Given we live the words you tell yourself in your mind, I want to share 3 hacks for mindset and life.
1. Change the way you view stress – research says when you think of stress as ‘bad’, then it is physiologically bad – you can die prematurely from the BELIEF stress is bad for you and your cardiovascular profile matches (stays blocked). When you think of stress as your body’s way of coping with a challenge, then your heart stays open, the cuddle hormone oxytocin is released and you will live longer. Watch this brilliant TED for more detail on how to make stress your friend.
2. Notice the inner critic (itty bitty shitty committee in your head) – we all have one – separate from it – see it as something separate to you. Talk back to it in your mind (to take back control) – and replace it. Focus on your own positive qualities (I am ….)
3. What went well – end of the day, say 3 things around the dinner table (you still eat at that right?) – what went well today? No need to focus on the highs AND lows (what went well ties more in with gratitude) – this exercise has been validated in random-assignment, placebo-controlled experiments (by Prof Martin Seligman). They have been conducting trials since 2001 and show this exercise improves life-satisfaction and depression levels. Kids love it too.
For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analysing negative events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ natural catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.