This post is part of Just Love Yourself Month, an exciting new addition to the Positively Present! This month of self-love is inspired by my new workbook, Loving Your Self, which was designed to empower and inspire self-love. Learn more (and pick up your copy!) here.
One of the topics I discuss in detail in my Loving Your Self workbook is how to love your mind. The thoughts you have create the life you live so it's important to direct thoughts to a positive, productive place. Learning to create a loving mindset (and loving your mind even when it isn't so positive) is an essential aspect of self-love. How you think — and speak — about yourself is vital to creating a love of who you are. Positive thoughts and words impact your mental, physical, and emotional health in a big way. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this: “If you realized how important your thoughts are, you’d never think another negative thought.” What you think about shapes your world and, in particular, it shapes who you are.
Your mind is the most powerful weapon you have when it comes to the battle of self-love. If used properly, it can be a tool for fighting off negativity and keeping self-depreciation at bay. Use it wisely and it can transform the way you see yourself — and the way you see the world. Your mind is always with you (hopefully!), and because of that, you always have the power to choose self-loving, kind thoughts.
Choosing a positive mindset can be a challenge, which is why I've rounded up some of the best ideas for loving your mind.
KNOW WHAT TRIGGERS NEGATIVITY.
Being aware of what triggers negative or unloving thoughts won’t remove the thoughts, but having awareness of people, places, or situations that invoke negative thinking gives you a chance to challenge the thoughts with positivity. Knowing what triggers negative or self-deprecating thoughts also gives you an opportunity to avoid these people, situations, or environments. The more you're able to be aware of and address negative thoughts, the more power you'll have over your mind. And the more in control you feel when it comes to your mental state, the easier it is to love and accept your mind.
BE AWARE OF THE WORDS "I AM."
With the words “I am,” you define yourself to the world. Those two little words have a big impact when you state them (both to yourself and to others). They are concrete and, when used honestly, a valuable definition of who you are. Become aware of what you say (or think) you are. The thoughts you have about how you define yourself have a major impact on how you think, feel, and interact. When you pay attention to what you think you are, you'll either realize that you're not, in fact, those things or you'll confirm that you are absolutely able to say "I am [fill in the blank." Either way, the awareness helps you create a deeper acceptance of your thoughts and your self.
STAY IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.
So much of the negativity and stress in our minds comes from worrying about what has happened or fretting about what could be. Create a more peaceful place for your thoughts by doing your best to stay in the moment. Remember this: the past is over and the future is fiction. The more you remind yourself of this, the more likely you'll be to stay in the moment. You'll realize that what matters most is what's happening right now and that's the stuff that deserves your mind's attention. Whenever you find your mind in a place that you don't want it to be, bring it back to the now and see if you can ground it in the present.
PLAY SOME MIND GAMES.
The mind is one of your most important tools and, like any tool, it needs to be cared for. You can do your best to keep your mind in a positive place, but that's not going to do much good if your mind isn't in good shape. Exercise your mind the way you would your body by trying new things, playing thought-provoking games (go old school with things like Scrabble or check out some popular apps like Lumosity). The important thing is to get your mind thinking in new ways, challenging it a little bit. The more your stretch your brain muscles, the stronger your mind will get.
FIND + USE POSITIVE RESOURCES.
Think, for a moment, about the things you read and watch and listen to. Are these things (the books, the magazines, the shows, the radio stations and podcasts) positively impacting your mind and helping it to grow and learn? There's nothing wrong with binge-watching a trashy reality TV show now and then, but it's important to pay attention to what you're feeding your mind. Are you giving it nutritious content that will help it flourish? Or are you feeding it only junk food? One of the best things you can do is feed your mind healthy, positive content. Read inspiring books, pick up a motivating magazine (see below for how you can win a subscription to a great one!), watch a fascinating documentary. Do what you can to provide your mind with positive resources!