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Mindset matters

Minding your mindset

Before you can even begin to make changes in your life to live “well,” there is one huge thing that we often forget to tend to: OUR MINDSET!

We may feel that to make changes all we need to do is ‘just do it’ (thanks Nike). First, we must BELIEVE that we can. And not just that shallow cliché way of believing that change can happen in our lives, but a deeper knowing that change is actually possible for ourselves. Secondly, our belief must spur us to action. A shift in mindset is great, but does nothing if there is no action behind it. Third, we must consider the motivation of our mindset change (intrinsic vs extrinsic, avoidance vs achievement, etc.,). Let’s dig a bit more into what mindset is, the difference between a “diseased” and “wellness” mindsets, and lastly how it can impact the 6 areas of wellness.

 

THE MIND IS THE LIMIT

As mentioned, change starts when we adjust our mindset. Mindset can be defined as the following:

-attitude

-set of beliefs

-guideline or blueprint for how we view our world

-way of thinking about ideas, people, things, etc.,

-mood related to any and all events or circumstances

 

Basically, our mindset is the lens through which we view the world. Our mindset has an impact on how we eventually take action as a result of our beliefs. To undervalue the importance of mindset is to not understand how major an impact it has on what we do. Without our attitude, or set of beliefs about the world, it can be difficult to take a position within it, decide how we would, could or should feel about certain events, ideas and/or people.

 

Does that mean that a positive attitude leads to positive outcomes or the reverse? I’d say it depends. Popular belief, tons of research, and anecdotal reports support this claim that the nature of our mindset impacts the quality of our actions, and by default, has a major influence over our intended outcomes.

 

The nature of the mindset boils down to two options: being stuck with a “diseased” or fixed mindset or evolving with a “wellness” or growth mindset.

 

DISEASED MINDSET A.K.A. “Debbie Downer”

A “diseased” mindset, commonly referred to as a fixed mindset, can be characterized as being stuck and not growing, and having a negative outlook in many, or all, areas of our lives. What comes to mind is the person that always sees the ‘worst case scenario’ where nothing seems to go right for them. A person with a diseased mindset fails to see the possibilities in both the present and the future. A person with this mindset does not feel like they have any control over their life. thoughts spread throughout our life and can cause cancer to our overall wellness.

 

WELLNESS MINDSET A.K.A. “Positive Patty”

 

A “wellness” mindset, A.K.A. growth mindset, can be characterized as focusing on moving forward, taking and/or feeling in control, being fluid/dynamic, having the ability to change and adapt, and not being rigid. A Positive Patty feels that she can move beyond her current circumstances and remains solution-focused. She doesn’t overly stress herself over the things that she can’t control but instead works on what she can change. Like pervasive health and well-being, a wellness mindset positively impacts many, if not all, areas of an individual’s life.

 

IMPACT OF MINDSET ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE

 

Listed below are several ways that our mindset can influence the 6 different areas of wellness. Within each area are ways (not necessarily positive or negative) that wellness is impacted.

 

Mindset and lifestyle

  • How we view our work

 

Mindset and mental

  • Ability to manage control within our lives (external or internal of control)
  • Ability to persist
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Ability to see potential for ourselves

 

Mindset and emotions

  • How we view and/or value or feelings
  • How we react to our feelings (i.e., how we handle break-ups, let downs, being fired from work)
  • How we process (hold on or let go) to certain feelings

 

Mindset and spirituality

  • Our view of spirituality’s importance in our lives
  • Our focus on events/activities that positively/negatively uplift our spirit
  • Our understanding of spiritual/religious traditions that impact our lives and the transference of traditions meanings, relevance, etc.

 

Mindset and physical

  • Our view on the state of our health (old age/ailments inevitable)
  • Our view on our impact on the state of our health (our control on health trajectory, “runs in my family” vs “my family history does not have total control over my health”)
  • Our focus on what we do have control over (diet, physical activities within our level of ability)

 

Mindset and finances

  • Our view of poverty vs prosperity (belief in scarcity or abundance)
  • Our view of how we associate with money and abundance (good vs evil)
  • Our thoughts about what kind of person you have to be to acquire wealth
  • Our level of education and/or awareness towards money (avoidance-“just not good with money,” seeks opportunity to break generation and familial trends with resources)

 

 

Once we learn where our current mindset lays, we can understand the action that we need to take to make the changes we desire. Our actions are purely led by our state of mind and awareness at that time. Understand that change is a process. We don’t just decide we want to adopt a new frame of mind, it is a daily charge to think and view ourselves and our ability differently. Also, please understand that we all have tendencies that overlap in each mindset area. Sometimes we do feel helpless and don’t feel positive or have all the answers, and at other times we get into attack-mode and feel unstoppable!

