Often in life, we are caught in circumstances that leave us with lot of negativity or concerns. Have you ever been caught in hopelessness or in spiral of concerns or flurry of negative thoughts, if yes then this blog is for you!
I am a very practical person and I tend to always evaluate extreme situations from my practical lens. Despite being a practical person, I have experienced that sometimes situations or emotions overpower us. This leads a person to a so-called dark place where things look bad, thoughts are negative, we see ourselves as victims etc. So, intuitively, I developed a way to make sure that I am not caught in this space. This technique has been serving me well. I have recently discovered that a practice of this kind has a name, and it is Mental Diet. The practice of avoiding or entertaining any unpleasant thoughts is known as a mental diet. Emmet Fox’s The 7-Day Mental Diet has helped several people across the globe. He has a shared a step-by-step tutorial on how to go on a mental diet. In this blog, however, I would like to share my way of practicing mental diet and I would invite you to experiment with either mine or the one recommended by Emmet Fox.
If you have been having trouble manifesting your ideal world, it is likely that you haven’t yet developed regular control over your daily thought patterns. Everyone has ideas that appear out of nowhere, and these thoughts can be nasty and damaging, distracting you from your goals. When these negative thoughts get out of control, it can influence overall wellbeing. A person who practices mental diet develops a capability to replace inner negative thoughts or bad ideas or bad possibilities with an opposite thought, outcome, or possibility. So, in my practice the mantra was to ignore and NOT entertain any negative or opposing thoughts and create a superior voice speaking the positive thought. Just imagine if you are ignored by someone again and again and told you that you are bad, it would have a negative impact. What will you do and how will you feel? Would you continue going to that person or stop? For me, I do not like getting ignored or dominated and my typical response is to not go that person anymore. Having said that, we are humans and it is humanly not possible to control our thoughts to an extent that we will never have bad or negative thinking. But we can work towards reducing this to an extent that it becomes insignificant in our mind and will have no power in front of the dominating positive and propelling thoughts. So, intuitively and with my practical approach I made this action plan:
- I consciously started observing and recording my thoughts at least thrice a day in an excel sheet which took about 5-8 minutes. After a while, I started to categorizing them as positive and negative, its possible triggers and what was its effect on me.
- Sometime negative thoughts have a positive purpose for us and in a way are useful, some push us to take actions and some tell us to be cautious. So I created a further category of ‘useful’ / ‘not-useful’ against the negative thoughts.
- After couple of months, I started becoming more aware of how I think and what makes me think in the way I do. Not only this, it also made me reflect that how is this thinking helping me or serving me. Do I need to continue like this and or this needs to change? Imagine there is a child whom you are always bombarding with negativity, what will this create for the child? And if my mind is the child and I am doing this bombardment to myself, what am I creating for myself. I need to be easy on myself, I need to tell myself “It is Ok”; “I am enough”; “It is not the end of the world “.
- Self-awareness has great power as it brings new insights to us. With this self-awareness, I realized that I have the power to pick my thoughts. Thoughts appear from nowhere, but I can choose to keep them or discard them. Pausing and reflecting on what is going on in my mind and changing the negative to positive through self talk really helped me overpower the unproductive thinking.
- Journaling helped me identify that these thoughts were either coming from my past experiences or out of my concern for the future. So, solution for this one came very easily to me. That is focus on the present moment. Practice Mindfulness.
So my dear friends, Mental diet, like any other regular diet, take discipline and attention, and it is best done in short bursts to help you jumpstart a new way of thinking. Avoiding thoughts about the past and anxieties about the future should also be part of your mental diet. Concentration is also one of the important tools as it gives inner strength to focus your attention on the thoughts of your choice and disregard unwanted thoughts. This is not going to be straightforward, don’t be discouraged if you fail and then succeed. If you persevere, you will eventually master this skill.
In a nutshell there are three mental diet mantras.
- The first is mental control. The more we feed negative thoughts to our brain, the more likely they will appear and occur due to neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to build and restructure nerve cell connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following damage).This occurs as a result of brain networks connecting concepts that elicit specific emotions. As a result, every time we allow a negative idea to repeat itself, it becomes stronger. It is critical to detect the patterns that lead to bad feelings and moods. You can use tactics to help you deal with overwhelming emotions and thoughts as they come.You can, for example, exercise or practice breathing exercises. You can also replace negative patterns with new ones that promote mental health, such as sticking to a regime, seeing friends, or participating in a team activity.
- Positive affirmations come in second. Positive affirmations are statements that are repeated, frequently without thinking about it, to introduce a notion to the subconscious that can stimulate you, remind you of your positive qualities, and give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals. Also what you affirm, the universe is listening and ready to give you what you seek.
- Finally, take some time to meditate. Meditation teaches people how to focus on the present moment, one breath at a time. It’s described as a way of observing what you’re feeling in each moment–whether it’s pleasant, unpleasant, painful, or joyous.
By doing this over a period of last 4 years, I have become more comfortable with experimenting new ideas, have made some critical decision and have been able to fill my life with positivity, fun and happiness. I would really like to invite you to try either my self-discovered way of mental diet or try step-by-step tutorial on how to go on a mental diet by Emmet Fox.
Do this until you have repeated your good thoughts enough number of times that they have become your dominating thinking. This, like any other diet, will require devotion and discipline at first, but it will get easier. The aim is to catch any negative thoughts and instantly replace them with the new affirmations. It is fine to cry and express your feelings, but then get back on track with your mental diet. If you have an emotional reaction, it will have no effect on your manifestation if you return to your mental diet and your positive ideas outnumber your negative ideas.
The key is repetition; at first, constantly monitoring and altering your thoughts will feel like work, but after a while, you’ll discover the positive thoughts have impressed the subconscious mind. It’s the new thoughts that come to mind when you think of your desire, not the old ones. A mental diet’s main goal is to replace negative habitual beliefs that you have been carrying around for years with good ones that correspond with your desires. Remember that a mental diet should be a way of life, something you continue to practice even after you’ve manifested. Mental diet can aid in the reduction of mental noise and the attainment of inner serenity, mental focus, and mental mastery.
In my next agenda of mental diet, I want to practice “Being Non-Judgmental”. My aim is not to consciously and subconsciously judge something or someone. I am going to use same technique but will share with you what I discovered along the way!
I will stay curious to know if in any way my journey has inspired you to take actions against those negative thoughts.
I specialize in Career, Life and Executive Coaching and will be happy to coach you on how to Change your thinking and rewire your personal & professional life towards happiness and fulfillment.