On Purpose with Jay Shetty – 6 Ways to Transform A Negative Mindset
We will learn about the 3-step formula monks use to train themselves to be more mindful and present in the moment, the achievable steps to help improve our focus, and how to teach our mind to adapt and learn faster.
By practicing meditation regularly, we can learn to control our minds and create internal resilience in times of stress and struggle, just like experienced monks. The current lockdown is an opportunity to start this practice.
In challenging times, it’s important to look for opportunities and train yourself to equate change with opportunity. Having clear intentions, intense focus, and strong motivation can help you continuously grow and learn.
Balancing direction, focus and motivation
To reshape our brains and reach our goals, we need to balance three key factors: direction, focus, and motivation, along with periods of deep rest.
During the learning process, our brains release two key neurochemicals: acetylcholine, which helps to create actual changes to the brain during rest, and noradrenaline, which gets us amped up and ready to perform.
While some initial agitation or frustration is normal when pushing ourselves to perform at the edge of our capacity, we must train ourselves to overcome these feelings and sustain our effort with the help of occasional hits of dopamine. Chunking tasks and giving ourselves mental high-fives can help keep us going.
How experienced monks can control their mental state and how we can too
Experienced monks have an astonishing degree of mental control, which allows them to switch into meditation mode almost instantly. They achieve this through a regular life of meditation without any special training program.
Studies show that they can control their focus, compassion, and even indicators of happiness in the face of challenges. The good news is that we can all learn to control our minds in the same way, especially in times of stress and struggle.
By mastering our internal experiences, we can create resilience, regardless of external circumstances. The current lockdown can be your own personal monastery, where you can practice ways to switch your mind and create peace within.
The science and philosophy of goal-setting and motivation
Setting small goals and achieving them releases dopamine in our brain, which gives us a sense of accomplishment and motivates us to keep going. Other activities, such as laughter, feeling supported, and a sense of playfulness, also release dopamine.
Monks approach goal-setting by linking their goals to deep values, such as learning, rather than superficial pursuits, such as ego. When training for focus, mindfulness can be helpful in acknowledging distractions and letting them go without judgment.
Motivation can be driven by fear, desire, duty, or love, and understanding our motivations can help us stay on track towards our goals. Asking yourself “why” can help connect your goals to your values.
Finding lasting motivation through service to others
- Our motivations can either exhaust us or create meaning in our lives. Fear and personal gratification may provide short-term motivation, but love and duty create lasting meaning. Aligning our work and goals with service to others is the ultimate hack to stay motivated and energized.
- It creates a self-reinforcing reward system, boosting our self-esteem and creating connections with others. To bring peace to our everyday lives, we must make our environment supportive of our development.
- Remove or limit things that put us in an anxious or reactive state, pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells around us, and focus on the positive emotions that come with serving others.
How to start your day positively in the digital age
Starting your day by checking social media or email can leave you feeling negatively affected. The solution is to control what you see and minimize interaction with your smartphone. Surround yourself with positive visuals, such as inspirational quotes, and enjoy scents that calm or energize you.
Additionally, control the sounds around you to avoid negative influences on your mood. You can rewire your brain to focus on the positive by creating a list of opportunities to pursue and setting one achievable goal. With neuroplasticity, your brain can continue to grow and reorganize, giving you significant influence over your daily life.
Cultivating positive mental habits through self-talk and reflection
Consistently using your mind in a positive or negative way can create unconscious mental habits. The brain is wired towards negativity, so it’s important to intentionally shift your thinking towards positivity by using self-talk. Reframing negative self-talk with a focus on solutions can create positivity and rewire the brain.
Meditation is another tool that can boost brain function. Reflecting on negative emotions and finding ways to reframe them can break patterns of negativity. Changing your self-talk takes effort, but change is possible with consistent effort in the right direction. Share your positive self-talk strategies with others to help them on their journey.