dramatic? Maybe, but most of you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's during the challenging times that your mental strength is so vital, so today I'm sharing all of my best tips for how to train your brain to create a positive mindset.
Pain is inevitable. It's a part of life, and everyone experiences it in one way or another, but training your mind, just as you would physically train your body, is what changes the game.
I believe that this is what can turn your deepest pain into your greatest gifts, because with these tips that I'm sharing below for how to train your brain, you can teach yourself to find the good, even when life tries to kick you where it hurts.
I often hear from others just how amazing it is that changing my diet changed my entire life, but that was really just the beginning. My journey to health started with food, and grew into so much more.
Before we get into that, let's back up a bit.
I used to worry about EVERYTHING. While I always thought of myself as a positive person, the thoughts that ran through my mind were anything but. At the time, I didn't understand that my thoughts and words were literally shaping my entire world around me…until it happened right before my eyes.
I remember first coming to this realization years ago, and I'm not gonna lie, it stung a lil.
You mean to say that I created a life where I was so sick for so many years – feeling lost, helpless and confused? While I don't know the answer to that, and I'd NEVER be one to say that anyone brought on something terrible into their own lives, I DO believe that no matter what, we get a choice in what we do with our pain. We can either become a victim and let the challenges destroy us, or we can turn our deepest pain into our greatest gifts, by sharing the lessons that we learned with others, to help make their lives easier.
In order to do this, you have to be willing to look at your life differently.
Here's where I can help, because my friends, I've been THROUGH IT.
Before my last surgery, in February 2011, I decided that no matter what, I would be incredibly healthy, and even more than that, I would be THRIVING. So many doctors' tested me with their limiting beliefs, telling me that I wouldn't get better and that I needed to start accepting my life for what it was.
Here's what changed EVERYTHING for me, even when I didn't realize it at the time.
No matter how many times that I was told this, deep down, I believed with every ounce of who I am, that I would be healthy, and I would have unstoppable energy. I could see it and I could feel it. This is why I truly believe that I'm as healthy and energetic as I am today.
It all started in my mind.
I deeply believe that in order for anything to be possible, we have to be the first ones to believe that it can happen.
To me, having a positive mindset isn't about pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows all the time. It's about recognizing the challenging times for exactly what they are – challenges, and at the same time not making them into a bigger deal than it needs to be. Us humans tend to do that. Or at least I know that I used to.
It's also about knowing that the challenging times WILL pass.
Now that you have a better understanding of who I am, and why I believe that creating a positive mindset can change your entire life, I've got some tips that I want to share with you for how to train your brain.
*Just to be very clear, I have nothing but gratitude for every single one of my doctors. They were simply doing the best that they could with the information that they had been taught in medical school. They saved my life many times, and they're such a huge part of my story and who I am today. Perspective is everything, my friends.
How To Train Your Brain To Create a Positive Mindset:
Know Your WHY
This, more than anything else, is my most important piece of advice.
WHY do you want to create a positive mindset?
What will having a positive mindset change for you? Who are you doing this for?
The more specific you are, and the bigger your reason for making this change, the more likely you'll be to follow through.
Write out your "why" and read it to yourself daily – especially if things ever feel like they're getting tough.
Raising Your Awareness
Changing your diet can be EASY in comparison with changing the thoughts that you think and the words that you say. In reality, if any of this were easy, everyone would do it, and everyone would be loving their life.
But that's not exactly what's going on in our world, yeah?
Just look around and you'll see others experiencing anxiety, fear, worry, depression and negativity everywhere you look. BUT, that doesn't have to mean that this has to be your story too.
You can decide to write your own story, starting right now.
In order to create a positive mindset, you first have to become aware of what you're thinking and what you're saying in the first place.
How often are you saying that you "can't do something" or "that's not possible?"
I see it all.the.time.
I often hear from my wonderful readers who've read my story, and are inspired, but don't think that the same thing could ever happen to them. Or they've watched my training videos and tell me how amazing it is, but "they could never do that."
Really? How do you think that I did any of this? I deeply believe that anything is possible, and that every single one of us is pure magic, and it's just up to you to decide to own it.
All of this literally started with me becoming aware of my thoughts and then over time, switching the conversation from "that feels too hard" to "I've got this."
Simple concept, yet it's not easy to actually put into practice.
But, if I can do it, I know that you can too.
Start by simply becoming aware of what you're thinking and saying. As you become aware, shift those thoughts and words into something that will lift you up, not bring you down.
Keep practicing and practicing, and I promise what feels challenging right now will become easier and easier.
