Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Clean Your Mind


Spring is here! Many of us find ourselves opening the windows after a long winter, and sweeping out those cobwebs in the corners. Consider giving your mind a spring cleaning, as well. Releasing yourself from negative thoughts and behaviors and focusing on fresh perspectives and activities can take a weight off of your whole being, leaving you energized and optimistic!

First, sweep out the negatives:

  • Ditch a self-defeating thought.Take note of your mental soundtrack: those thoughts and words that play continually in the back of your mind. If there are any negative thoughts about yourself or others, ditch them! Think of motivating and positive mantras that can replace the negative ones. Write them down, and repeat them to yourself each time that you hear a negative thought flow through your mind.
  • Let go of an energy-vampire.We all know them. It’s that one thing that will suck out any motivation or energy you had in 2.5 seconds flat. For each person it’s different. For one, it may be a chore hanging over your head, for someone else, it’s a fear, or an unhealthy relationship. If you can eliminate it from your life, great! If not, set clear boundaries how much mental energy you allocate to it. For example, “I will limit my conversations with my demanding sibling to ½ an hour, and do a self care activity immediately afterwards.” or “I will set time aside tomorrow afternoon to address that chore. Until then – I choose to focus on other activities.”
  • Dump a bad habit.Research suggests that it takes 21 days to change a habit. What undesirable habit do you have that you can dump this spring? Once you’ve identified it, think of a healthy alternative to replace it with. Every time you feel the urge to fall back into old patterns, consciously choose the healthy alternative.


Then, usher in a fresh start:

  • Enjoy spring’s bounty.Take advantage of the fresh produce that is cropping up at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Celebrate this blooming season with a variety of colorful produce – reds, oranges, greens, and purples. Try to choose the most vibrant and freshest foods possible. You might even experiment with a vegetable you’ve never tasted before.
     
  • Explore a new self-care activityWhether it’s enjoying a warm cup of tea while you watch the sun rise, taking an extra 3 minutes in the shower, or listening to your favorite song on your way to work – identify one way that you can honor yourself each day.
     
  • Experience NatureTake time to get outside. There is nothing more freeing and rejuvenating than taking a deep breath of fresh air, and taking in the sounds, smells, and sights of nature. Take a deep breath with your eyes closed and just be present with yourself, your thoughts and emotions. Then get physical – take a walk, go for a run or bike ride. Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.




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