The Power of The Mind.
When we take our shirt off in the gym locker room, at a pool, or a shirts/skins game of pickup basketball, there it is, on display: the cumulative result of daily choices we have made, either healthy or otherwise. There is no hiding that consumed alcohol, those missed workout sessions – or alternatively, your smart choices and healthy rituals which are on display for all to see.
However when it comes to our mind, it is easy to hide bad choices and lack of training. Only we truly know what is going on between our ears.
We all know how important it is to exercise our bodies regularly, but how many people actually take the time to train their brains? Be honest, when was the last time you consciously, purposefully exercised your mind? Sure, you read things for work or pleasure, and maybe you even did a 10 minute online brain game for fun. But you also walk to your car from home, and we wouldn’t exactly call that rigorous exercise….
Just as there are multiple ways to create a stronger, healthier body through proper nutrition and working out, there are both tactical and strategic ways to creating a strong, positive mindset.
Quick Ways To Alter Your State of Mind From Negative To Positive
Listen to good music (very powerful, can instantly alter your state of mind).
Say out loud 3 things you are grateful for. Do it with feeling!
Immerse yourself in cold water (a brisk shower is fine).
Do a workout– even 10 minutes can alter your state of mind for the better.
Expose yourself to sunlight. There is a reason suicide rates increase dramatically during wintertime in northern countries where the number of hours of sunlight is minimal.
Spend less time on social media. Being exposed to other people’s ‘perfect’ – yet false – lives can have a negative impact on your state of mind.
Fundamental Ways To Strengthen Your Brain
Spend 10 – 15 minutes a day meditating (get a book on this or find some resources online).
Spend a few minutes each morning visualizing a positive, productive day ahead. Visualizing and meditating are 2 different practices which are often confused. Even though you only need to spend a few minutes visualizing a favorable outcome, the cumulative effect of even brief daily practice will have a fundamentally positive impact on your brain over time.
Drink less alcohol. Just google ‘negative effects of drinking alcohol’ and you will learn within minutes the dozens of specific, real, tangible benefits – many of which relate to the brain – to reducing alcohol consumption.
Workout consistently 4 – 5 days a week. Many people think this just benefits the body, but studies show real brain improvement through consistent exercise.
Feed the brain (and body) nutrient rich foods – more on this in a future newsletter.
Give your mind ‘nutritious’ information – there are hundreds of high quality books on spirituality, health, philosophy and other subjects that can strengthen your brain and enrich your life. Contact me directly if you want specific ideas. The point here is, just like we can choose to put empty calorie junk food in our mouth (and feel shitty afterwards), we can choose to either fill our brains with ‘empty calorie’ information or nutrition rich content. Of course having a sweet once in a while is fine as is the occasional reality TV show or tabloid magazine. But have the vast majority of your information diet be of high quality and your brain will respond accordingly. As you get older you can no longer take for granted that either your brain or body will perform at their highest level without daily healthy habits. Garbage in, garbage out.
For Success, Attitude is Equally Important as Ability
The reality is that our brain is our control center. It drives mood, our muscles…just about everything we do or think, 24/7. Yet few people actually exercise it, train it - rather they passively feed it junk either knowingly or in denial. Dedicate time to exercising your brain the same way you (hopefully) do for your body. The combination of a strong mind and body will set the foundation for making you unstoppable in all aspects of life – work, health, relationships, your finances, etc. When your mind is strong and your physical health vibrant, you tend to be happy (and confident). When you are happy, you have a good attitude, and when you have a good outlook on life you tend to perform better which in turn makes you happier….hop on this virtuous upward cycle by employing a few of the techniques described above.
Yes we are all human and will invariably have moments of frustration, anger, etc. The question is are these moments the norm or the exception, and how long do we choose to stay in that state of mind versus taking specific action to shift the mind to a positive state…. This is no different than the question, are we generally healthy, vibrant and energetic, or lethargic and sick –and when we feel less than optimal what choices are we making to get back into a peak physical state? To bring this point to a clear conclusion, when it comes to the ‘chicken and egg’ question about which comes first, it is clear that a strong mind will drive smart decisions that impact all areas of your life. So when in doubt, start with what I tell my kids is the most important muscle in the body: the brain.