by Jessie Steadman, Health Coach
Our mindset is an established set of attitudes that plays a crucial role in how we respond
to all that life brings our way, serving as the foundation for how we make our choices.
What we think, feel and believe is true all collide in our mindset - even if we “know”
facts that might prove otherwise. If you’ve never given much thought to your current mindset towards health and wellness, then it’s likely you’ve absorbed it from your environment. Much of this might be traceable to how you were taught as a child, what was modeled for you culturally growing up, or to specific impactful experiences over the years.
We are surrounded by unhelpful messages telling us that health is primarily about how our bodies look - fad diets, quick fixes, one-size-fits-all ideals and unrealistic images emphasize an external approach to health that often causes confusion. Our high tech, instant feedback culture produces a sense of immediate gratification that can lead to frustration over unmet goals. These daily factors combined with those we've brought from our earliest years can create a negative mindset toward health that is focused on the wrong things, preventing us from making the choices that will move us forward.
So what do we need to believe instead? How do we shift our mindset when it comes to
wellness? What would it mean to begin to focus on how our bodies feel and function as
the marker for being healthy? How do we develop mindset that emphasizes the nurturing of our bodies through self-care? Below are five mindset shifts to begin practicing today:
1. Health is a journey not a destination. Reminding yourself that you have the rest of
your life to keep growing healthier can take the pressure off producing gigantic results today or even this week. When you value each small step as part of a larger process then your motivation increases. A growth mindset emerges as you learn to re-define failure as a necessary part of growing.
2. Your body’s needs are specific to you and no one else. You are unique and that uniqueness is worth nurturing! Letting go of comparison to others and allowing your own body’s changes to be the measure for your success is much more likely to produce a perseverance mindset. Celebrate your victories because they served your body and took you farther down the road toward wellness.
3. Food is not the only thing that nourishes you. Remembering this can help you learn
to listen to your body and discern what you actually need. Sometimes a walk with a friend, a hug from a loved one, a nap, massage, yoga session, dance party, good
book, funny podcast, or glass of water might meet your needs. A mindset that asks what will nourish you both inside and out right now - and listening for the answer - opens you up to new avenues for change and the ability to enjoy that change as you learn how to genuinely care for yourself.
4. Focus on the positive not the negative. Deprivation rarely works; our minds tend to
be pulled in the direction of what we are seeking to avoid. Instead of building a health mindset on all of the things you should not have or do, focus on the things you should. Working to add in what is good for you will help to naturally crowd out all the rest.
5. Choose gratitude. Studies show that people who practice gratitude are happier, so
say thank you! This powerful mind rewire can produce big results. It has been said that, “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” A mindset of plenty as opposed to a mindset of scarcity can be a game changer. You are enough - your body, resources, knowledge, skills and motivation are enough to start making changes now. A mindset that honors where you are today through gratitude will set you up for taking the next step tomorrow.
While a mindset doesn’t change overnight, practicing these small shifts will add up over
time, nurturing the kind of self love we need in order to create health. It’s a journey, but
it’s worthwhile to begin this journey - not only for ourselves, but for the love it will allow
us to share with others as we move more fully into wellness.