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Mind over Matter: How to Have a Healthy Mindset

We all go through challenges and obstacles in life, and our mindset, or how we think about and react to them can greatly affect our overall well-being. Your mindset can also have a huge impact on how you feel, as well as shaping your daily reality.

You might be thinking, “cute, I’ve heard this all before, why should I care?” Well, here’s the thing, mindset is not just a trendy buzzword, it’s a powerful tool.

It’s also not about always being positive and happy. A healthy mindset is having self-awareness, coping skills, and being willing to take action in a healthy way.

Keep reading and you’ll learn about two different types of mindsets, how to avoid toxic positivity, and five simple things you can do today to start having a healthy mindset. You’ll also learn about the power of thoughts and how they impact our emotions and actions.

But here’s the best part, this post is not just about theory, it’s about action. I’ll be sharing relatable examples and practical tips that you can start implementing today. So, if you’re ready to take control of your thoughts and improve your overall well-being, let’s dive in!

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What type of mindset do you have?

When a challenge comes up, how do you react? Do you immediately shut down and throw in the towel (fixed mindset), or do you see it as an opportunity to grow and learn (growth mindset)?

Your mindset determines how you view and use your talents and respond to challenges. A fixed mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence are fixed, innate, and can’t be changed. 

In contrast, a growth mindset is a belief that intelligence and skills can grow and develop through effort, feedback, and learning. 

Carol Dweck, the pioneer of this research says that you don’t only have one or the other, but rather, “everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, and that mixture continually evolves with experience.” 

As you might imagine, there are some pretty powerful benefits to having a growth mindset. These include:

  • Increased resilience and adaptability
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Improved mental and emotional well-being
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced feelings of isolation and depression
  • A strong sense of purpose, belonging, and social connectedness

Going back to the basics of your personal well-being, it’s impressive to see how a simple mindset shift can be a part of all six types of self care. Could your mindset be the key to better health and happiness? 

The power of a healthy, positive mindset

Having a growth mindset is great, but it doesn’t mean always being positive and ignoring negative emotions or tough challenges. 

We want to avoid falling into toxic positivity, or the excessive and forced optimism that invalidates and ignores negative emotions or experiences. 

A healthy, positive growth mindset is not:

  • “Look on the bright side”
  • “Don’t worry, be happy”
  • “Just think positive”

These are cliche examples of toxic positivity and not a growth mindset. You shouldn’t always be happy or suppress negative thoughts. Faking happiness can actually lead to more stress and burnout. 

It’s okay to not be okay and to feel hard things. Where a growth mindset comes into play is how you cope with the situation and emotions at hand. 

You can have a growth mindset without forcing optimism by practicing self-compassion, taking action to overcome challenges, being open to feedback, and learning. Embrace being able to evolve and grow!

Thoughts become things. 

Embarrassing self-disclosure here, my friends and I were obsessed with The Secret in high school. We would get together to watch the documentary and call each other out on negative thoughts, saying “thoughts become things!”

While I’m a bit more critical about some of the wild manifestation claims, it’s important to acknowledge that our thoughts have a powerful impact on our emotions and actions. 

The ways we think influence how we see the world. Thoughts impact our behavior and decision-making, so, the ways we think about and view challenges affect the outcome. 

For example, let’s say you decide to train for a 5k run. Your initial thought after tying up your running shoes for your first jog is, “I’ll never be able to do this.” That thought is probably going to make you feel more discouraged and unmotivated, making it even harder. 

Given the powerful impact that our thoughts have on our choices, emotions, outcomes, and health, you can see how having a healthy mindset is so critical. Here are five things you can do TODAY to have a healthy mindset.

5 Ways to Have a Healthy Mindset

Craft your vision. 

Begin with the end in mind, and set yourself up for success by having clear and achievable goals. These will help you stay focused, motivated, and positive. 

Plus, when we have a vision for the future, it’s easier to remember why we’re putting in the work. When you can see (visualization can be powerful here) what you want, you’re more willing and able to persevere. 

Decide what you want to accomplish, imagine what that will look and feel like, and create a plan to make it happen. Vision boards can be a fun way to do this!

Positive self-talk.

Self-talk refers to the inner dialogue we have with ourselves, which can have a powerful impact on our mindset and overall well-being. Practicing positive self-talk can improve your mindset by helping to reduce negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. 

It’s normal to have negative thoughts and to be hard on yourself. It’s part of being human. However, our thoughts aren’t always accurate or true, and as we talked about above, you have the power to challenge and change them. 

Personally, I find it helpful to view my self-talk like a cartoon, with a little angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. This is my way to separate thoughts from what is true, quiet the negativity, and listen for the positive. 

Positive self-talk can increase motivation, improve your mood, help you to be more present in the moment, and have more self-compassion. 

square infographic with text that reads self-talk for a healthy mindset. instead of thinking this... I'm not good enough/ I can't do this / I'm a failure, Tell Yourself: I'm capable and will try my best / I'm strong and I can handle this / I can learn from this challenge and grow

Express gratitude.

For an almost immediate mindset boost, think about three good things that have happened today and why they happened. This is a proven way to boost positivity and happiness

When we think about what we’re grateful for and find the positives, we naturally generate positive emotions like joy, contentment, and happiness. This is great to remember when you’re having a tough day and struggling to see the positives. 

Practicing gratitude can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, along with strengthening relationships and bonds with others. It’s a holistically beneficial, simple way to improve your mindset and daily well-being. 

Be mindful. 

Practicing mindfulness is one of the best ways to relax and clear your mind. In yoga, we talk about quieting the chitta vritti, or mental chatter. I think of it as having many different tabs open in my mind, constantly going from one to another. This can make it hard to focus, be present, and think accurately. 

Mindfulness helps you to quiet this chaos and be aware of one thought, feeling, or action at a time, in the present moment. This way you can observe the self-talk that naturally goes on inside your head, but rather than believe or act on it, you can recognize it, see it without judgment, and let it go. 

Mindfulness is also a great tool to use for feelings of stress and anxiety. When you’re more aware of your own thoughts and emotions, you are able to be self-compassionate, get out of your head, and take action.

If you want to stop your mind from holding you back, work on cultivating more self-awareness, self-compassion, and resilience through mindfulness. 

Embrace your people. 

Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain a healthy mindset. The people you spend time with can add joy, laughter, and love to your days.

When you have someone to talk to or simply spend time with, you’re less likely to feel isolated and lonely. Being around those who nourish your soul offers an instant boost of belonging, encouragement, and inspiration.

Especially during a difficult time, having a support system is essential to maintaining a healthy mindset. A solid friend, family member, or colleague can offer support, other perspectives, inspiration, and validation to help you through a tough time. 

The people we spend time with can have a big influence on how we think and see the world, so check in with those you care about and choose to spend your time with. Don’t forget to make reaching out to them a priority. 

A note on mindset and mental health…

Mental health is complex and influenced by a combination of factors. While working to have a positive mindset can be helpful during low times, the suggestions in the post are not a substitute for professional treatment or a cure by any means. 

Now what?

Having a healthy, positive mindset is something we can always work on. It’s not a quick fix for a bad day or overcoming a tough time, but it definitely can help to put things into perspective and take action in a way that feels right for you, rather than giving up or reacting impulsively. 

You can make small shifts each day in your thinking patterns to have a growth mindset, embrace self-compassion, and learn continuously, without feeling like you’re faking happiness. 

The next time you’re faced with negative thoughts or a challenge, how can you reframe your thoughts in a healthy, authentic way? Which tool will you try? I’d love to hear!

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