It's spring. What comes to mind? Springing into fitness? Spring cleaning? Here's something new to try for spring. How about a little spring cleaning for your mind? Yep! That's where your power exists — the space between your ears. No matter what you're trying to achieve — from improving your health to becoming happier — it all starts in your head. Do a mental reboot once in a while to give yourself a fresh outlook and a new perspective.
1. Change your mental conversation.
Sure, it's easier said than done to change your thoughts from negative to positive, but if you can slowly make the shift, it can make a dramatic difference in your life. More people fill their heads with negative thoughts and criticisms than positive thoughts. Realize that everyone gets "monkey brain," which happens when your thoughts hop around and lots of things pop into your mind that you don't have to listen to or believe.
Try to rewire how you think by being your own best coach. Decide what to think about. Pay attention to your thoughts more and dismiss what you don't want to think about. Make your mind a kind and comforting place to hang out. Another way I like to put it is this: Would you talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself? If not, work on thinking more positive things about you, about others, about your life. Practice — it works!
2. Connect with a friend.
I bet there's someone you'd love to talk to right now, but being busy gets in the way of your friendship connections. Catching up, laughing, expressing, sharing and ultimately connecting can do wonders to reduce your stress level and improve your outlook. Give a friend you haven't talked to in a while a call — or, better yet, schedule a lunch. Our friendships give us a healthy reminder that we're in this life together, and we aren't flying solo. Social connections raise our happiness levels.
3. Write it down.
Writing things down is a powerful practice to clear the clutter in your mind. Here are several ways you can use the power of writing to spring clean your mind: Grab a journal and vent. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Scan your life for the positive with daily gratitude lists. Train yourself to notice all the awesome stuff about your life — from the minors to the majors.
- Make an irritation list and go on a mission to make your irritation list shorter by eliminating some of the things that irritate you from your life.
- Rewrite your goals from January to give yourself a springtime recharge.
- Try stream of consciousness writing. Write what comes to your mind ... you just might be surprised at what a cathartic exercise writing just to write can become.
4. Unplug from the negative.
If you watch too much negative news, or spend too much time with people who could be called Debbie Downers, it can bring you down. Be more selective of the what you see, what you read, what you hear and who you hang with. Choose to surround yourself with uplifting people. Read some positive stories online and watch less news for a while. It's not hiding from reality — it's giving yourself a mental break from the constant flood of hyped-up negative information! Choose to watch a happy or funny movie or show. Share some positive news on your Facebook page. There are all sorts of ways you can unplug from the negative and plug into the positive. Don't underestimate how your mind and mood can be influenced by the input all around you.
So as you spring clean your closet and put those brightly colored clothes front and center, take some time to brighten up your mind so you can smile your way through SPRING!
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