Detox Your Brain
We are more in control of our own emotions, thought patterns, and mood than we give ourselves credit for. Most of us believe that our brains just work on their own wave lengths, and we are just along for the ride. Well, my 40yearflip friends, this is simply not true. Or more accurately, it doesn’t have to be true. We all accept the fact that if we want a healthy body, we need to exercise our bodies in order for them to be strong, and vibrant. So why don’t we accept the same for our minds?
It’s 100% true. If you want your mind to be healthy, happy, and balanced, you need to work on your thought patterns, and be in tune with your own moods. And, yes, this takes practice. But think of it as taking your brain to the gym.
Brain Exercise #1: Flip Negative Thoughts Right the Hell On Out ASAP
Once you get in the habit of remembering to implement this exercise, it becomes your most powerful tool to being happier. But, remembering to do it is the hard part. All you have to do, whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, particularly one that is critical of yourself, like, “I’m no good at this,” “I look fat today,” “I feel old,” is to flip that thought right the hell on out, like pronto.
You don’t have to negate it with self-affirming mantras, or even by telling yourself that the opposite is true; you just have to acknowledge that you are being unproductively negative, and flip that thought out of your brain. When I catch my kids expressing negative thoughts about themselves aloud, I clap my hands and say, “Flip that thought!” It’s become embedded in the little folds of my brain at this point, so whenever I catch myself being negative, I think those words, and I do a quick hand clap. I even do this in public, which might look strange, but I don’t really care, because it works!
Read more about how to flip negative thoughts: FLIP: FROM UNHAPPY TO HAPPY
Brain Exercise # 2: Train Your Brain to Flip the Switch on Worry
Similar to flipping negative thoughts about yourself, you need to do the same thing when it comes to worrying about things you cannot control, especially things that you have no real reason to believe will ever happen. It’s natural for us to worry. Some degree of worrying is good, because it makes us go through life in a careful and cautious manner. But when we get in cycle of worrying about things we cannot control, on auto-loop, it can make us more anxious and feel out of balance.
Flip those thoughts!
For example, once upon a time, our house burned down. We lost almost all of our physical possessions. Luckily no one was injured. But for years afterwards, I was constantly worried that we would be trapped in a fire or other disaster, especially, for some reason, in public spaces. My worrying over this intensified whenever I wasn’t with my children. I would obsessively worry that if I went out to eat without my kids, the restaurant could catch on fire.
And trust me when I tell you that housefires were not nearly the only things I obsessively worried over. I was quite adept at finding danger lurking in every corner to the point where I rarely separated from my kids, even just to run to the store. At some point, I realized that I was letting my worrying thoughts control how I was living rather than me being in control of my own thoughts. So, every time I would catch myself in the cycle of worry, I would implement the same thought-flip from Brain Exercise #1.
It seems so simple, but it is very effective. And, the more you implement this thought-flip, the easier it gets. My brain will still go to these dark thoughts when I’m not being vigilant, but I flip the thoughts out as soon as I recognize them.
Brain Exercise #3: Practice Self Care
I see it over and over again, and I’ve lived it. Women tend to give and give and give, until they are empty and exhausted. By the time we’ve hit our forties, we’ve spent decades giving our time, love, and energy to our children, spouses, family, friends, and careers, and we put ourselves last. This leads to feeling unfulfilled, lonely, exhausted and unbalanced. And for those of us who really never carved out a life for ourselves, it can feel as if you are living a life that isn’t your own.
Well, my friends, this is clearly not a healthy way to live. So many women feel guilty whenever they take time for self care. Flip that thought, right now. You must, must, must practice self care. There is nothing selfish about it. It’s a mandatory exercise for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. And, when you practice self care, you fill yourself back up, so that that there is an overflow to pour out to other people, making you a better lover, mother, friend, co-worker, and human.
Self care can be as extravagant as a weekend getaway with your girlfriends, or as simple as getting up 20 minutes early to read a book in silence before your day kicks off.
Read more ideas for self care: