Updated: Sep 7
I often refer to myself as a recovering pessimist. In my younger days, I'd often wake up miserable with a story on repeat in my head. Grumbling to myself about anything really. Co-workers, a parent that got under my skin or my family. My automatic mindset was a negative one. Judgement, frustration, anger, negativity. It was frustrating and I remember saying to my coach, Christal, at the time- "it's setting me up to be miserable. I'm not these thoughts." It was affecting my relationships with the people I worked with. I wasn't a pleasant person to work with at that time. Christal, and I explored my daily routine. Wake up. Shower. Style my hair. Apply makeup. Pack my bag. Rush to work. Work. Buy my lunch out. Come home. Veg out. Play on my phone. Go to bed. Weekends I'd go out with friends. Sleep in. Veg out some more. Rinse and repeat. My routine was a bit of a mess, really. I didn't spend any time really putting anything positive in. I was going to work and giving so much of myself to the kids in my program and then coming home and vegging out. I wasn't refuelling my tank. No wonder my thoughts were so miserable. Christal suggested I start a meditation routine. And let me tell you- it took me YEARS to develop a regular meditation routine. My rushed routine really didn't lend time to meditation. I started practicing meditation in the community when it was offered in parks. I noticed how calm and GREAT I felt afterwards, so I started to make it a practice on the weekends. Which led to it becoming a regular part of my day. I found myself wanting to make time for it- during my commute, on lunch breaks, or in the evenings before bed. I love my meditation practice. We also established that I needed some movement in my life. I started with biking, which led to a regular fitness routine and yoga practice. My gym routine saves me when I'm feeling stressed, worried or anxious. I will admit that I've never been a particularly athletic person by nature- I conveniently "forgot" my gym classes in high school to get out of gym class. When I found a method of movement I enjoy and stuck with it was a game-changer! The other important ingredient of my shift in mindset was changing the conversation in my head every morning. You see, after years and years of repeating the same miserable story- I needed to retrain my brain to think happier. Our brains have a natural negativity bias based on our ancestors' survival instincts. Our brains and bodies are constantly scanning for threats to our safety + wellbeing. Essentially our brains are like "velcro for the bad and teflon for the good" according to Rick Hanson. I started bookending my day with a gratitude routine- identifying 3 things I'm grateful for both morning and evening. When we intentionally look for things to be grateful for it retrains our brain to automatically look for it. And when we're focusing on what we are grateful for more abundance flows into our lives to be grateful for.
And finally I started using Brendon Burchard's morning reflection prompts. What can I be excited about today? What or who might trip me up or cause stress, and how can I respond in a positive way, from my highest self? Who can I surprise today with a thank-you, a gift or a moment of appreciation? I had these printed, laminated and they are on my mirror where I get ready every day. As I get ready I go through my day and envision what I can be excited about, how I want to approach any challenges that come up and who I can serve. That's it! These simple practices helped me shift my mindset to one where I'm more positive, grateful and joyful. The most important realization for me was to recognize that my mindset begins and ends with me. I'm not defined by the things that have happened to me, how people treat me or the outward circumstances.
My Mindset is completely controlled by me and my actions. Sometimes we need a little help to shift our mindset and thankfully I had Christal help me make that shift. What about you? What helps you keep a positive mindset at work?