We have now come to the next part of the series on the mind diet. The mind diet is a mental diet where instead of focusing on taking in healthy food and not taking in unhealthy ones, we focus on taking in healthy thoughts and feelings and not taking in unhealthy ones.
So far we have covered the 5 mental “fruits” a day that one should be having every day. Let us recap what they are:
1 . Abundance
To focus on all the positive things around us and thus to increase them. Success breeds success.
To take time out each day just to relax, and thereby cleanse our body and mind, this is an effect a mental shower as it gets rid of a lot of the stress you accumulate in your day as a shower removes the dirt you gather in the course of your day.
Humour relaxes your body and is a form of relaxation but it is more active and stronger. Your body is more energized and freshened with endorphins released, it is a great energy boost and can make your mind function clearer enabling you to make wiser decisions rather than emotional ones.
4. Mental exercise
To do difficult, but enjoyable, mental exercises whether that be crosswords, play chess, remember phone numbers, mathematical sums or anything that stretches the brain and keeps it fresh and fit.
Learning about something new which will expand your knowledge of the world and of life, whether it be something academic or practical. Learning makes you a richer person and a more fulfilled and multi-dimensional one. It helps you with your business skills, because one who has wider general knowledge or even knowledge of a specific field is just a more informed person.
So these are the 5 regular things you should be having every day in your mental diet. Just as regular food has vitamins, minerals and other nutritional benefits, so do these mental thoughts have benefits in terms of your mental health.
Harmful mental “food”.
We have anything from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day, depending on how you measure it and how long you are awake. However the vast majority of these thoughts are negative. However negative thoughts are not merely abstract things confined to your mind which have no impact beyond. In fact they have a very real impact on your body and on your life.
To illustrate this. Imagine you were to be constantly stressed and full of tension, what sort of mental impact would this have on you?
It could lead to heart disease, blood pressure, premature aging, weaking of the immune system and many other things.
Stress has a direct impact on the entire human body, including your skin – a stressed person’s skin is not as healthy as a happier person and they will age and wrinkle quicker – organs, immune system and even down to your cells. This of course has an impact on your personal success and business success. A healthy and active person is of course more successful than an unhealthy one.
Many writers speak of the need to eliminate negative thinking and thoughts. However it is easier said than done. However I will take a more scientific and methodical approach to this. Two of the main causes of negative feelings are stress and being upset.
In order to deal with anything, the first 50% of the job is to understand it. What is stress? Stress is fundamentally two things:
1. The fear of something which we do not desire happening.
2. The desire to achieve something important and not being able to do it, thus the fear of the consequences of not achieving it e.g. being fired, losing our home, our relationship ending.
So no.2 is still the same as no.1 as it is about fear of something happening.
So we are going to do this in a scientific i.e. methodical manner, and now ask how do we deal with fear?
Fear comes from the thought that something which you do not want to happen will happen. You have no control, or little control of it happening, because if you did have control of it happening or not, you would of course make sure it doesn’t happen. Let me give you an example. Someone hears that in his company there will be redunancies. He then fears he may lose his job. He has no control over whether he will lose his job or not. However another person in the same company is actually, unknown to everyone else, very good friends with, or related to the person responsible for the redundancies. He has no fear because he has control (in the form of his relationship with the manager).
Fear stems from the level of control you have over the desired/undesired outcome, and also what is at stake. For example a man who fears that he may lose his house will obviously be experiencing greater stress and fear than a man who fears he may face a parking ticket.
So let us now look at how we deal with these two things; 1. The level of control we have over something, 2; How to deal with the undesired outcome happening.
1. Level of control
This relates to feeling powerless or impotent over your ability to make something happen. When we have full power over something happening we have no fear. If for example I said to you please close your eyes for 3 seconds, you would have no fear about this. Why? Because you have complete control over it. You are in total charge of your eyes. If however I said to you go and ask your boss for a payrise, you would have some fear because you are not in charge over deciding whether you have a payrise, the decision is in his hands. The more power and control you have over something the less fear you have it. You have no doubts about it happening, you are more than confident, you are certain. Let’s look at that word “confident.”
One of the keys to overcoming fear is confidence. Confidence can be broken up in to being calm, that is not panicking and having self-belief in yourself and your ability or in God, or life whatever our beliefs are. For example in soccer, major tournaments see teams which draw knock-out games having to settle the game through scoring penalties. I can usually tell in advance if a football player will score a penalty or not by his body language. The ones that are looking nervous and not confident usually fail to score.
Those that walk in a confident and powerful way usually score. They are 1. Not nervous 2. Belief in themselves and their ability to score. Thus you deal with stress by saying “let me calm down”, whatever happens I will succeed because I know I can, or if the worst happens it will happen but I will recover from it.
This is all easier said than done. The question is how do you gain this confidence? You gain this confidence by everyday thinking of all the successes you have achieved in your life, from the smallest e.g. writing a successful email, to bigger ones such as succeeding in getting a job and so on. Your mind should constantly be fed with memories of times and situations when you faced difficulties and overcome them, when you succeeded. This naturally increases your confidence and your belief in your ability to succeed or deal with any problem. If you are not a confident person and are in fact a nervous one this is a gradual process, every day you think of examples of where you succeeded and start building up your levels of confidence.
In my next article I will continue on how to deal with stress and also with upset, two poisionous “foods” which we feed our mind with constantly.
– Jahan Choudhry