Why is mindset important and how we can improve it!

Why is mindset important and how we can improve it!

Mindset is important to our well-being as it determines how we perceive every situation and influences how we respond. This response is habitual and developed an early age from our caregivers beliefs and values. For example, if a caregiver said things such as, “you are lazy” when you didn’t tidy your room up or had a lie-in, you may find it more difficult to sit comfortably with having time to relax, as you will internalise this narrative and may see this as meaning, “I am good when I am busy.” We can see from this example, how this could have an impact on how we allow ourselves to incorporate self-care into our daily practice, potentially seeing this as self-indulgent, but also how it could lead to a critical mindset and activate our fight or flight nervous system. When this occurs biologically, it would result in us producing the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, leading us to feel more tense and not enjoying things as much as we would like. We all have our own narratives that we have learnt from our early years without evening knowing we are doing it. These narratives develop a lens that we see ourselves, others, and the world through in every situation we encounter and influence how we feel about ourselves as people and our mindset in situations we face.

It is interesting that we are all aware that for good physical health, we need to work at this. We would not expect to get up one morning and be able to run a marathon, but would set up a training program and work hard to get to our ultimate level of fitness and strength to be able to meet this goal. However, we may not always invest the same amount of time and effort into our mindset, believing that we can push through, distract, or avoid what is going through our mind as we don’t have the time. However, not looking after our mindset can impact relationships, work, parenting, friendships and how we feel about ourselves, so it is important that we give ourselves permission to set up some form of routine that works for us. After all, we are a product of our daily habits, routines, and behaviours, so we want this to support us to live our ultimate best!

Recognising that we can improve aspects of our lives, known as growth mindset, has been found to be a positive predictor of improving wellbeing (Dweck, 1998). Holding a growth mindset can help us to see our capacity to make positive change and that we are in the driving seat, not a passenger, of how we live our lives. This can motivate us to invest time and effort in strategies that can improve these areas of life and can also act as a buffer to stress and challenges that may arise as we feel we can influence the outcome of these.

So, the big question is how do we shift to a more positive mindset???

Visualise you at your best

Developing a morning routine that instils a positive mindset will influence how you feel for the rest of the day. Visualisation of what you would like to achieve in the future in as much detail as possible, can help you connect with what is important to you. Your mind is not able to determine between reality and what you imagine, so this can enable you to feel positive before you even leave your house!

Exercise to release those endorphins

Exercise is a fantastic way to lift your mood through the release of endorphins and dopamine, the brains reward system. Achieving goals that you set yourself can also help you feel energised and that you are accomplishing new things.

Watch your self-talk

The way we talk to ourselves, and others can have an impact on how we feel and behave. Trying to focus on what you have achieved and what has gone well at the end of each day can help you to notice positive aspects of your day. Doing this regularly can help your mind to automatically pick up on your achievements.

Spend time with people that have a positive outlook

Surrounding yourself with people that uplift you can really enhance your mood. Our energy and how we feel is influenced by the people we have around us. We all recognise that being around people who have a gloomy outlook on life can rub off on us and make us feel less upbeat. Becoming aware of who you spend time with and what you talk about can make a big difference to your wellbeing. After-all, who doesn’t want to spend time with people who lift your energy and spirits and make you smile.

Stay focussed on the present

Focusing attentively on whatever you are doing in the present moment can really enhance any experience you have. We can be in the most beautiful setting or with the most amazing people, but if we are taken away by our internal chatter, we can lose a big part of living this experience. Trying to stay mindful and bringing our mind back to the present moment if it starts to stray, can really enhance greater connection, enjoyment, and gratitude for each moment.

Incorporating some of these strategies into your daily routine, will help you to train your brain to start seeing more of the positive things that are going on in your life and will help you achieve whatever you set your mind to with more ease. Having a positive mindset has also been associated with a longer life span and reduce levels of anxiety and depression….. so what are you waiting for….. it’s a win win!!!

Connecting with the awesomeness of the world through nature, connecting with loved ones and checking in with yourself and your values can help re-orientate you to this within yourself at this challenging time. With love x

This article was written by Dr Sarah Berger, Senior Clinical Psychologist, co-owner of Stressed Out to Feeling Fabulous & long standing member of the Running Woman community

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