3 Ways to Improve Mental Hygiene

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It feels like the thoughts in my brain become extraordinarily more vicious as soon as I become conscious of them.

Several days ago, someone told me how in Toltec philosophy, they believe that there are etherial beings that act as parasites to our beings. Similar to the story of the two wolves, the parasite feeds on certain negative emotions that are particular to each individual, and thus puts us in situations that will create more of this emotion on which it can feed.

Truthfully, if I had to guess what mine was feeding off of? It would be sadness. Now, regardless of whether or not the Toltec philosophy plays to your world views on this point doesn’t matter. This conversation of habitual patterns and self-talk comes up time and time again in pop psychology.

We, as humans, have a tendency to have extremely negative self-talk. Things we would never say to any one else, especially someone we care about. What causes this type of behavior? Perhaps it is the “parasite” or the ego or our culture or perhaps that is just how the mind works.

Interestingly enough, I have been playing with the idea that my negative emotions are parasitic. That they do, in fact, harm and degrade my mental hygiene and feelings of self worth. By choosing to actively listen to my thoughts, I have seen that it is practically second nature for my mind to start thinking about negative things. Or, in other words, my mind continuously vacillates between the judge and the victim. So I have begun an experiment: Every time I start to think negatively, I actively replace those thoughts with something positive, with something that I am truly in love with, happy with, or excited for.

The effects have been extraordinary. I feel as though I am witnessing myself choosing to place the bowl of food in front of the good and kind wolf, watching the negative and sad wolf angrily fight me for its regain of strength. Another way to look at it, is that I have changed brands: At first, I was feeding myself with thoughts that engendered more negativity and now I have replaced those thoughts (or, at least, I am trying to) with thoughts that engender positivity. ❤

So what are ways that we can all do this? To keep our mental hygiene in check so that our thoughts don’t go running with the wolves, so to speak.

3 Ways to Improve Hygiene:

Floss Your Thoughts:

Become aware of what you are saying to yourself, especially when you are experiencing a trying situation and especially when you are not “listeninyou are enoughg”. What I mean by this is that our minds seem to be chatting to us constantly. Try to observe what you are thinking when you are not thinking of anything in particular. Soon you may see that there are lies you have taken for granted as truth, simply because there wasn’t active focus on your thoughts.

Brush Up On Your Positive Affirmation:

Run of the mill hippy-chick tip? Yes. Very powerful? Yes. I have watched my life turn around, just by having nice things I routinely said to myself. I like to pick one or two phrases that are my go-to positive thoughts. Keep them in your back pocket to say to yourself whenever you need. This will take your mind away from the negative thinking and give you the keys to positivity. Similarly to when people say “fake it till you make it”, telling your mind positive thoughts, sends chemical signals and responses that can actually make you a happier person over time.

Wash your Thoughts of Negativity:

One step beyond the affirmations is actually getting into your brain and consciously replacing a negative thoughts with positive ones. An example of this would be: “Wow, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on that report, even though I prepared for it. I’m an idiot. I hate myself.” Catch yourself. Take a breath, rewind, cut, replace, repeat: “Wow, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on that report, even though I prepared for it. I bet there are ways I could improve next time. I know that I did my very best.”

 

So there you have it folks. Please feel free to comment or share bellow ❤ I would love to hear your thoughts, insights, and opinions on the matter.

The Silver Lining in Darkness

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I have to apologize for being absent the past few weeks. It seems that life has taken a turn into a mode of crisis. Many people take winter in as a time reserved for deep reflection and introspection; a time of hibernation; to rejuvenate so we may plant new seeds in the spring. The parts of us that no longer serve us have reached into the earth causing us to draw inward.

As I have begun to dig deep into my roots during this winter season, I see that I have delved deep into the shadow self. The solstice seems to mark a time of completion. I look upon my year knowing I have spent many of my days wrestling with the shattered parts of me I would rather not address. Like a steady stream under the darkened sky, I reflect a water that is blackened, but I am not black. The sutras ask us to be like a diamond: reflecting the colors of that which is around us, without attaching or defining ourselves as that color because as soon as the color is taken away, we will find we remain a diamond; pure, clear, and brightly shining.

As the days get shorter, colder, and the sky begins to fill with snow, I find myself in a place of reflection for this past year. In honor of the solstice, I took the opportunity to set my intentions for what I would like to cultivate in the coming year, 2016. After writing all of my thoughts down on paper, I found what I need the most is forgiveness.

As we all delve into our shadow self, the need to judge, the deflect, and project our problems elsewhere arises. I encourage you to find what needs healing in your life during this time and take an action step to heal it. If you need to forgive someone, do it. If you need to let go of something/someone, do it. If you need to stand up for yourself, to hold your ground, do it. Whatever medicine of the spirit you find yourself looking for, don’t withhold it from yourself any longer.

Know that there is a silver lining in the darkness. What you are searching for in the new year can be created.