healthy mindset

How to Develop & Practice a Healthy Mindset

Your dominant thoughts ― or beliefs ― culminate into your mood, attitude, and behavior. In a nutshell, you are what you constantly think about.

This is good news because you can change your life by changing your beliefs.

By developing a healthy mindset, your mood will improve, you’ll have a better attitude, and you will behave in ways that align with your goals.

But what is a mindset to begin with?

A mindset is the beliefs that shape how you perceive yourself and the world around you. You need a healthy mindset ― a healthy set of beliefs ― to develop a more positive outlook on life.

If you’ve always struggled with negative attitudes and unhelpful behavior, this article will help you create the positive shift you desire.

By consistently practicing the 8 life-changing habits in this article, you will reprogram your beliefs about yourself and develop a healthy mindset.

1. Love Yourself Unconditionally

happy woman with a broad smile

The first step to developing a healthy mindset is to love and accept yourself as you are. Am I suggesting you embrace your imperfections? Absolutely!

Your mistakes, faults, and shortcomings, combined with all your strengths, make you the unique individual you are. Never deny your authentic self.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to improve what needs improving, but it means loving yourself enough not to criticize or judge yourself harshly for your imperfections (real or perceived).

Here are two simple but effective exercises I recommend doing consistently to help you fall in love with yourself:

Self-Appreciation

  • Stand in front of your mirror and look intently at the image staring back at you.
  • Tell yourself how amazing you are to have come this far.
  • Appreciate your body, whether or not you have the physique or physical features you want. Remember that you can improve your build without criticizing your current looks.

Self-Compassion

  • Each time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself (out loud or in your thoughts), stop and identify three amazing things about yourself.
  • It doesn’t matter how often you’ve said the same three good things about yourself; the goal is to speak compassionately about yourself. The more times you repeat the same thoughts, the easier it is for your mind to accept them as truth.

2. Believe In Yourself

Practice a Healthy Mindset 4

You can’t be successful in anything without a firm belief in yourself and in your capability to succeed. Unfortunately, many of us think we are not good enough or unworthy of success because of our circumstances.

You are worthy because you exist, simple!

Your worthiness is not based on any other factor ― you may have hit rock bottom in your finances, career, health, or other areas of life, but that doesn’t take away from your worthiness.

Think of a crumpled, torn dollar bill for a minute.

The bill is still worth a dollar no matter its physical condition ― its value isn’t diminished just because it has been in the trash, trampled upon, or mutilated in any other way. 

Nothing you’ve been through can ever reduce your worth!

Once you understand this, you will start to see yourself differently and believe more in yourself.

With this healthy mindset, you can become successful in whatever way you define success. When challenges come your way ― because they will most certainly show up sooner or later― you won’t throw in the towel because you believe in your capability to become successful.

Sometimes, a door will slam shut in your face, and that’s okay. If you believe in yourself, you will never give up on your goals and dreams because you know that another door will definitely open up pretty soon.

3. Slow Down

woman with headphones relaxing on a couch

Many people wear “busyness” as a badge because they assume it’s a surefire way to become successful.

But you probably already know from personal experience that living a hectic life doesn’t necessarily translate to greater success and happiness.

The reason for this is simple: chaos is never the answer!

Protecting your mental health is key to developing a healthy mindset, so try to slow things down. Allow calmness to be a part of your daily life, and you’ll significantly reduce the risk of burning yourself out.

If you are always worked up, overwhelmed, or anxious, you might be living a hectic, chaotic life. Here are two practices I recommend to increase peace of mind and reduce stress:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you become more present and aware of what’s happening around and in you. The practice slows you down, so you’re not so concerned about getting as many things as possible done in the shortest time possible.

Besides reducing the chances of overworking yourself, mindfulness prevents you from getting drowned in the myriad of thoughts from the past and future that can cause anxiety.

Mindfulness means paying close attention to what’s happening around you. A few practical ways to do this include:

  • Be present when you eat your meal. Savor the texture and taste of the food and don’t rush or do other activities (like watching TV or scrolling through your phone) when eating.
  • Walk in nature, smell the roses, appreciate the cool breeze, and take in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors. Or simply spend a few minutes strolling down your neighborhood while paying attention to your surroundings.

Make mindfulness a routine, and before long, you’ll reap the physical and mental benefits of slowing down and choosing calmness over chaos.

Meditation

Meditation is quieting your mind and focusing inward. While the practice has its roots in religion, you don’t necessarily have to subscribe to a religion to quiet your mind and experience inner peace.

I encourage you to:

  • Create time to sit quietly, focus on breathing, and connect with yourself daily.
  • Do this consistently, and you’ll increase your chances of experiencing peace and calmness in your life.

Don’t know how to meditate? Check out this article for simple steps to practice meditation.

4. Choose Positive Friends

friends taking a group selfie

We are social beings, which is why we thrive in the company of others and tend to do poorly when socially isolated.