 

Take the time, do the daily work, and watch your life change right in front of your eyes. I leave you with this quote:

 

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.”-John Maxwell

Chaquita Miller

What does it mean to be WELL?

Living well…what the heck does it mean to live well?

 

Wellness: the current buzzword that you can’t avoid. Everywhere you look, someone is telling you how to improve this or that in the name of wellness!

What I’ve come to learn is that wellness is both subjective and objective. It’s both fluid and static. It can mean one thing to me and another thing to you.

Since you’re here, let me provide some awareness about what wellness means to me. I will break down the 6 areas of wellness I focus and teach others to focus on, what each area is composed of, and a few ways to improve each specific area. Sound good? Great!

What does it mean to be well?

Let’s begin with the definition of wellness (my personal definition): the practice of moving towards a state of self-actualization as we make decisions to become healthier, happier, and purposeful versions of ourselves. Simple enough. Let’s dig into each area.

 

Lifestyle

This area pertains to how you live. What you do (career). The health of your relationships. Our social networks and our philosophy regarding life. It is the area that highlights the “visual” of what our life looks and feels like on a daily basis.

Mental/Psychological

This area pertains to our state of mind. Our patterns of thinking. Our level of mental resiliency. It deals with the mindset and the level of control that we feel we have over our lives.

Emotional

This area pertains to how we feel and our level of awareness of our feelings. This area influences our level of control over our feelings as well as our feelings of connectedness to our environment and others.

Spiritual

This area pertains to the care and management of the human spirit. This area could impact our morals, values, level of spiritual/religious guidance and our understanding of the meaning of our lives.

Physical

This area pertains to the state of our physical health. Our physical health impacts the level of functioning within our body. It deals with the way we provide nutrition to our bodies, the presence (or lack thereof) of disease in our body, our sexual health and the way we use our bodies to live.

Financial

This area pertains to the management of our fiscal resources. Our financial health impacts our ability to tend to our current and ongoing financial obligations as well as our ability to sustain financial emergencies or setbacks. It deals with how prepared, or not, we are to take care of our needs as well as have the opportunity to make choices that allow us to enjoy life.

Why is this even important?

If you find value in self-improvement like I do, taking steps to improve your state of wellness can have multitudinous effects, the most important being improving the quality of your life. An improved quality of life helps you live fully as I believe we were intended to live and ultimately created for. Awareness of each individual area allows us to assess where, and if, we need to make changes to improve. Additionally, all areas of wellness interact with one another, so changes in one area inevitably elicit changes among the other areas.

A few ways we can improve

As mentioned above, taking steps to improve your state of wellness can positively improve the quality of your life. Making the decision to improve is one that does not need to be complicated! I know with everything that we deal with these days, adding more to the plate could sound a bit overwhelming. It can be as simple as committing to 1-2 actions that may have the greatest impact across multiple areas. Start small–pick one action that you can realistically commit to and make that a habit before make any additional changes. The goal is to start where you are and improve from there. Listed below are several actionable items in each area that can help get you started!

Lifestyle Wellness

  • Making time for the things that get you excited.
  • Network within your professional organization by attending events and/or conferences to expand your reach.
  • Make plans with friend you haven’t seen in awhile.
  • Shut down the amount of time you engage on social media–engage face to face!
  • Seek out and engage in healthy, positive relationships, both platonic and romantic.

