Truth is, life is tough. And sh*t happens. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do about it. Well, almost… While we can’t control a lot of elements in our lives, we can control our thoughts about the things that happen to us and habits which end up shaping your lives.
We become what we think about | Earl Nightingale
So take this spring as an opportunity to clear your mind and release any negative thoughts or feelings you’ve been carrying around. Also, let go of some of those nasty habits you’ve been meaning to and pick up some fresh, better ones. I know, easier said than done but with these 3 effective ways to spring clean your mind, it might be a little easier…
We all carry some kind of negative thoughts or resentment from the past. We like to hold on to it because in a way, being the victim of situations or circumstances is comforting and most of all – easy.
I’m sure your parents did something wrong to you at some point or this guy mistreated you years ago and that’s why you can’t have a normal relationship now, right? See- it’s easy.
But we all know that holding on to these feeling is holding you from moving forward and also actually bad for your health. Once we hold on to a certain thought it becomes part of our “story” –the one we tell others and especially to ourselves to justify your actions and choices.
Letting go of this “story” is basically reassigning a different meaning to the same events. Yeah, that guy might have cheated on you or your high-school teacher said nothing will come out of you – the events stay the same but you can assign a positive spin to them. Just replace the story you tell yourself in your mind.
First of all, acknowledge all that sh*t your “complaining” about did happen and it sucks. Feel it, embrace it, and accept it happened before you can move on. Cry it out, scream it out, Netflix it out. Do whatever you need– just allow yourself to feel this pain (this is the time you can even feel a little sorry for yourself…).
Nonetheless, when we let ourselves go down the rabbit hole of strong emotions we sometimes don’t see the light from where we are. So, every time you notice a strong emotion, don’t resist it (we don’t want to repress our emotion) just replace it with facts. When you think, “I’ll never feel loved again!”, try moving on to another thought, like “I made some delicious pasta today”. Sounds ridiculous but it actually works – try it out.
Now that you’re done (bowl of pasta and a tub of ice cream later…) start claiming back ownership of your story. As I said – it’s so easy blaming everyone else around us for our problems and not to take any responsibility.
So yes, the economy sucks, and the government and your parents might suck too sometimes and don’t get me started with man…. But! We also need to take responsibly for our part of things.
Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die |Buddha
A great technique though by the inspiring Mark Mason (I’ve recommended his book here and if you haven’t read it, you definitely should). Mark explains how a language is a powerful tool. Dis-identifying from our emotions and thoughts implies that our emotions are temporary states and not permanent conditions, and it forces us to take responsibility for them. They’re nobody’s fault, they just are.
Whenever you feel strong emotion or thought, dis-identify with it and then take possession of it.“My boss is not an idiot. But I am having the thought that my boss is an idiot.“I don’t hate my ex-girlfriend. I am feeling hatred toward my ex-girlfriend.“I am not lonely and depressed. I am feeling loneliness and depression.” It makes a big difference!
Any experience is in itself neutral but it is our emotions surrounding the experience that determines its impact on us. Yes, we can wallow in our sorry and keep asking “why did this happen to me?” OR we can ask ourselves “what is it going to teach me?” and “How can I grow from this?”
To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you who you are. According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, swapping the voice in your head with a cartoon voice will help take back power from the troubling thought.
For example, take something that’s been bothering you recently and say it in a single sentence, such as, “I feel afraid of quitting my job” Or “I feel irritated with my boyfriend”. Now close your eyes and imagine Bugs Bunny saying it while chewing a carrot. Make the thought sound absolutely ridiculous in your mind.
We are all creatures of habit. When you examine your daily routine, you’ll find that most of what you do, say and think on a daily basis is habitual. Those little things we do without having to think about them they are those that end up determining our lives.
So in the past decades, all major “self-help” professional said, “It takes 21 days to form a new habit”. But actually, research shows that on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. So don’t give up on biting your nails quite yet. Stick it through.
We are all guilty in having some kind of bad habits – our eating or sleeping habits, drinking too much, smoking or on the contrary, we all have a habit we always want to have but never thought we could. Ever said to yourself you wished you were one of those people that wake up at 5 am to work out???
This is a great time to lose some bad habits and add some good ones to your routine in order to make your day and your mind clearer and more positive. I’m not telling you to change your whole life at once, just start small – think about one thing you want to focus on changing or adding to your life and start with that.
I’m a big believer in morning routines as I believe your morning set the tone for the rest of the day. My personal morning routine includes waking up after a good night’s sleep, of course, stretching a bit, making my bed, expressing gratitude and meditating for 10 minutes. I also exercising 3 times a week in the mornings because it decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, chemicals that improve your state of mind for the rest of your day.
Check out this for further information: Ultimate morning ritual that will immediately improve your day, 15 easy ways to become a morning person
Your surroundings –environment, the things you watch and read, the people you hang out with – all affect your mind. Or as my man, Gandhi would say: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
First of all, Evaluate where, and with whom, you’re spending your time. Take the time to examine who are the people in your life – are they bringing you joy? Are they supporting your life and dreams? Or are they always criticizing you and bringing you down?
If you answered the latter it might be time to let go of some of your friends and family members. I know it sounds a little harsh but it doesn’t have to come with a lot of drama or big announcements – some people you need to see a little less or maybe you can still hang out with but you don’t have to share all your big dreams with. And some relationships – the ones that are toxic, draining, or the ones don’t serve you anymore – just let them go.
The second step is to evaluate how you spend your time. Try making a list of all the things that truly make you happy, and then make a list of how you spend most of your time. Compare the two, and you’ll realize whether you’re on the right track. Give yourself permission to make adjustments with your time – do you need to watch less TV? Or pursue a new passion?
Lastly, think about the media you consume. Are you watching too much negative news? Are you following toxic people online? I personally stopped watching the news about two years ago and no, I’m not oblivious to what’s going around me but I consume the news on my own terms.
I turned off all the popup notifications of the news app because I don’t need to know about EVERY car accident or disaster around the world at any given moment- trust me, if something important happens you’ll know.
Also, I don’t watch violent TV or movies anymore. Especially before bedtime – I know that might sound a little juvenile but you can’t believe the effects of what you watch has on your night’s sleep and I like mine – clam and peaceful.
And last but not least, I un-followed and un-friended any negative/toxic/poisonous people online and started following positive people who bring me joy and inspire me when I look down at my screen. The average person spends around 1.5 hours on social media a day – might as well get some positivity out of it, right?
I want to send you off with one of my favorite quotes of Louise Hay: “No person, place, or thing has any power over me, for I am the only thinker in my mind. I create my own reality and everyone in it.”
When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives. Don’t let your surroundings create what’s in your mind at any moment- do it the other way around. Let go of negative thoughts, emotions, and people and don’t waste energy worrying about the things you can’t change or control.
Would love to hear what you think- are you spending time consciously clearing your mind from negativity? Would love for you to share how you do that in the comments below!