However, we pick up habits from those we spend most of our time with, and sometimes we do this even without realizing it. This can be both good and bad news.

It is good news if you emulate helpful habits from those around you, and it is bad news if the reverse is the case. For this reason, it is crucial to be picky about friends.

To build a healthy mindset, I strongly recommend surrounding yourself with positive friends. In addition to lifting your spirits, positive friends will support your dreams and encourage helpful habits. Plus, they are generally more fun to be with!

If you always feel drained after spending time with a friend, you should re-examine that friendship.

You want to choose friends who can help you develop and maintain a healthy mindset. Avoid friends who negatively impact your self-esteem, mood, and attitude and ruin your relationship with others.

5. Avoid Self-Comparison

man in workwear looking angrily at another man

In an earlier post, I discussed the negative impacts of comparing yourself to others, which include envy and may even cause physical and mental health problems in extreme cases.

There is little to be gained by evaluating or contrasting your traits and abilities with the lives of others.

Firstly, it is never a fair comparison because you can only see what the other person shows to the public. You can’t tell if they are truly more successful or happier than you. (By the way, why should you care whether or not someone else is happier or more successful than you?)

Secondly, it leads to jealousy, which is not a healthy state of mind. Jealousy and envy are signs of a low sense of self-worth and low self-esteem.

Remember the self-appreciation exercise I mentioned earlier? Practice it each time you catch yourself comparing yourself with another person.

Undoubtedly, someone else may be better than you in one or more aspects. But never forget that you are unique and didn’t show up on earth to be like another person.

You’ll stop entertaining thoughts of envy and jealousy once you remember that everyone, including you, is special in their way.

If you have a hard time making peace with your current station in life, you might want to read this article and learn ways to be content with what you have.

6. Share Your Feelings

two teenage friends talking

It is normal to have low moments, no matter how much of a positive thinker you are.

Keeping anger, frustration, sadness, or disappointment to yourself doesn’t help. If anything, difficult emotions can cloud your judgment and make you behave irrationally. You might even become depressed in worse cases.

Sharing your feelings with trusted people can rid you of negativity, improve your feelings, and create a helpful state of mind. This is why one of the benefits of surrounding yourself with positive people; they will support you in good and bad times.

Whenever you face difficulties, talk to a friend or trusted family about your feelings. However, if sharing your feelings with someone else makes you really uncomfortable (perhaps because you are an introvert), here are two exercises I recommend:

Journaling

Get a special book and write down your thoughts and feelings. Journaling provides a channel to express your feeling and ease your emotional burden.

Prayer

Okay, I know this may sound off-putting, especially if you are opposed to religious topics, but hear me out.

By prayer, I mean communicating with “something” higher than you.

Whatever label you put on this “something” is entirely up to you. But pouring out your pain to a higher power can bring about a great sense of relief.

7. Focus on What You Can Control

couple worried about their debt

Nearly everyone knows the futility of worrying (even though we still do it!). Worrying about things you can’t do anything about only increases stress and anxiety.

You cannot maintain a growth mindset if you waste your emotional energy fretting about situations you can’t change.

The easiest way to quit worrying is to redirect your focus to the things you can control. Make peace with the things you can’t change or control and give your best effort to those things you can do something about.

Here’s the thing, though.

Sometimes, we get fixated on certain outcomes, making it difficult to let go when things don’t go our way. This might be a sign of controlling behavior.

Flexibility is a huge part of focusing on what you can control.

Instead of forcing things into place, which often results in frustration, a helpful approach is to recognize that not every one of our plans, desires, and wishes will happen as we expect.

While a healthy mindset strengthens your belief in yourself, always remember that rigidity (fixing your heart on a particular outcome) is essentially setting yourself up for disappointment.

8. Take Care of Your Body

man working out on a mat

Lastly, developing a healthy mindset is much easier when you have a healthy body. Take time out to practice self-care, no matter how busy you are.

Here are two of the most important ways to care for your body:

Eat Healthily

Avoid heavily processed foods as much as possible. Research links fast foods to several health problems, including weight gain, digestive problems, and heart issues.

In addition to improving your overall physical health, a balanced diet promotes a healthy mind, thanks to the nutrients nourishing you and making you feel great.

Exercise

Even if your job requires spending a chunk of your day sitting in one spot, make it a habit to move your body for at least 15 minutes every day.

Don’t allow a lack of time to rob you of the benefits of regular physical exercise. Whether you choose to hit the gym or prefer to exercise at home, ensure to choose exercises that resonate with your personality.

Final Thoughts

Living your best life starts with developing and maintaining a healthy mindset.

It doesn’t matter whether you think your life is currently a far cry from what you want; by consistently practicing the helpful habits above, you are well on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.

One final thing!

Habits don’t form overnight. You will falter and fall, but that’s only a sign that you are doing something new.

Keep on pushing forward; soon enough, the habits will stick, and you’ll enjoy the positive lifestyle you truly want.

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