Is Your Mind Getting Fat?

by Hassler, Christine Thursday, April 14, 2011
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Yesterday as I was packing my lunch in my new Easylunchbox that has built in dividers like a bento box, a metaphor came to mind about portion control (you know how I love metaphors!). If you were attempting to release weight, decreasing your portions of high-calorie food while increasing your consumption of nutritional veggies and fruits would be an effective strategy. Imagine the benefits of applying the same principle of portion control to your thoughts! To loose some mental weight, decrease the amount of time you spend thinking of things that create anxiety, fear, sadness, etc. while increasing your portions of self-affirming and grateful thoughts.

You realize how powerful your thoughts are, don’t you? If you need a reminder, think about something that stresses you out and see how you feel. My guess is not as good as you feel when you think about something or someone that you love. When we change our thoughts, we change our life.

I understand that sometimes life hands us lemons we need time to process and reflect upon before making lemonade. The problem is we often end up OVER-indulging in worrisome, critical, depressing or hopeless thoughts! We even get addicted to gorging ourselves on the kinds of thoughts that are not good for us. Consider how big of a portion you are giving negative thoughts and all the negative energy you are consuming by thinking them. When negative thoughts do arise, exercise willpower by giving them a smaller portion on your mental plate.

How can you do this? Think about how you could curb a craving for chocolate by allowing yourself to have a small portion. A helpful tool to curb your cravings for thoughts that weigh you down is to designate a certain amount of time you will allow yourself to think them. For instance, years ago when going through a break-up I spent the majority of my day thinking thoughts about my ex, what happened, what I did wrong, and all kinds of other thoughts that kept me feeling awful. I realized that my mind was working against me and a lobotomy seemed like my only option. Until I had an idea…I could practice portion controlling my thoughts! Since I couldn’t forget about the break-up entirely (just like we cannot give up food entirely) I set the intention to designate a time when I was “allowed” to think negative thoughts. For 15 minutes every morning and 15 minutes every evening, I had permission to think about the relationship and feel all the emotions that accompanied those thoughts. The rest of the day, I committed to keeping my thoughts in the present moment. Each time a thought would pop in about the break-up or my ex, I would inwardly say to myself “Stop, it’s not time for that now, I can think those thoughts during the designated time.”

I invite you to UPdate what is on your mental plate. You cannot control what happens in life but you do have a choice about what and how much you think about it. With a loving self-discipline, you have the ability to feed yourself with thoughts that are nourishing to your mind, body and soul.