Give your mind a diet and calmness will follow
*Originally published on The Mindful Word
It can be tough to find clarity and inner calmness in life. Whether personally or professionally, it almost seems impossible, given the number of responsibilities and distractions we have.
When I’ve felt stuck, anxious, or worried about the future, it stirred up so much inner conflict that I desperately wanted an answer quickly. Over time, I began to realize that a new path was needed. This was when I began to implement regular mental diets weekly.
Many of us do diets for our physical bodies to lose weight, become leaner and feel better—but I found it quite interesting that none of us do diets for our minds.
In reality, our minds and bodies are pretty similar. I use a term quite frequently, which is called “garbage in, garbage out (GIGO).”
In other words, if you feed your body garbage, it will output garbage. If I have a poor diet, it can contribute to stress, tiredness, low energy, memory loss, and even the risk of developing illnesses in the body.
Our minds work the same way, although many of us don’t treat them the same. If you feed your mind garbage consistently—like unconsciously scrolling on social media, binge-watching Netflix every day after work, or listening to the news 24/7—it can contribute to:
Feelings of worry
Anxiety about the future
An article written on verywellmind.com explained that research proved that people who watched negative material, compared to those who watched positive or neutral material, showed an increase in anxious and sad moods after only 14 minutes of viewing television news bulletins and programs.
And the pandemic crisis around the world doesn’t help, either.
Many of us are trying to strike a balance between being informed by the news or social media and becoming overwhelmed by it. It’s perfectly fine to be informed and educated about what’s going on in the world, but it’s not OK to allow the steady consumption of information to affect your mood negatively.
Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding too much exposure to the news. On their website, they recommend that individuals take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories.
A balanced mental diet is vital.
Now, more than ever, we need to be very intentional about what we expose our minds to. Otherwise, unwanted negative feelings can spill over into our relationships, work, goals, and health. It’s your job to become aware of how your outside world makes you feel internally.
Here are 3 ways to start your mental diet
Go out in nature
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce anger and stress and increase pleasant feelings. In addition, it can lower your blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. So hit the park, go hiking or do anything outdoors where you can expand your mind, body, and soul. And please put your phone down!
Go one day without social media
Social media can be a great tool if used correctly. However, studies have shown that it can fuel comparison syndrome and anxiety, and disrupt your sleep.
For an entire day, try not getting on social media. Delete the apps or hide the icons on your phone’s homepage. You may feel lighter and happier, and your levels of anxiety may drop as well.
Meditate for five minutes daily
Regular meditation has been linked to better focus and concentration, improved self-esteem and self-awareness, and lower levels of stress and anxiety. It can also help fight off illnesses in the body.
If you’ve never meditated before, there are hundreds of apps that can help guide you, including Headspace, FitMind, and Calm. Remember, meditation is not about stopping your thoughts. It’s about becoming aware of them, so your thoughts don’t use you. Over time, through consistent meditation, you will come to the realization that you have more power over your thoughts than you think you do. Now, this is a powerful state to live in!
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- Chazz Scott, Mindset & Resilience Coach, Founder of Supra Mentem, LLC.
Supra Mentem, LLC. provides corporate training, seminars, leadership and entrepreneur coaching, and workshops designed to provide effective strategies to propel individuals toward their potential personally and professionally.