By Conquering the mind, you can conquer the world. -Guru Nanak
We’ve all heard the cliche New Years resolutions that get thrown around so casually these days. Plans to lose weight, make extra money, get healthier -we’ve heard them all. It’s very seldom that you hear about people wanting to change their way of thinking, though. After all, it can be one of the hardest things to do and for many, can take an entire lifetime before any real progress is made.
So what do I mean by conquering your mind? I’m talking about conquering those voices in your head that tell you that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. I’m talking about that loud, piercing voice in your head that fills your mind with fear, doubt, negativity, and criticism. All of these thoughts have one common theme…FEAR! Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, the list goes on and on.
Fear comes disguised as everyday stresses, worry and anxiety and can hinder us from living our lives to to the fullest. Fear can also be the basis to many distressing physical symptoms as well such as digestive issues, racing heart, dizziness, aches & pains.
We must address the bad habits that we’ve picked up throughout the years and begin identifying ways to combat them in order to gain better control of our mind. So, what better time to take these on than in the new year when the slate is wiped clean?
Here are some very simple (and some not so simple) ways to combat fear, negativity, and overall negative energy
- Try to always see the good in every situation no matter how negative or hopeless it may seem. This one can be tough to do…but It’s possible. When we go through negative circumstances, although we don’t notice at first, it changes us. We become more resilient and better able to deal with future adversity and become equipped with a wealth of knowledge we may not have otherwise gained.
- Get rid of unrealistic expectations. One of the biggest cause of disappointment in life is when we hold others (and ourselves) to ridiculously high standards expecting too much. This same level of expectation can apply to all areas of our lives: career, health, finances etc… whatever the case is, try to maintain reasonable expectations in order to avoid feelings of inadequacy.
- Let thoughts come and go in your mind without holding judgement towards them. This one can take years to master since it goes hand in hand with meditation. As humans, we are naturally emotional beings which makes it tougher to detach our feelings from a certain concept or idea. The best way to achieve this is through constant practice and learning to shut off the stress response before it starts. Instead of avoiding a thought, just let it come into your head where you can casually observe it, accept it, and move on to the next thought.
- Take better care of yourself physically. This one sounds like a no-brainer but it is very important to remember nonetheless. When we’re well rested, fed, and nourished, we are better able to deal with the everyday stresses of life. The best way is by drinking more water, exercising, and eating nutritious vitamin-enriched foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Limiting overexposure to neurotoxins and electromagnetic chaos can both be excellent ways to help you deal with life and keep stress at bay.
- Stop complaining. When we complain, we are reinforcing the negative beliefs that we hold so strongly in our minds. It’s almost as if we’re giving life to these thoughts and ideas by speaking them out loud. Fight the urge to rant about things you have little to no control over and instead, focus on the good that you DO have right in front of you. Doing this often will eventually become a habit.
- Stay focused on your own life and goals and do not try and compete with others. I get that some people are naturally competitive by nature and some competitiveness can be healthy at times but when done excessively, competing can oftentimes lead to resentment and bitter jealousy. All of these negative feelings are cause by fear. It’s important to understand what your own personal goals in life are and strive towards achieving them without paying attention to distractions from others along the way.
- Understand that you cannot control the behavior of others. You cannot change the beliefs of others including how they think or act. In order to stay peaceful in mind and in spirit, learn to accept people for who they are without passing any judgement. We all come from different backgrounds so It’s important to remember that not everyone will hold the same beliefs as you. Learn to embrace the differences that exist between each and every person and see it as a beautiful way to add diversity to the world.
- Learn to realize that you CAN control how you react to different circumstances and situations. No one has control over your mind and actions but yourself. If you find yourself getting angry during a heated argument or after a stranger accidentally hits your car, take a few moments to breathe, and see things from the other persons perspective. Not only will this calm you down instantly, it will allow you to fully rationalize the situation at hand making it easier to find a solution.
- Stop being afraid of failure. This fear in particular is probably the most common of all fears. However, when we are afraid to fail, we oftentimes will avoid starting something new which could potentially benefit us –and we’d never know. One thing I learned in 2016 was to stop being afraid of failing. Instead, I’ve learned to accept that failure is a normal part of learning and growing and will almost always make us better…if we would just let it. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed at least once in their lives; Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan. Can you imagine if these people had given up after failing once because they were afraid of failing again?
- Find a hobby that involves all of your attention. This can be ANYTHING that you love to do. Just find what it is, do it often and do it well. When we immerse ourselves into a task or hobby that we truly enjoy, we don’t have any leftover time to indulge in self destructive behaviors such as negative foreboding, harsh judgement, envy, or gossip. This helps our overall well-being by turning off any present stress/fear responses.
These things can be hard to implement at first especially if you have been living the opposite your entire life. But, try to understand that doing so can help you become more positive, happy, healthy, and resilient to stress and FEAR.
I urge you to add this very crucial goal to the rest of your 2017 “new year, new me” list as in doing so you will promote a healthier lifestyle overall because as you know, in order to live a more balanced life, we need to take care of all areas of our lives and that includes mind, body, and spirit.
I wish you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!