How to celebrate a summer of self-love – part five

Do you paralyse your mind with negative thoughts and manic to-do lists? Learn how to love your brain and choose how you think, feel and act – to get the life you really want.

Last week we explained why you need to take better care of your body if you want to really experience self-love, and revealed six basic rules for doing so. Now, Katie Phillips from Daring & Mighty explains why you need to extend your self-care routine to your mind too.

Are you abusing your amazing mind?

You have an amazing mind, but how often do you appreciate it or use it properly? Too often we abuse our mind with negative habits such as frustration, judgement, criticism, stress, doubt and confusion. Or we fill our heads with noise and to-do lists to the point where we don’t know whether we are coming or going.

As a result we become stressed, over-wrought and feel like we can’t string a coherent thought together. We can even start succumbing to headaches and stress migraines.

Negative thoughts become uncomfortably comfortable

Our negative thoughts make us feel like we’re maybe not that nice a person, or not worthy of the things we want, and we become annoyed that our brains can’t contain all the information we think they ought to manage.

These thought patterns become so familiar (and even comfortable in their familiarity) that they are our norm. And any other type of thought pattern – positivity, optimism, serenity – feels odd and ‘wrong’. So unusual in fact that we are uncomfortable when good things and thoughts come into our lives, and unconsciously think and act our way back to our comfortable discomfort.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I have a strategy from taking you out of your discomfort zone and teach you more positive mind habits.

Used well, your incredible mind can become your source of joy, delight and peace. It has the power to guide your life anywhere you desire it to go; nurture and understand your thoughts and the world is your oyster! And more importantly than that, on the most basic level when you love and care properly for your mind you achieve good mental health.

Choose how you think and feel

So how do you do it? Caring for your body seems relatively easy – we’re bombarded with information that tells us to eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise. But how often do you learn about good mental habits? They’re just as important but all too often we’re ignorant as to what they are – or dismiss them as being less important.

It starts with choice. Believe it or not, you can choose how you feel by choosing what you focus your mind on; rather than directing its attention to the things you don’t have or the negative things others do, instead choose notice what’s great in your life.

Here are some choices that can help you to start new, healthier mind habits:

  • Choose to accept yourself with compassion and understanding.
  • Choose to stop being so hard on yourself.
  • Choose to stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Choose positive words and be kind to yourself with your choice of language.
  • Commit to only think and listen to positive inner talk.
  • Choose to recognise and learn to stop negative thought patterns.
  • Choose to not judge or criticise others.
  • Choose to be positive and forgiving with others.
  • Choose to give your mind space and freedom and not cram it with lists.
  • Choose to dream of the wonderful things you want to bring into your life.

This list is just the start! Why not make one of your own? Feel free to take some of my choices if you wish, and add your own. Decide how you want to think and feel and actively make a list to remind you to choose to be that way.

Forgive yourself

Forgiveness is a big part of changing the way you think and feel. You can’t move forward with positive habits if you are still carrying resentment or guilt. So forgive your mind for thoughts and beliefs that have held you back, limited you or damaged and hurt you or others.

Let go of thoughts like ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am not loveable’, ‘I can’t trust others’ or ‘I am damaged’ and forgive yourself for thinking and believing them. Only when you consciously accept the danger of those thoughts and release them can you begin healing and replace them with thoughts and feelings you choose.

From now on, choose love-based beliefs that will guide your life in the direction you truly desire. And remember that you are not a victim to your programming – you can re-parent your mind and change the way you think (and as a result feel and act).

With self compassion and kindness you can allow your new thoughts to build strength and momentum. And in time, you will be an unstoppable, positive force!

Some more healthy mind habits to practice!

The more you consciously take care of your mind, the more peace you will experience. To help you, here are some more healthy mind habits you can easily practice:

  • Exercise your mind with a crossword puzzle.
  • Relax your mind with meditation or yoga.
  • Write your to-do lists down rather than store them in your head
  • Study something new.
  • Take a walk and let your mind wander.
  • Lose yourself in music.
  • Turn off the news.

You see, it’s not hard stuff. It’s simple and obvious and just takes commitment. If you desire to love yourself, then give your mind a break!

Katie Phillips is the founder of Daring & Mighty, an organisation committed to sharing the importance of having a healthy, loving and conscious relationship with yourself.