Change your perspective, and you may be able to change your life. It’s a sentiment you’ve probably heard before; and even if not, it’s worth paying attention to. We are, after all, byproducts of our own environments, whether individual or collective.
This is also true of your own inner reality: After all, so much of that is created by your thoughts. Yet most of the time, this goes unnoticed, or at least uncontrolled. When you do take notice of it, and not only that, strive to take back control from your unconscious thought patterns (all by changing your POV), that’s when the real, life-changing magic happens. Keep reading for several small but nonetheless groundbreaking things you can do each day to help shift your mindset.
Get enough shut-eye. Getting the right amount of Zzz’s is crucial (most adults need a range of 7-9 hours a night). Plus, it has plenty of health benefits, whether physical or in terms of general wellness: Not only can it help you curb food cravings, ward off sickness, and reduce your risk of heart disease, it can also improve your mood.
In fact, according to Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep & Health Research Program and the Behavioral Sleep Medicine clinic at the University of Arizona, sleep is one of the best predictors of overall mood. “Poor sleep has been linked with mental health and overall mood for decades,” says Dr. Grandner. “Sleep also affects your mindset—healthy sleep might help you have more energy, optimism, and focus for the things that matter to you.”
“Healthy sleep can help improve brain function,” he continues. “This can impact not only your ability to focus and keep mentally balanced during the day, but it can also help you make healthy dietary choices, since it improves decision making and helps you keep perspective on your priorities; get more physical activity, because you have more energy and are more efficient with your time; and manage stress.”
Squeeze in a work out, no matter how quick it might be. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that getting in a sweat session is a proven method to boost your mood. In fact, studies show that exercise is actually one of the most effective techniques to self-regulate one’s mood. It can serve to alleviate a negative mental state and improve a positive one by decreasing feelings of tension, depression, anger, and confusion.
That means that even if you don’t have time for a full-on workout, even going on a brisk walk around the block can help you shift your current POV. If you do have some time—say, at least 30 minutes carved out in your schedule—leave your phone behind, take a cup of tea with you, and go on a walk around the neighborhood. Walking has been shown to improve cognitive function; plus, it literally removes you from your physical environment and moves you into a new place. Why shouldn’t that bolster a change in your mental space, as well?
Start—and keep—a gratitude practice. Whether you want to keep a gratitude journal, or simply make a list every day, starting a “gratitude practice” has a surprising amount of health benefits. Research shows that expressing gratitude can improve physical and psychological health, cultivating things like better sleep, self-esteem, and resilience. Not only that, but according to a 2014 study published in the journal Emotion, it can also help people to develop friendships and build stronger social bonds.
So what exactly do we mean by gratitude practice? You can start yours by writing down at least three things you’re grateful for every day—preferably each morning. This way, you’re cultivating a regular, consistent pattern of expressing thankfulness for a multitude of blessings in your life (large or small), and ultimately feeling happier overall.
Tweak your inner self-talk. This can be as simple as tweaking a few words when mentally—or literally—ticking tasks off your daily to-do list. Instead of saying, “I have to go to the gym today,” or “I should really remember to drink more water,” change your statements to favor more empowered language, like these positive affirmations: “I get to work out today, because I know how good my body is going to feel after!” and “I choose to hydrate more regularly, today and every day, because I want to prioritize my health.”
Changing your inner self-talk can change the way you carry yourself, feel about yourself, and the way you move through the world.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.