This is part two on tools to help you create and keep a positive mindset – more important than ever in these crazy, uncertain times. In the last article I covered exercise, gratitude, and meditation. In this article I’ll share three more tools for your positive mindset toolbox:
4. Journaling. As with meditation, this is a practice I have known the benefits of for a long time, but have not done consistently until recently. Journaling is the first thing I do in the morning when I wake up. It doesn’t take long – 5-10 minutes at most. I just write what comes into my head. Could be how I’m feeling at the moment. Could be something that happened yesterday. Could be something I’m thinking about, or a problem I’m working through. The main benefits of the practice I have noticed so far are 1) increased mindfulness, that is, of noticing things and how I’m feeling; 2) a decluttering of the mind, in the sense that once a thought is on paper, it seems to take up less space in my mind, opening it up for other things; 3) more positivity, as I tend to add in some positive affirmations or self-talk or intentions for the day (for example, set an intention for happiness for the day); and 4) the act of writing gets the creative process started for me for the day, and since I’m creating a fair bit of content these days, that is important for me. Which leads me to the next mindset tool…
5. Creativity. Flexing your creativity muscles is a great mindset enhancer. Because most of us in the business world are left brainers who spend our days knee deep in information, analysis, numbers, logic, decision-making, etc., it’s helpful to give the left brain a break by doing something creative every day. Art, music, cooking, gardening, woodworking, poetry…whatever it is for you, the process of creating something just feels good, and if you’re really immersed in it, you give your mind a break from all the other stuff going on in your life. For me, picking up the guitar and just playing (or more accurately, trying to play) whatever song comes to mind allows me to tune out and think of nothing but the music, and what my fingers need to do to create something worth listening to. It usually ends with a family member interrupting me to do something else, but until that happens that creativity time really helps my mindset.
6. Connection. We are social creatures. Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we need relationships. We need connection. It’s not a want – it’s a fundamental human need. And current circumstances have made connection much harder. But thankfully we have the technology that can make up at least partially for the lack of person to person social connection that makes life so much better. So while at first hanging out on Zoom, or Face Time, or Skype, or House Party, or whatever, seemed gimmicky (virtual happy hours…really?), I’ve come to see these online gatherings as vital for our mindset until we are all allowed to come out of hiding.
So there you have it—6 tools to help your mindset during this challenging time and beyond. Notice that each one requires action – they are not passive tools – but none of them are hard to do. You just need to plan for them and make it happen. If you don’t have a consistent practice using these tools I encourage you to try out one or two or three and notice how your mindset improves as a result.