Are you having trouble achieving your health goals despite doing all the right things physically? Or maybe no matter how hard you try, you always end up sabotaging your best efforts. It may actually have less to do with exactly what you are eating and everything to do with your mindset.
At this time of year we tend to think more about the things in life we are grateful for, and all the blessings we have in our lives. And so, there is no better time to start adopting an abundance mindset. This is a term often used in the worlds of business and finance, but it absolutely spills over into the spheres of health and wellness, and how much we create in our lives.
Our mindset is the set of filters, assumptions and views we make about the world, and determines how we operate in it. If we are limited in our thinking, making assumptions that the worst will always happen, and seeing threats around us all the time, it only makes sense that we see aspects of our body and ability to be well through this lens also. The great news is that you can shift and upgrade your mindset in a few simple steps, and thus shift how you approach and achieve your wellness goals. When you experience more abundance in your day to day life, you will naturally feel more freedom when it comes to your food choices. Here is how to start:
Recognize That How you Experience the World is your Own Choice
We create the lens through which we see the world before we are able to recognize that it is happening, and so we tend to forget that it ever occured. From the time we were born we were trying to make sense of the world around us. No matter how many questions we asked, no one could ever articulate everything happening around us without their own filters. As a result, we made many assumptions about the world and took on some views that we may not have chosen with everything we now know as adults. Yet, we still operate with this mindset which is the basis of everything we see and believe in the world.
If you have a scarcity mindset it is not your fault that you see the world as you do, but now it is your responsibility to change it. Once you understand this, you have the opportunity to start to see the world as you wish it would be. If you are a person who is trying to release fat, you can choose to start looking for evidence that it is possible to melt fat away. If you are working to overcome emotional eating that you know results from not feeling enough love and connection in your life, you can choose to start seeing opportunities for love and connection. Our world is shaped as if by moulding clay that is formed by what we choose to pay attention to. Starting today, notice what you currently pay attention to and find evidence for in the world and start asking the questions:
“Why do I do that?”
“Is that serving me?”
“What might serve me better to get what I want?”
As you are moving through this process you may notice that some of the medium you are consuming is also not in line with how you want to exist in this world. Media through television, radio, news, magazines or the internet that delivers fear or trauma, creates stress or makes you feel badly about yourself is not worth letting in. Edit what you choose to absorb and who you want to listen to. It is common to “zone out” while on social media, the web or while watching tv, and this is the most destructive thing we can do. Be a conscious consumer and question why you believe what “they” tell you to think, feel, say and do.
Audit Your Thoughts to Ensure They are Profitable
Your world is created by your thoughts, so decide which thoughts are serving you and which are harming you. To do this you first need to pay attention to the thoughts you are having. For example, if it is important for you to lose weight and it is something that you give a lot of attention to, start to notice which thoughts are most pervasive in your mind about it. Do you spend more time celebrating wins or punishing yourself for setbacks? Do you notice and give yourself credit for all the things you do well? Or do you shame yourself and focus on what you are not doing right?
What assumptions do you make about the process? Do you think that it will be hard or it will be easy? Do you think that it will happen for everyone else but not you, or if other people can do it you can too? Awareness of these factors will help you understand if you currently have a mindset of scarcity/lack or of abundance/freedom. You will also realize how you speak to yourself and if your thoughts and your sentiments about what you want are the same. Thoughts act like evidence that what you want is possible and probable or impossible. Why are you holding on to evidence that contradicts your dreams?
Once you are clear on what you really want and the thoughts that are not in alignment with that desire, it is time to clean up your head! Keep a written record of some of the most common thoughts that you have identified which are in the way of believing you can have what you want. First notice them and then question:
“Where did that thought come from?”
“Who told me that was true?”
“What would be possible if I chose to believe the opposite?”
Slowly and methodically move through your thoughts until you reach an understanding of what is worth believing and what is best to let go of.
Always Look on the Bright Side of your Life
Here in the Dominican Republic there are the most amazing skies. I can stand on the patio and look to the west and see a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and a few wisps of clouds, then as I turn my head to the east I can see dense, dark clouds filled with rumbling thunder as a storm slowly blows up the coast. It is then my choice if I want to enjoy the warm, sunny day while I can and take a chance on dancing in the rain, or to immediately run and hide from the expected storm which may or may not arrive.
At any moment we can focus on everything that we have, all the progress we have made towards our goals, celebrate our efforts and discipline, and generally feel joy. Or, we can choose to see everything that is going wrong or could be better and feel frustration, anger and resentment. When we focus on the positive we feel happy hormones, and the release of these reward chemicals send us physiological messages to do more of what we are doing, so we will see and feel more of the good. When we focus on the bad we release stress hormones, and this cortisol puts us into fight or flight mode in which we are on the lookout for threats. It also creates inflammation in our body, slowing weight loss progress and creating chronic illness in the body. Whether we choose to look at the allegorical sun or the clouds is indeed our choice, and so the results are within our control.
Humans are by nature somewhat pessimistic. This ability to evaluate risk enabled us to be evolutionarily successful, but it can also be our personal downfall. If we have a scarcity mindset we constantly feel threatened, that we will not have enough of what we want, and we will end up missing out on the good stuff in life because it is not our destiny. When we live in this mindset we often seek immediate gratification and have trouble with self discipline, because we feel we need to get what we can before it’s too late. This creates a reality of not having enough of what we want.
If this sounds familiar, start actively becoming more optimistic. You may not be able to control the number you see on the scale today, but you can decide what it means to you. You cannot immediately wake up feeling more rested, but the choices you make during the day can determine if the next night is more restful. If you find yourself getting frustrated and stressed about something you cannot control, take a deep breath and remind yourself: “I may not be able to control this situation, but I can decide to find some sunshine in it.” Then find the opportunities the situation has given you.
Do you now have a better understanding of how to cultivate an abundance mindset and let go of what’s been holding you back from your health goals? Get ready to have the healthiest year of your life, start now!