Did you know that the human mind processes anywhere between 50,000 to upwards of 70,000 thoughts in any given day? Not all of those thoughts are conscious or unique; many of them are repeated and replayed in our subconscious minds in the form of what-if scenarios that we can’t seem to escape no matter what we do. Thus, thoughts are powerful and you must choose wisely.
However, when you live in what-ifs, you live in some form of a state of fear. Not only does it tax you mentally, but also emotionally, spiritually, and of course, physically. Much of our fear-based thoughts revolve around our finances and relationships, but also extend into our careers, health and other areas of our lives.
The mind is a powerful tool, so here are some tips to try when you feel you aren’t utilizing your full potential.
The first step in self-improvement or productivity is to truly reflect on yourself. Be honest with yourself and tap into how you are feeling. Are you happy with where you’re at physically, geographically, mentally? Have you been battling anxiety or depression for some time? Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling and give it the acknowledgment it deserves. It is a part of you, after all, and those thoughts are powerful.
The hardest part is discerning between what is “good” and what is “bad.” We have been taught to believe that “good” emotions are those such as happiness and euphoria, and “bad” feelings are sadness and anxiety. But what if we stripped the intention behind those emotions and simply acknowledged them for what they are – just a feeling. The concept of right and wrong is just that – a concept. Let whatever you feel pass through you and ride the wave because the second you deem it “bad” will only heighten that anxiety and make it even harder to combat. Everything that passes through you is a part of you. Be kind to it.
However, if anxiety and depression are loitering around you for too long, it may be a signal that your environment is causing them. This leads to the next point.
A tough pill to swallow for some people is “you are who you surround yourself with.”
In other words, what does your surrounding environment look like? What are your hobbies, who are your friends, and what do you spend your time, energy, and money on? Are you going through certain motions in your life because you want to, or because you’re influenced too?
These are extremely simple, yet powerful questions to ask if you are truly honest with yourself. Tapping back into who you are at your very core gives your mind a chance to reboot and reflect on what may be missing.
Organize your space and mind. Yes, your mind. While we know the positive effects of having a tidy room, organizing your mind may sound strange. Just like you can find things easier when everything is put in its place, you can think clearly when your mind isn’t cluttered with extra thoughts.
Journaling is a great place to start. Start jotting down what happened and how you felt at the end of every day. Reflecting on the events can help you better understand why things unfolded a certain way, and you don’t have to bother with the weight of carrying those thoughts around because you know they are in a safe space somewhere whenever you’d like to revisit them. With enough practice, you’ll eventually be able to categorize your thoughts internally.
I know the last thing you want to hear is the redundant “look good feel good,” but it could not be any truer. Water is an essential function of the brain and body and going without it reduces memory retention, energy, and overall mood. Exercise has similar effects. It can help with brain function and memory, as well as overall appearance and skin health.
Chronic stress can take form in different ways within the body and overall mood/behavior. Some effects of stress are headache, anxiety, muscle tension or pain, restlessness, overeating/undereating, social withdrawal, fatigue, anger, stomach upset, depression, substance abuse, and lack of motivation. It starts in your brain and if left unattended, translates into every corner of the body. It will eventually creep into how you live your life. It’s important to take inventory of your thoughts daily so you know where to pour more effort in. Once again, thoughts are powerful. Investing in yourself is worth a lifetime – make it as great as you possibly can.