Are you interested in changing or tweaking your current mindsets so that life becomes easier? Great, because here are seven ways of thinking that you can start right away to help you to experience a more centered, connected and rewarding life.
1. Put it down and let it go.
So often we carry things for days, weeks, months and even years longer than we need to. We can even carry other peoples stuff that doesn’t belong to us. Get into the habit of checking in with your mind, pay attention to repetitive thoughts – what’s on loop? The moment you realise that you need to stop dwelling on a certain thought (or thoughts), then simply re-focus your attention on your breath. Notice the flow of air in and out of your body. Your mind loves to have a job, so give it the job of minding your breath instead of ruminating on unhelpful thoughts! Alternatively, focus your awareness on the next task or activity you need to perform. Be fully present in this activity for a few mindful minutes. If you keep doing these simple practices you will begin to re-train your mind and loosen the habit of dwelling on unconstructive things.
Whether it is about forgiving yourself or forgiving another, forgiveness is a powerful tool. It is the process by which you set yourself free from chains that bind and restrict you. As Maya Angelou’s beautiful quote says, “forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learnt it.”
You could begin the process of forgiveness by journaling and writing out your feelings. You can also sit in quiet reflection and or meditation with, as Jack Kornfield says, “eyes of compassion and loving awareness.” Jack describes this as being completely present (and aware) of who you are with no judgement or recriminations – just loving compassion. Then there are specialist books on the subject by Louise Hay or podcasts by Ram Dass. Sometimes all we need to do is to be open to the possibility of exploring forgiveness for things to begin to shift and change for us.
Negative emotions and challenging times are your greatest teachers. If you start to consider that there are no failures and no errors; only the opportunity for self-discovery and learning, you can begin to flip your mindset. Replace, “why is this happening to me,” with, “what is this teaching me” and you immediately have a very empowering mindset that can go hand in hand with the practice of forgiveness.
3. Flow with the way of things
The Buddha said attachment is the root of all suffering. We see attachment playing out in our lives whenever we get into the tussle between ‘how it is,’ versus ‘how you want it to be.’ Thinking that we want things to be different rarely makes them so. If you can work to change a situation or habits that no longer work for you, then of course do so. However, our bodies are aging, our relatives may remain challenging and the environment may continue to degrade no matter how much we recycle. If you can start to practice the mindset of acceptance, you will free yourself from a great deal of mental and emotional anguish. Whenever you become aware of feelings of irritation, frustration and resistance with what is unfolding say to yourself, “I am surrendering and letting go, I am relaxing and moving with the flow.”
Let’s just be clear this isn’t about being a doormat, you have to have healthy boundaries. But what you resist persists. There is a time and place to stand up for something or to someone, but learning to go with the flow is a gift to yourself.
It’s also worth considering that sometimes not getting what you want often turns out to be a positive. Only can we see this when we look back with the power of hindsight.
4. Your words and thoughts have creative power.
Every book on abundance or the law of attraction will repeat the phrase, ‘where thought flows, energy goes.’ It is one of the laws of the universe. Basically what you focus on (consciously or unconsciously) is what you move towards and what you will get more of.
So the important question then is what are you giving your conscious attention and energy to and how have you programmed your unconscious mind? Are you focused on abundance or scarcity. Ironically, we often spend more time thinking about what is wrong than what is right, on what we don’t have rather than what we do. Viewed through the lens of the law of attraction, this is going to perpetuate everything you don’t want!
Become an observer of your mind. Notice what you are thinking and recognise that your words and thoughts have creative power and are frequencies of energy that your body and the universe is listening and responding to.
Set your intention and energy on what you want, focus on the good stuff, on the positives. Create a vision board of the things you want to attract into your life. Listen to the teachings of Abraham from Esther and Jerry Hicks and get inspired. Or learn more with books like, ‘The Secret,’ ‘The Biology of Belief,’(a fantastic book if you’d like to bridge the gap between science and spirit) or the old classic, ‘The Game of Life and How to Play It.’
5. You create your happiness
Many of us don’t really understand how to be happy. We put up with busy days and never ending to-do lists waiting for that next big happy moment to arrive. We defer happy. I will be happier ‘when I get that pay rise’, ‘when I can have a two week holiday’, ‘when I have a supporting relationship’ or ‘when I can retire’. If we are not careful we set happiness as a constant point on the horizon that we are always waiting for. We also look at friends Facebook pages and believe that their adventurous lives must be much happier than our own.
If you resonate with this then maybe it’s time you flipped your relationship with happy? Maybe it’s time to sit down with a pen and paper and have a good think. What do you love to do? What makes you feel alive? What makes life worth living? What makes your soul sing? What are (or were) your passions, what hobbies do (or did) you love? What does a life of purpose and meaning look like? The key to happiness isn’t anyone’s responsibility but yours. Is it time to get proactive?
It doesn’t matter whether it is gardening, dancing, walking, singing, sketching, knitting, quiz nights, volunteering, or stretching out on your yoga mat the route to happiness can be found in doing what makes you smile and doing it regularly. Take accountability for your happiness and start creating small moments every day that make you feel good.
6. Count your blessings
Much has been written about the benefits of practicing gratitude and we can’t look at mindset without covering this important topic. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can re-wire the neural pathways of the brain to actively seek out (or more accurately interpret) the good in any given situation. An easy way to foster feelings of gratitude is to start by noticing new things you are grateful for each and every day. You can write them out in a gratitude journal or perhaps each morning and each night say thank you to the universe for what it has provided that day. Smile and laugh more often. Notice the beauty in nature each day. Thank mother nature for the food you will eat before mealtimes. Nurture the friendships you have. Tell those you love how much appreciate them. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Dedicate one day a week to not complaining (then two, then three…). Anything that empowers you to see the good and be the change you want to see in the world.
Cultivating a mindset of compassion sits very comfortably alongside forgiveness and is another powerful tool. You can begin simply by noticing when you are judgemental, critical and unkind, not only to others but also to yourself. Practicing compassion is not about being foolish or foolhardy, it is not about allowing people to abuse you. It is about having your eyes wide open, seeing the world clearly, but choosing to respond with tolerance, kindness, patience and even a firm, ‘no.’
What you have experienced and as a result the beliefs and mindsets you have adopted (cause and conditioning as a Buddhist would say) are the prisms through which you view and interact with the world. It makes sense therefore to try to adopt and recondition mindsets that help you to see the world in a constructive, positive and even beautiful way.
We hope that you like these seven mindsets and can begin to try the ones that appeal to you and enjoy exploring and being curious about how they might work for you.
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Fiona and Gavin