I truly believe that our experience of life has more to do with our thoughts and beliefs than our circumstances. Whether we consistently feel overwhelmed, anxious, worried, and indecisive or whether we feel grounded, capable, and calm, has all to do with our mindsets.
Through my transition from consistently feeling emotionally unstable and indecisive to feeling calm and in control of my life, I noticed some major subconscious mindsets that had to be shifted. Here they are along with the reframes I used to find more consistent peace of mind and happiness.
#1: Mistakes should be avoided at all costs.
Mistakes have this connotation as being bad. In reality, they're a natural and necessary part of life.
Reframe: There are no mistakes, only feedback and experience.
Learning to view your mistakes as feedback and experience, will help you ease the stress and analysis paralysis that can come along with making a decision or taking any action. The key is to practice making decisions only from a calm and grounded state to prevent bad decisions and unnecessary mistakes.
Try This: If you find yourself constantly taking (regrettable) actions from an emotionally turbulent state, click here to get my "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" gift. It'll give you simple tools to feel calm and grounded quickly, so you can make decisions you feel good about.
#2: Doing more will get you more.
Or another way people see this is "Doing less is lazy and unproductive".
Chinese medicine and Chinese culture is based on the concept of yin and yang. Yin represents spaciousness and stillness, while yang represents activity and movement. To function optimally you must find a balance between yin and yang in your life. Embracing the yin allows you to tap into your truth, deep desires, and potential, while the yang is the spark that allows those desires to be manifested into physical form.
Reframe: Downtime is just as important as active time. Success and happiness come from balancing the yin and yang in my life.
Too much yin without yang leads to big dreams but no action. Too much yang without yin leads to a lot of action and hard work for little fulfillment and lots of stress . The latter group (yin deficient) are often the ones who struggle with emotional turbulence, anxiousness, and overwhelm.
Try This: Studies now show that a daily meditation practice can rewire your brain to feel more consistently at peace and less reactive. Even 10 minutes a day will help.
#3: Avoiding negative emotions is the key to peace and happiness.
It may seem like common sense that to achieve peace and happiness you should avoid all emotions that seem to disturb your peace and happiness. Oddly enough, this just isn’t true. Unlike computers, we humans are designed to experience a whole range of emotions. Avoiding emotions causes much more long term damage to your peace of mind than just accepting and experiencing them does.
Reframe: Accepting and experiencing all my emotions, whether they’re good or bad, is key to my peace and happiness.
So, to find peace, stop resisting your negative emotions.
Try This: Bring more mindfulness (awareness) to your emotional state. When an uncomfortable emotion arises, notice how it feels in your body. Observe and feel it, without judging or getting caught in its mental story. The more you practice this mindfulness, the easier it will be to accept, experience, and release difficult emotions. And, the more long-term peace of mind you'll have.
#4: Your plans, rules, opinions, and identities are set in stone.
I used to think that once I made a decision or voiced an opinion it was set in stone. Like somehow telling a guy I loved him, following a particular career path for years, or connecting deeply with a friend meant I was committing to those relationships or situations forever.
So often we cling to ideas, people, and identities because we feel obligated to. As if changing our minds or loosening our boundaries makes us wrong, flaky, indecisive or a pushover. Life changes. Others change. We change. The more flexible, adaptable, and willing to change we are, the more peace of mind and happiness we’ll have.
Reframe: It's ok and necessary to change my mind, my friends, my style, my rules and my boundaries.
Try This: Practicing mindfulness (awareness) and giving yourself space daily to reflect will allow you to see where you're clinging out of habit or fear. Mindfulness, meditation, and journaling will all help you acknowledge and release that which no longer serves you.
#5: You are a victim of your circumstances.
When things don't go our way or when bad things happen, it's easy to fall into a self-pitying, victim mindset. We think things like, "Life isn't fair!" or "Why me?". The problem with this mindset, is that it leaves you a powerless victim.
The truth is, no matter what happens in your life, there's always an opportunity for learning and growth. When you move from feeling victimized (dwelling in the past), you start to see those growth opportunities, and can gain control over your present and future circumstance.
Reframe: I am the creator of my life and can always find a hidden opportunity for growth in difficult situations.
Try This: Again, consistent mindfulness, meditation, and journaling will help you make this mindset shift. These practices allow you the space to tap into your inner wisdom and shift your mindset. You'll start to see all the opportunities that we're once hidden from your victim perspective.
Several years ago I discovered a tool called the I Ching. When combined with the other practices (mindfulness, meditation, and journaling) it can bring IMMEDIATE clarity and peace of mind to a confusing and difficult situation. It's been my most powerful tool for peace of mind since I discovered it over 5 years ago.
I'll be talking more about the I Ching very soon. And I'm working on something juicy around it. Sign up below to be the first to know.
Remember, mindset shifts don't happen overnight. But give these reframes and tools a try for a week, and see how your life starts to shift in miraculous ways. Peace of mind will creep in before you know it.