Positive Mind Food in times of change

How do we create a positive and healthy mind when dealing with great change? When our lives suddenly change from what we are used to, we are mostly left floating with uncertainty. We can often feel fearful and unsure. Leaving us feeling isolated, alone, questioning ‘the bigger picture’ of life’s meaning, purpose and our existence.

Also in this mix we can experience excited trepidation with the unknown. These are natural reactions. Often it’s during these times of upheaval that opportunities arise for healthy self reflection. Resulting in the possibility of reconsidering the ‘order and structure’ that we so easily slot into. That we are swept along in, often without much conscious thought.

Seeing what arises

It is during these times of great change to ‘life as we know it’ that we are offered an opportunity to explore a deeper sense of truthfulness. Dr Sarah Backelard – author and Christian meditation facilitator speaks of how ‘ we are often forced to awaken and confront things that don’t usually arise. She advises us not to close down to disorientation, that it is a turning point. It’s at this place that we can really listen and hear ourselves and others. We are letting go of what we think we know and who we think we are.

It is during times of turmoil, that there is the potential for ‘things’ to break through to the surface and be unveiled. She speaks of how we get to see what arises when we can use this experience as a contemplative practice. When we are receptive and seek to become silent.’ You can listen here to more of Sarah’s interview on Radio National.

Fear can and does arise of the unknown, we want stability to feel whole and to be anchored. Yet uncertainty and the ‘break down’ of life as we know it, are opportunities to contemplate and connect with the things that can really give us meaning and purpose. That help us to see what really is important. We can apply practices that help us feel connected, and to navigate what may be arising and feel challenging. One of my ‘go to’ books for almost three decades is Pema Chodron’s book, ‘When things fall apart – Heart advice for difficult times’. She talks about how potent is can be when things really do fall apart.

Planting Seeds

So what does give us a sense of space, some stability and meaning when things are shifting and unknown within and around us? How do we make sense of what is transpiring? How do we use this experience to cultivate a positive mind, that ultimately allows us to keep expanding and growing? Well that’s a personal journey dependant on each individual. However there are tools, people, practices and paths, that are beneficial to most of us. That you can implement and that you’ll gravitate towards which will be healthy and positive ‘food’ for your mind growth and self understanding.

Imagine tending to your mental and emotional health as you would a plant or garden. Fertilising and nourishing the soil, planting a seed, making sure there is enough sunlight, water and nutrients. Checking for bugs, weeds, and watching growth. Enjoying the harvest. Cultivating a positive and expansive mindset is a practice, it needs attention, care and dedication.

Bigger than self emotions

Kelly McGonigal lecturer at Stanford University and researcher of the mind-body connection shares ‘that we have bigger than ‘self ’emotions. Such as compassion, joy, appreciation, gratitude. She talks about how there is a quality to these emotions that involves a space big enough to hold our suffering too. We are not being asked to push away other states of mind when we develop these ‘bigger than self emotions’. She says most of us have a daily practice of some sort ie mind/body, mediation or contemplation’. Listen to full interview with Kelly on Sounds True. To create lasting change, we need to cultivate positive emotions and find a quiet inner space for reflection and receptivity.

Positive Mind Food

  • Cultivating positive emotions.
  • Connecting with something bigger than ourselves.
  • Meditation, a daily practice no matter how short.
  • Finding mentors that resonate with your values.
  • Listening to inspirational presenters and speakers.
  • Positive Meaningful connection with others (feeling heard, validated, sharing values and ideals).
  • Being present and there for others (really listening deeply, looking into the other persons eyes, confirming that you’ve heard them).
  • Recognising good in yourself and others ( this is a practice that grows).
  • Celebrating and experiencing joy no matter how small or short lived (this can be very simple ie sitting in garden and looking at a flower, sun baking and feeling that sun soaking into you, noticing the vibrant colours in the morning light).
  • Being in nature especially in a quiet and contemplative state.
  • Eating healthy & nourishing food.
  • Yoga, breathing, dance (or perhaps you have something else that integrates your body/mind/spirit).
  • Flower Essence Therapy (help balance, regulate and make sense of emotions, help us gain clarity and create stability).

Expanding yourself

These times of extreme uncertainty are opportunities to expand, and explore our self understanding, self awareness, self compassion and deeper truths. Therefore it’s not necessarily turning away from what is difficult, and succumbing to fear, but finding the practices that cushion and support this journey to look within. The practices that give us a quieter internal contemplative space. That help us to integrate all aspects of ourselves and allow us to make sense of what is unfolding. Change is an invitation to transform. To seek what truely offers us greater meaning, bringing health and positivity. Enjoy the Journey!

For support and guidance around implementing tools and practices to aid self growth and a positive mind set, please visit Health and Wellness Coach – Haydie Osborne.

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