Day 2 - Mindset
Challenge #2: Sit in silence
Today’s topic is mindset.
This is a pretty big topic, especially since we learned yesterday that our minds and bodies are intricately connected.
Our minds are very powerful. They can lead us to great success, keep us in a cycle of fear, help us connect with others, and even make us sick.
Meditation is a fantastic way to get in touch with our mindset and emotional state.
But for many of us, meditation feels daunting. How can we sit still for 30 minutes with an empty mind?
If you’re new to meditation, today’s challenge is for you:
Sit (or lie down) in a quiet space with no distractions. Turn off your cell phone, turn off the lights if you like. Breathe naturally. You don’t have to empty your mind – just pay attention to what’s going on in your mind and body. Notice any thoughts you have, any emotions you’re experiencing and be grateful for them. Notice any pain or tension in your body. Don’t try to change anything, just notice.
Try this mindful meditation practice for 5-10 minutes, then journal about your experience.
A surefire way to hijack our mindset is struggling with feelings of overwhelm.
Overwhelm kicks in when we struggle with too many choices, options or responsibilities. This one gets me every time! I have my to-do list, then it just looks so long and tedious and I don’t know what to do first or what’s most important, so I don’t do any of it. Netflix it is!
The dictionary definition is just too poignant not to share: “to bury or drown beneath a huge mass; to defeat completely.”
I get it – we give ourselves way too many options these days. We are buried beneath to-do lists, commitments, activities, career paths, what to eat, what to wear. It’s no wonder we’re completely defeated when it comes time to make a decision.
But the truth is, we are overwhelmed because we don’t have clarity on what we really want! We don’t truly understand our passions, purpose, goals, hopes, dreams. We don’t have a clear action plan or roadmap. And the ironic thing here is that clarity only comes from execution! We can only have clarity in our path when we try something, fail, try something else, and fail again.
And yet we’re afraid of failure.
See where I’m going with this? We commit ourselves to these awful cycles of fear, overwhelm, doing nothing and never trying. We fail anyway because we do nothing.
Here’s the even harder truth: Overwhelm is a choice.
We choose to continue this cycle when we don’t give ourselves time to prioritize and think about what’s most important or what needs to get done first. We choose to do nothing when our anxiety peaks. And we choose to give up our dreams because it feels like too much work.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed this week, try one of these strategies for beating overwhelm:
Set an intention.
Determine, either the night before or first thing in the morning, what you would like to accomplish for the day. It helps to answer the question, “at the end of the day, what do I want to have that I don’t have right now.” Then, plan the rest of your day around that end result. When you begin with the end in mind, it’s easier to assess whether tasks will lead you to the goal or distract you from it.
Sort through the clutter.
I’m talking physical and mental clutter here. If you have a pile of dishes that you keep seeing out of the corner of your eye, wash them. Or move to another room where they’re not a distraction. As for mental clutter, don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day.
Identify your priorities.
Think about the things you can remove from your plate. What can you delegate? What can wait for another time? What can you remove altogether? What are the mission critical steps that will lead you to your big goals? Once you’ve determined your priorities, it’s ready, aim, fire!
Take powerful action.
Y’all know this by now, but I can’t stress it enough. Clarity comes from execution and confidence comes from taking action. If all else fails and you’re still overwhelmed, do something. Don’t give up because it’s too hard or you feel confused or don’t know where to start. Start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s the “right” step or the most logical step. Try it anyway.
What will you do to prevent overwhelm from hijacking your day?
Paying attention to negative thoughts can take a huge toll on our mindset and overall wellbeing.
Especially when something bad happens in our lives. Or someone says something mean to us.
Just remember, in every situation:
BE Powerful. BE Confident. BE YOU.
This is a model I teach my clients to start stepping back from our negative perceptions and see things from an objective point of view.
Let’s break it down. The BE YOU mental model serves as a self-coaching tool that you can use to train your mind. You can use this model to stop thinking negative thoughts, to combat fear, overwhelm and doubt, and even to improve your interpersonal relationships.
This is a well-known model in the field of psychology and in the law of attraction. I’ve tweaked it for you into something that’s easy to remember. The model teaches us that our beliefs about something create emotions. Those emotions in turn elicit behaviors. And we all know that every behavior has a consequence, or effect. Our beliefs create emotions, which create behaviors, which create effects.
The power of this model is that our beliefs are actually reinforced by the effects, or the results we get.
If we believe that we can get a raise at work, then we’re going to behave in such a way that gives us that result. That result will then reinforce our belief that we are worthy of a raise. On the other hand, if we believe that we can’t get a raise, we’ll behave in such a way that prevents us from getting a raise, and as a result, we’ll continue to believe we’re not good enough.
Here's an example of how powerful our thoughts really are:
- Situation: Going to a new event where you don’t know anyone.
- Belief: “I’m so awkward at these events. No one will want to talk to me and I’ll be the loser eating alone”
- Emotion: Self-doubt, fear, anxiety
- Behavior: Shy away at the back of the room, don’t speak to anyone
- Effect: You eat lunch alone
Now, let’s look at it from a positive perspective:
- Situation: Going to a new event where you don’t know anyone.
- Belief: “I love these events! I always meet new and exciting people and learn something new.”
- Emotion: Confidence, enthusiasm
- Behavior: Make small talk with strangers, ask questions
- Effect: You made a new friend (or business contact)
Notice the difference? Our mindset is the difference between being successful and staying where we are.
What situation can you look at differently to improve your mindset?