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Developing a Strong Mindset in Uncertain Times

Posted by on January 20, 2021 in Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments

Ask anybody who has had their fair share of trials and tribulations during the last twelve months will tell you that they are struggling. But if we are to look with a glass half full mentality, it is far better for everybody to realize that we've developed a strong mindset. Developing a strong mindset is, much like when we go to the gym, about having a consistent routine. But it's also about recognizing that when we break down our faculties and appeared overwhelmed with stress, we can bounce back and become more resilient. But what does it take to develop a strong mindset, not just so we can navigate the remainder of the pandemic, but so it can benefit us for the rest of our lives?

The Benefits of Being Prepared

When we encounter something that we feel there is no control over, this is when our minds will start to overreact, and picture the worst-case scenarios. We always need to prepare, especially when it comes to unforeseen circumstances. Look at the best doctors and minds that are forever under daily pressures. Even sports people will use visualization as a way to prepare and prime themselves for what is about to happen. And you can do the same thing. And this is where you need to look at your own worries and insecurities and see what you can do to control these concerns.

Sometimes, it depends on where you live, and there will very likely be external circumstances, such as natural or man-made disasters. And, in terms of disaster preparedness, there is always a manual to help you navigate certain issues. It's about expanding that self-help manual to accommodate the problems you believe you need to prepare for. You may ask yourself, “how can I even prepare for something that is unforeseen?” The fact of the matter is that, while we are not able to tell the future, we can still prepare our mindset. And we can do this, either by visualization, incorporating a strong morning routine, but also becoming acutely aware of our daily lives. When we start to recognize patterns in our day, we will become more aware of the challenges we face. Therefore, we can prepare. Many people believe that you either have the skills to face up to the unknown, or you just don't. The secret is in preparing your mental state.

Being Aware of Your Thoughts

When we encounter times of struggle, we need to build awareness of our individual thoughts. Everybody has experienced their brain going into overdrive, especially during times of struggle. And it's important to remember that our brains were built to get us out of danger. There are so many things in our brains and bodies that are there as a result of evolution. These can include things like the fight-or-flight sensation. When we experience stress, our bodies are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol, a stress hormone designed to give us the energy we need to escape a situation.

When we are continually in a scenario where we are struggling, we will fall into the trap of focusing on worst-case scenarios. The problem with this is that when we are constantly in this frame of mind, the stress and anxiety cuts off access to the logical part of our brain. Therefore, we are stuck in a never-ending cycle of negativity, which can manifest itself in other ways, such as being overly critical of ourselves. Think of it as kicking yourself when you are down. But by being aware of these thoughts and recognizing when they are not helpful is a good start. It gives you the opportunity to put yourself back into the driving seat. When you experience a stressful situation, your thoughts can go to beating yourself up in an emotional sense. It takes some time to overcome, that being aware of these thoughts is the first step.

Becoming Aware of Your Beliefs, and Changing Them

If you are someone who is perceived as a glass half empty type of person, you will gradually begin to embody this in every area of your life. If you have the belief that you are not able to cope with the situation, that is exactly how you will manifest your thoughts during stressful situations. Learning to become aware of your beliefs, and then changing them, is a fundamental tenet of something like cognitive behavioral therapy, where you alter your attitude to a situation. Because the situation cannot be changed, you have to change your attitude to the situation. Building the belief that you are strong and are able to get through this, you become acutely aware of your resources, and the fact that you can get through something.

Because you have specific beliefs in how you can handle the situation, now is the opportunity to add to your mental resources. If you believe you cannot do something, your brain manifests this. The brain, on a basic functional level, is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. This is why something like visualization is very popular with sports stars and those that face extreme crises of confidence. And it is something that you can do as well.

The Importance of Practice and Feeding Your Mindset

Partly, this goes back to being prepared. Practicing your ability to have a strong mindset is about training your brain. You can gradually take yourself out of your comfort zone, and what you do in a controlled manner gives you the mild stimulus of stress, but also the opportunity to recover. After all, as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But it's also about being aware of what you allow into your consciousness. Take what is going on right now. We may find ourselves glued to the news. And when we are looking to keep ahead of the curve, especially in such a changing world, we invariably fill our brains with horror stories. Everybody is now being exposed to so much more death and destruction than ever, but that's not to say you should not watch the news. It is about being aware of when it is too much for you. Giving yourself control over what you feed your brain is crucial.

We choose what information we want to consume. And now is the opportunity to decide on the information that will feed your brain and improve your mindset. Developing a strong mindset takes time, but much like what you put into your body, the same thing applies to your brain. Feed yourself the right things, and you will be stronger as a result. This is where incorporating practices can help your mindset. Something like mindfulness is a very common example, even before the pandemic hit. We all lived stressful existences and found that it was all too much on occasion. Now, you throw into the mix and the one thing you really have control over is learning to calm down in your home environment or somewhere that comforts you. The benefits of mindfulness have long been explained in other resources, but when you start to think of your brain and your mindset as a product of what you feed it, you now have the control and the ability to give it what it really needs.

Look After Yourself

We will all hit those moments where it all becomes too much. And if you start to feel like this, the reason is very likely, down to the fact that you are not looking after yourself properly. When we look to develop a stronger mindset during difficult times, we can believe that the tougher the situation, the better we will be for it. Yes, it is true to an extent. But if you do not give yourself permission to rest, heal, and recover, you will not benefit from strengthening yourself. Much like any athlete needs to rest their body in order to build up stronger and healthier, the same applies to us.

A strong mindset is not about constantly bombarding it with anxiety and stress in the hope that it adapts, it's very much like they do in the army, breaking the tissue down, and building it back up in the right way. And you need to do the same. Looking after yourself, especially when you've been focused on looking after other people, is about recognizing when you need to step away. A strong mindset is about looking after yourself as well as you would look after someone else. And when you are trying to develop a stronger mindset because you believe you are weak, or you think you would benefit from it, it's important to step back and realize when you need to tend to yourself with kid gloves.

A strong mindset is to do with the attitudes and emotions you have, recognizing that they are part of a functional component of your brain but also realizing that there are times when we have all experienced too much in the world.

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