When trying to decide if I want to eat something or not, I take a moment and think, "will this bless my body?" Usually, when it is something I probably don't need, the answer is no, but occasionally the answer is YES--that giant fresh baked brownie will absolutely bless the crap out of my body. I will enjoy every single bite and will feel happy to have had it as a special occasion.
There is so much talk and hype these days about certain diets--more protein, less protein, high in veggies, low in fruits, some carbs, no carbs, the list goes on. We spend seemingly more time than ever about what we're putting in our bodies (which is a great thing when it's mindful and leads to healthy choices), but what about what we're putting in our minds?
Our minds think about 70,000 thoughts per day, 3,000 per hour, 50 per minute. That is just under one thought per second! In addition, studies show that we are programmed to tend towards negative thoughts--it actually takes mindful, conscious work to be positive. So with all this information being shoveled into our mental mouths throughout the course of the day, how is that impacting us? It manifests in ways like overwhelm, depression, anxious thoughts, numbing behaviors, etc. Our minds cannot digest the highly toxic thoughts and stories that we tell ourselves all day, and it leaves us feeling mentally drained, physically disrupted, and generally exhausted.
I have certainly taken this part of my body for granted before--we all have at one point or another. But how do we make a change and start filling up our mental cups with information and nourishment that will sustain us rather than deplete us? The key is mindfulness practices. Here are a few that I practice daily that are definitely worth a try if they're not already a part of your day:
Moments of Gratitude: it is said that the antidote for anxiety is gratitude--if you are in gratitude about a situation you physically cannot be anxious. Give it a try--when you're worried about an upcoming mortgage bill, for example, take a moment and think about how grateful you are to be living in the house you're making payments on. Or that you have a house at all. Finding these little moments where you can drop into gratitude suddenly makes your anxious thoughts dissipate. Anxiety is about the past and future, and gratitude is about the present--come back to the here and now and those thoughts will start to feel unnecessary and irrelevant. Take time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks of people who inspire you: we are a combination of the five people we spend the most time with. So whether it's in person or in your ear buds while you're taking the dog for a walk, surround yourself with people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself every day! There is a crazy amount of free information out there at your fingertips, all you have to do is tune in and allow your vibration to soar. Set a mood for the day before you get out of bed and come back to it if/when you have moments of upset throughout the day: this is a big one. Right when you wake up, when you're still in that warm and cozy cocoon between being asleep and being awake with your feet on the ground, take a moment and set an mood as your intention for the day. Let's say you choose the word peace. Then, when you're busy at work and feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with your annoying coworker Rihanna, you can come back to the word--peace. Let it fill you up and ground your mind. And keep reminding yourself of it again and again throughout the day. Meditate daily: people often say that they don't have enough time to meditate, and to that I say NO WAY! We all have time to take a few silent breaths to center ourselves at some point in the day, whether it's two minutes or two hours. It is about giving our brains a break in our hyper-stimulated world so that we can come back a little more recharged and refreshed.
For more information about a healthy mental diet, contact Hannah Jefferson at firstname.lastname@example.org.