Life Happens For Me, Not To Me
We don't always get a choice in what happens to us, but we do get a choice in how we respond.
This quote is what I live my life by and what I 100% believe to be true – "life happens for me, not to me." Last year, when I suddenly ended up in the hospital with a twisted small intestine, I repeated this quote to myself over and over again. This is honestly what got me through hours and hours of some of the most intense pain that I've ever experienced.
This concept is EASY to believe when things are going great and life is working in your favor, but oooohhh can it be tough when it feels like the world is working completely against you.
This is why I repeat this quote over and over – because at first, I didn't truly believe it…I mean, how can the dark times actually benefit me? I repeated this over and over, until I actually believed it, which in turn trained my brain to look for any good that could come from the situation.
That's exactly what happened, and why I've learned the BEST lessons from my darkest times. Pain can serve a much deeper purpose, but it completely depends on how you choose to see it.
Once again, perspective is EVERYTHING.
Surround Yourself With The BEST
If you want to truly have a positive mindset, you won't have the space to surround yourself with mediocre people who talk negatively about themselves and/or others.
I used to be surrounded by these kinds of people. I'm definitely not saying that I'm any better than them, but in order to move forward, I did have to learn to release them from my life.
Another concept that's simple, yet not so easy to put into practice. Obviously you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and when it's family, it can be especially difficult.
My best tip is to visit less often and stay for shorter amounts of time. As you change, you'll see that those who are meant to be in your life will stay, and those that aren't, will drift away, in order to make room for new, amazing people.
Now, I'm surrounded by the most badass friends. They're business owners, athletes, and just all around amazing humans who constantly strive for more from life. We talk about our goals and dreams and we lift each other up.
While you're at it, find a friend, family member, coworker, or anyone to help hold you accountable. Having someone to help catch you when you fall is an unbelievable gift. We ALL fall. That's just a tiny piece of what my husband is for me. He always lifts me back up and reminds me of who I am, and where I started from.
Create Something to Look Forward To
In order to create a positive mindset, you've gotta take action. No one else can do it for you.
Life can feel like Groundhog's day when your routine is always the same, and you're going to a job that you hate. This is why it's so imperative to have something to look forward to, every single day (hopefully while you're making steps to release that unfulfilling job from your life).
What is it that makes you happy? What is it that brings a huge smile to your face, or makes you laugh? What simple routine can you add into your day that will instantly lift you up? It's so much easier to get those positive thoughts flowing when you create a space where you can feel the most alive.
Practice, Practice…and Keeeeeep On Practicing
Trust that my thoughts aren't always sunshine and rainbows – I'm human, after all. My brain often tries to search for anything and everything that can go wrong.
The idea to write this blog post came to me right as I was falling asleep the other night. I know by now that if I don't immediately write out my ideas, they'll disappear. So I got up and wrote the outline of this post, and then I went to bed, excited to finish it in the morning.
The next day I woke up, sat at my computer to type it all out, and BAM, my brain kicked in. My thoughts were saying all sorts of crazy things, like "who are you to write a post about mindset?"
So if you're thinking that you're the only one who has negative thoughts, I'm here to tell ya, that ain't the case.
BUT…this is why practicing the steps that I've given you in this post is KEY. The more and more that I practice, the faster I catch myself whenever I fall. That's why I was quickly able to catch my negative thoughts, tell myself that I've got this, and here I am, writing and publishing this post! I've been practicing these steps for years, and the effort has majorly paid off. It can do the same for you.
Be Easyyy on Yourself
Let's be real – changing the thoughts that you think and the words that you say can be HARD. While this may not feel easy at first, it'll get easier and easier as you apply these steps into your life and stick with it.
If life feels like it's sucking, and you're really struggling with pulling yourself out of a funk, PLEASE don't beat yourself up. It's okay to feel the painful emotions – and really, it's an important part of letting go and moving on.
So Instead of feeling bad about feeling down, which really only makes things worse, do your best to find something that you enjoy, and do just that. It could be working out, going for a walk, playing with your pets or kids, watching a funny movie (watching sad/depressing anything isn't the best idea when you're already down)…whatever it is, DO IT.
Change takes time, and if you're truly in this for the long haul, sticking with it WILL pay off, and it can change your entire life.
That's exactly what it did for me.
The thoughts that you think and the words that you say MATTER. They shape your entire world around you.
Don't believe me? Put these steps above into practice for 30 days, find an accountability partner, and just see if your life begins to change for the better. After all, what do you have to lose?