Mindful Thinking Over Positive Thinking
by Lauren Mead
Photo by M. Dolly
Mind over matter. Easy enough to say. Over Thanksgiving I was visiting family in Tucson, Ariz., and agreed to go on an afternoon hike unaware about what I was getting into. Although I'm an active person, I wasn't mentally prepared for more than 10 miles of hiking on Mount Wrightson with an elevation change of more than 4,000 feet up to 9,453 feet. As we ascended the summit, every step felt like a battle with my cardio and endurance. Conquering each switchback was never-ending. "It's mind over matter," my friend kept telling me, and it was. At the summit the glorious, expansive views eliminated any painful or tiresome feeling. Then there was the descent. Mind over matter...
You don't need to climb a mountain to embrace the power of mantras, self-talk and mindful thinking. To observe your thoughts and make conscious decisions about what to think or how to react to yourself can be applied to a physical, mental or emotional challenge. Most of the time, my intention isn't even to think positively, but to dismiss negative thinking and reach a state of neutrality, which is just as powerful. You're in control of your thoughts. Your thoughts become your reality. Shape your reality by controlling your thoughts and telling your mind who's boss.
Managing your mind is the process of observing your thoughts and deciding how to interpret all that traffic. Spiritual counselor and life mentor Chloe Park explains on Mind Body Green that "you are not your mind." Mind management includes shedding the negative banter and retaining the positives. Park says that "humans have about 65,000 thoughts a day," which means you're in the driver's seat to navigate through those thoughts and choose which are clutter to discard and which are empowering enough to stay. Evaluate your inner monologue. Is your personal dialogue providing you with happiness and making you a better person? If your thoughts are trapping you from your potential, then don't be afraid to give yourself the freedom to dictate your subconscious.
Social media is an excellent resource for making connections with positive influences for positive thinking, like the pages of Ed Young
of Fellowship Church or Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' in the Moment on Facebook. Whenever your read through your Facebook newsfeed, you can internalize inspirational and positive posts such as Pastor Young's enthusiastic approach to simple living and David Romanelli's commitment to promoting in-the-moment living.
Mantras & Remedial Self-Talk
Mantras are also powerful tools. Mind over matter, just do it and get comfortable with the uncomfortable are my top three incantations that help during times of survival mode. As a supplement to mantras (and even backup mantras), engage in self-talk with thought replacements. Succumbing to thoughts of self-loathing or feelings of insecurity can engulf your mind and subsequently your life. Although it may be easier to believe the worst and be consumed by negativity, mental peace and meditation will help you have what you desire and make your dreams a reality — if happiness is what you choose. It's a matter of acknowledging that you're having an uncomfortable emotion (stress, jealousy, insecurity, intimidation), and then actively choosing to eliminate that mental toxicity because you simply want a healthy and happy mindset