 

Mental/Psychological Wellness

  • Learn time-management skills. Make a schedule you can stick to for classes, studying, work, exercise, running errands, appointments and all other things that you do.
  • Challenge yourself to try something new.
  • Seek out and read a book on a topic that interests you, just for fun!
  • Learn to prioritize the tasks that are necessary and pertinent to make sure you are hitting on the things that need to be addressed first.
  • Play games (word games, critical thinking, etc.,) that stimulate you mentally

Emotional

  • Set limits, boundaries and know what you are able to handle at any given time. Say “NO” when necessary and stand behind it.
  • Realize that you cannot do everything, all the time. Prioritize what’s most important in the present moment.
  • Practice positive self-talk and give yourself a break. Watch the language that you use and be kind towards yourself.
  • Find a healthy way to manage stress. Stress is inevitable, but don’t wait until it reaches critical mass before you intervene.
  • Seek out and get help from a counselor or therapist if you feel overwhelmed with your emotions and/or your ability to cope with them. Don’t allow continuous ill feelings to fester.

Spiritual

  • Meditate, engage in prayer, or any spiritual practice that you find helps you become more grounded.
  • Find a yoga class online or locally to connect with other likeminded spiritual wellness seekers!
  • Practice gratitude. Keep a daily journal and daily list three things that you are grateful.
  • Practice mindfulness. Make sure you are present when you are in different spaces with people, even yourself. Make a concerted effort to focus on what is happening now.
  • Give your time to a worthy cause by giving back to those less fortunate.

Physical

  • Engage in fun, purposeful movement to get some sweat going! Join a gym, attend a class, or find a video online to help you get moving.
  • Try to cook a new healthy recipe that you haven’t tried before! Use vegetables that you may be unfamiliar with.
  • Practice mindfulness while eating. Eat slowly, and pay attention to how your body feels as you eat.
  • Take time daily to stretch! Long, strong muscles help you with fluid movement, flexibility and keeps you from feeling stiff and rigid.
  • Get your rest. We often have too many tasks that we put on our plate daily, but without sound rest, we can’t even begin to handle the tasks at our fullest capacity without nightly rejuvenation.

Financial

  • Develop a budget and stick to it! It may be challenging at first, but once you see where your money goes each month, you are better able to make adjustments that are consistent with your financial goals.
  • Visit financial websites to assist with a variety of financial concerns, tips, services:

www.thebudgetnista.com

www.livericheracademy.com

www.daveramsey.com

www.darrellclaytor.com

 

  • Put your savings on auto-draft. Don’t give yourself a chance to spend money you should be saving. Start small (5%) and eventually increase the amount that you are able to save as you improve your financial wellness.
  • Downsize and reduce accumulation of materials things that are not necessary. Identify what your “needs” are versus your “wants.” Be clear of what falls into each of these categories.
  • To curb impulse purchases, give yourself time to decide if it’s something that you really need or want. If 1-2 days later you feel that the purchase is a worthy one, feel confident in your decision.

 

What we should always be mindful of is that living well is something that we practice forever! Wellness is not a place or destination to arrive at, it’s a journey as well as a practice to implement for the length of our days. Our wellness journey is ours and ours only and should not be compared to others. Our situations will affect us and be unique to us, as we are individually different! Focus on the areas that may have the greatest impact, take action in these areas, and then continue to work on other areas as progress is made. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to wellness, so do not set your sights on this un-achievable goal. Take intentional action and begin to improve the quality of your life, one day at a time!

 

Chaquita Miller

The Magic of Healing

Reconstruction. Renewal. Rejuvenation. Healing is the empowering space that happens after we endure hurt. Healing is this magical space that comes like the rainbow after a storm. More often than not, it happens as we are still experiencing our “trauma.”We are simultaneously dealing with the pain and piecing ourselves together. But what does it really mean to heal? Does that mean we are fixed and perfect? Are we replenished and put back together? It depends. Usually when we heal, we have been broken, or scarred, and we form new skin, so to speak, that is stronger, tougher, more resilient than before. Are we the same as before? Not usually. Sometimes we have developed the ability to bounce back quicker. We may still have the fear of re-injury, but we have healed and know that we are capable.

The magic comes when we learn that healing looks and feels different for each person. What becomes one person’s path of recovery may be the path of destruction of another. We must begin to understand the purpose of our pain and in that moment we can begin to understand our triumph in assuage.

Healing in its many modalities can likely become the salve to alleviate our discomforts. We may be in need of healing of the spirit. Healing of the mind. Healing of the body. We may choose one or varying methods to aid in our recovery. However one proceeds, be intentional on your journey. Be mindful of what shows up. What stays with us. Let us not be victims of our pain, but become champions of our magical ability to rebuild and regenerate.

 

 

Chaquita Miller