For real, you work on your body in preparation for summer, why not your mind?
I know, you’re at the gym daily now that summer is around the corner. This is the time of year my clients ask me what are the top three things they can do to quickly get that summer body (and yes, they ‘re used to the “top three” method-of-my-madness). Why not work on your mental health too? Get a sexy summer mind why don’t you!
As lovely as low body fat is, there is nothing sexier than a brilliant and resilient mind. What can you do to build up those neurological muscles?
- Learn how to learn. One of my favorite recommendations in my Executive Coaching program is the game of gaming. You download a game (free game) on your tablet and play it for 5 to 15 minutes a day. You do this daily until you understand and are decently competent in said game. Then you delete it and download another. This is an ongoing event. What it does is teach your brain how to stay open to learning something completely new, and being comfortable with that. Your brain doesn’t like this, as it needs to habitualize everything. You’re taking control and teaching it to be open to new data, new thinking, learning, observation, and different modes of reaction. Caution: there is no need to buy anything within the gaming realm. This is not an effort to win or dominate a game (and a few clients will know exactly what I’m talking about). You delete the game once you move on to the next because you’re teaching the brain how to learn and stay open to new data… not simply master the data. Two different things.
- Practice gratitude. Positive thoughts create positive outcomes. When you think negatively, or assume a negative consequence, you’re likely to create self-sabotaging actions. Practicing gratitude puts your brain in the right place to ensure movement forward on your goals (whether they’re personal or professional). When you wake (and again when you lay down to sleep) spend 2-5 minutes thinking about anything that brings you joy, happiness, or love. Don’t think about the day ahead, your to-do list, problems that need resolution, just think about something joyful. Even if it’s a memory of something from the past (a lovely vacation, the sunrise from Haleakala). Think about how this thought fills your head and heart with joy, peace, love. Be thankful for this. Say to yourself “I am grateful for the joy, peace, and love in my life.” Do this no matter what is really going on or how shitty you feel… fake it ’til you make it. You’re creating joy in your brain and it’s a biochemical response. You may have created the opposite due to stress in your life. Your brain habitualizes everything, including emotional responses. You’re training it not to focus on the negative, but to focus on the positive, to create a biochemically positive response to life events, and that you have control over this. This creates emotional resilience.
- Feed your brain. What you put into yourself matters. Your brain consumes two things: nutrients and external stimulation. When it comes to nutritional content, no sugar, lower carbs, proper vitamin and mineral balance, and a no-processed-foods diet play a significant part of ensuring it’s fed correctly. You don’t put the wrong fuel in your car, do you? Would you risk your car’s performance, or its condition, just to save money or time? No. Your brain is much more valuable than your car. Give it the nutrients it needs. External stimulation also affects how you think, what you think, and what you need to respond to. It creates neuro pathways to how you respond. You have a great deal of control over your external stimulus. You choose what TV/Movies you watch, what music you listen to, who your friends are, what you read, what hobbies you have, what you surround yourself with. Be very diligent about this. Surround yourself with things that make you better, that challenge you to improve, that support you and your goals, that create positive impacts in your life… and remove those things that don’t. Don’t be complacent here. Don’t be lazy. Don’t be cowardly. This is your brain and your life. Feed it well.
Like working out, this isn’t easy. Your brain is very comfortable not changing a thing. However, you always have room to improve and be the best you possible. These three activities will make you grow, thrive (not just survive), be happy, increase productivity, create a smarter and more emotionally resilient self, and allow you to be successful in your life goals. Now let’s see those sexy minds of yours…. oooo, that’s hot 😉