"Our mental health and well-being are profoundly affected by where and how we place our thoughts and attention”.
The quote above was borrowed from a Ted Talk on mindfulness given by Richard Burnett. Although I watched this Ted Talk over a year ago for the first time, I decided to check it out again this past weekend as there are many meaningful messages about mindfulness presented.
My #mindset Monday challenge last week was about practicing self-compassion and honoring how we honestly feel. It can be commonplace to let negative thought patterns slowly creep in and out of our lives. These thought patterns not only drain our batteries of the necessary energy to keep us going, but can directly result in causing us to feel physically unwell.
Since practicing mindfulness with regularity in my life, I’ve become more aware of when these negative thought patterns begin to appear. Whenever I observe these thoughts beginning to take hold, I pause, breathe, acknowledge and accept them but do not allow them to run me over. I simply let them pass while taking a few strong breaths. The Richard Burnett quote above holds so much truth. Our mental health and well being really are profoundly shaped by where we allow our thoughts and attention to roam.
If you had to evaluate your own thought patterns, how would you assess yourself in regards to where you place your thoughts and attention? When work responsibilities pile up, do you begin to shift more toward a negative mindset? At times, in the past, this has happened to me. However, I no longer allow being busy to push me down the path of negativity. Instead I choose to look at it as a challenge that requires me to boost my levels of focus and concentration. Being mindful of how I choose to internalize busyness in my life, has allowed me to become more productive in my personal and professional life.
In Charles F. Haanel’s 'The Master Key System' written in 1912 he states,
“If the state of our health is not all that could be desired, let’s first examine our thinking. Remember that every thought produces an impression on the mind. Every impression is a seed that sinks into the unconscious and forms a tendency. The tendency will be to attract other similar thoughts and these will manifest into conditions.”
My #mindset Monday challenge this week is to practice discipline in being more aware and mindful of where and how I choose to place my thoughts and attention. Mindfulness is a skill that requires determination and grit. So with this intention, from my early morning runs, my walks to and from school, my interactions with my family, colleagues, students, and when life’s little stressors creep into various moments throughout each day, I will ask myself the following questions:
Where are your thoughts? What are you creating with these thoughts? Where is your attention? Is this what you would like to focus on? Are you aware of your breath? Are you present?
Without a doubt, I know that this mindset will have a positive impact on my well-being and mental health this week. Excited to start my beautiful week and jump out of bed tomorrow.
Be thoughtful, be present and strive to look to the good.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily