They say that practice makes perfect, and it has never been more true when it comes to cultivating better thinking! What if I told you that with regular mindful practice, you can reduce your stress levels, increase your happiness, focus, and positivity, improve your health, sex life, strength, and will power, in 10 minutes per day, without working out? That’s right, 10 minutes. Surely that’s enough to at least finish reading this article?
Fight or Flight- It’s an Over Practiced Reaction
There’s plenty of information available about creating new habits and changing behaviors. Most of them will give you a step by step guide that you’ll never stick to, and wonder why nothing in your life has changed. Do you want to know why?
While it generally takes 8 weeks to form a new habit, we’ve been forming (and practicing) bad habits our entire lives. How easy is it to turn on the TV instead of going for a walk? Or eat the rest of that Christmas pudding, and tell yourself you’ll work it off ‘tomorrow?’
Let’s face it. No one likes to be told what to do. And frankly, we all think we’re doing ‘the best we can.’ But without realizing it, this is a limiting belief in and of itself. The more we say it, the more entrenched it becomes. In doing so, we are reinforcing negative behaviors and thought patterns, which only makes them even more impossible to retract.
Biologically, we are programmed to take the path of least resistance.
Remember the classic lesson about our ‘fight or flight’ response? For most of us, the option is always flight. You could go for a walk around the block, and of course, you know all the amazing benefits it will provide your mind and body. But it might cause you a little physical stress, and the easy option is to sit on the couch and order in, which is the option most people will take.
For all the power of positivity and information that is available to us, every time we make a choice, be it positive or negative, we are reinforcing those behaviors. So every time you choose the couch, you are one step further away from choosing the walk. This is true of all facets of our lives, work, money, relationships, but let’s start with the things we can easily affect change in- our mental ‘blueprint.’
It’s Time to Redesign the Blueprint
In the same way that we have blueprints for buildings or ‘plans’ for our financials, we have also cultivated our own belief systems when it comes to our health and the things that are important to us. Just like building designs, however, they can be changed. Yes, it’s a lot of finicky work, and of course, it isn’t easy to make real, lasting change. After all, you’re trying to change years, and potentially decades of bad habits and thought patterns.
BUT, If your health means more to you than your excuses, and if getting out of bed with a smile, or having the energy to keep up with your kids is more important than checking how many likes you have on Instagram, you can practice the skills it takes to affect that change. You have to. Nobody else can do it for you.
In the same way that working out helps us to build physical strength, we can flex and work our mental muscles of resilience, positive choice-making, and positive self-talk! By practicing these skills we reinforce beneficial behaviors and continue to make choices that are in our best interests. Eventually, these thoughts and actions become new, positive habits in our lives.
The Mind Follows the Body, the Body Follows the Mind
The word ‘health’ gets thrown around a lot, and for most people, they think it means hours in the gym to try and get that KK booty. But real health, the kind that actually improves our lives, begins with our internal dialogue, or self-talk. Before you can make any changes in your life you need to understand one thing- we talk to ourselves A LOT. More than 70% of the conversations you have in life are with that little voice upstairs. So first things first- you have to get that right.
To improve on your self-talk, practice by talking to others more positively! It’s a simple game, heck even smiling as you walk past someone in the street can be enough to lift your mood, and allow you to more fully engage in your choices. With simple physical gestures like this, you can improve your mental game. Being proud of yourself is incredibly rewarding- and in turn, you’ll continue this positive feedback loop!
Second, remember that we are all human, and we are all here to learn. But to that effect we ask- when was the last time you did something new, for you? When was the last time you left your bubble, or ‘comfort zone’ as it is often called, and tried something different?
What are you missing out on, by not taking that chance?
Practicing your self awareness isn’t all yoga and meditation. If you want to improve your mental clarity, self-talk, and ultimately self-love, you have to push your own boundaries. You have to chase that feeling of achievement, and the satisfaction that comes from the journey. In doing so you help your mind and your body to practice and form new patterns and behaviors. It’s about making a choice- any choice- for you!
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Like all things in life, these changes won’t come quickly or easily. They are skills and lessons to be practiced– yes, that means more than once- and in doing so you will slowly build up a new skill set and tolerance to uncomfortable situations.
We did, however, promise that you could improve a wide range of things in your life in just 10 minutes per day, and it all begins with the breath.
Sure, you’ve heard of meditation. You know it makes you focus on breathing, and the health benefits are shouted from rooftops the world over, but what many practitioners fail to explain is the how.
We have been breathing since we escaped the womb. It’s the first thing we know how to do, and we don’t even control it. But meditation takes something that is unconscious and requires us to pay attention to it. To be conscious of it. Sounds pretty similar to what we’re trying to achieve in practicing and creating new habits, right? To become aware of our choices, and consciously make better ones, for ourselves?
Yes, focusing on the breath can help to quiet the mind. But the true power in a meditative practice is the flexing of these mental muscles. To bring your awareness and your focus back to an unconscious action, and then to take action. In as little as 10 minutes per day, meditating can help to build this resilience, reduce our blood pressure, improve positivity and build the skills it takes to make better choices for the rest of your life!
That doesn’t mean you need to light incense and sit in horribly uncomfortable positions- you are not a monk. But if you can’t take 10 minutes- literally 0.007% of your day– to make time for yourself, to sit and just breath, how can you expect to change anything else?
Like learning to walk, or ride a bike, learning to meditate takes practice!
Ready to Cultivate Better Thinking, and Practice Better Habits?
At TurnFit we can help you to get started on this journey and affect positive changes in your life- from the comfort of your own lounge room. With a range of easy to understand online courses and a team that will always go above and beyond to make sure you are comfortable, we can help you to kickstart your health and wellness goals, and maintain them for the rest of your life.
To get started, or for more information simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work on building these skills, together.