Up until four or so years ago, I knew about mental health and how important it was, but I figured I was fine and didn’t need to manage my own. I mean, technically, I never had any sort of mental health disorder. I’ve always been super disciplined, so I figured me just getting up daily, working out, eating right, working, and overall living my life was good enough.
That is, until I really started elevating my entire approach to wellness (which was right around the time I began exploring my spiritual side), where I began recognizing that every part of me is connected. I began recognizing in meditation that my thoughts were just thoughts and weren’t true unless I decided to make them so. I began noticing when I would have negative thoughts and questioning them, then deciding to release them and replace them with brand new, better-feeling thoughts. I basically learned how to control my mindset, and became really good at it. Which, by the way, literally anyone can do if you commit yourself to doing it daily and integrating it into your life.
In doing this consistently, I slowly began to change as a person. I became more calm and less reactive. I became more confident. I became more in tune with myself and really learned how to listen to and trust my own intuition over anyone else’s opinions. I became more certain of my own beliefs and values, and became crystal clear on who I wanted to be and what I wanted my life to look like. I became more equipped to be able to enter an annoying situation, like dealing with flaky ass people cancelling last minute on shoots, and rather than getting pissed and letting it ruin my day, adopting the knowledge that it was just one thing that happened that had nothing to do with me, releasing my frustration, and instead deciding to pivot immediately and change my plans.
On my journey to become a true master of my own mindset, I also learned stuff like removing and rearranging my limiting beliefs and old stories around areas like my work schedule, finances, setting boundaries with other people, feeling really comfortable saying “no” without worrying about upsetting someone else, and that everything I need to create, say, do, and/or bring to life is already within me. Yes, this shit goes deep.
Like I said, literally anyone can do this with daily, consistent practice. I wasn’t born wired this way. I taught myself how to be this way.
Here are some of my favorite tools and tactics for mastering my mindset and drastically improving the state of my mental health:
- Meditating. I meditate every single day, often for five minutes at a time. I’ve heard people say “I don’t have time for that,” which is a. An excuse, because everyone has five minutes to spare and b. A cop out, because what’s the alternative? Keep living life with a chaotic brain, spinning your wheels? Meditating isn’t this big scary thing. It’s literally just sitting down and zoning out, focusing on only your breathing, and learning how to quiet your mind. Because it’s in that state in which your subconscious can release all the wonders it’s been holding on to, that you, in your normal day-to-day state, drown out with all the internal mental chatter and random thought loops. Meditating is now something I can’t live without. It’s like an instant “reset” for your brain. I like to do it first thing in the morning while my mind is still fresh and to set the tone for the rest of my day. Just Google “five minute meditation,” or even just play ambient sounds, and do it.
- Getting intentional about what I consume. The world we live in now is so fast paced. We’re bombarded on the daily with ads, social media feeds, news…just a fuck ton of information to the point where it’s overload. Not only that, but whether we notice or not, we are actually consuming and processing this. So, for example, if there’s someone on your social media feed who complains all day every day, mute that shit. If you’re scrolling Instagram and see someone with a sick house and sick outfit and seemingly amazing life, but you’re not at the place where you can feel happy for them and instead feel bad about yourself, mute that shit. If you’re constantly watching the news, or if it’s even playing in the background of your day-to-day all day, you are absorbing all of that negativity whether you know it or not, and it is affecting you. If you’re constantly reading celebrity gossip magazines, the lives of other people are constantly going to be occupying your head space rent-free. I do this with literally everything in my life, from who I follow on socials to what I watch on TV to the material I read. It all counts. I only choose to follow/read/listen to content that uplifts and/or inspires me.
- Limit my screen time. Even though the majority of my work does require me to spend time on my phone and/or online, I’m still as intentional as possible about this. As in, if I’m posting on Instagram, I’ll post what I have to post, spend a few minutes engaging with other accounts and my followers, then I get the fuck off. I spent many years spending way too much time online, just hustling hard, sharing my content everywhere, checking for feedback nonstop…until I realized just how unnecessary and detrimental it was. I’m intentional about my screen time and make sure I’m using it for the right reasons, and I don’t spend any more time on there than necessary because that takes away from me actually living my real life, in real time.
- More proactivity, less reactivity. I am not a slave to emails, texts, phone calls, etc. I have a personal filtering process that I use to screen stuff like texts. If they’re from certain important people in my life and/or they require an immediate response, I respond. If not, it can wait. My text inbox typically has 50+ unread messages. I think it’s incredibly invasive for people to assume that if they text me then I’ll respond immediately. I’m not on call. I’ll get to them when I get to them. It’s nothing personal. It’s that I literally cannot function at the level of productivity I need if I’m spending all my time reacting to messages. I answer my emails maybe twice a week. And wouldn’t you know, everything continues to ebb and flow smoothly. If I were constantly reacting to any and all messages that came my way, I would constantly be thrown out of my groove and be far less productive.
- Journaling. Writing for me is extremely therapeutic. Near daily, I’ll open my journal and just write whatever comes out without filtering or editing myself. For me, this is a way to take all the chaos that’s swirling around in my brain and get it out onto paper so that I can actually see it. It’s a way for me to organize my thoughts and get clarity around my inner workings.
- Therapy. I’ve been doing near-weekly therapy sessions for the past year and a half or so, and it’s been a game changer. Sometimes I’ll go a few weeks without it, but I find it’s been extremely helpful to me as far as getting an unbiased opinion/guidance from a trained professional on my life to help guide me in the right direction. We all have blind spots. Therapy has helped me be able to pull back the curtain on mine, and recognize stuff like behavioral patterns that I can change so I can show up to my own life better.
- Hobbies. As in, doing stuff just for fun without trying to monetize it. For me, this has been a challenge because as someone who’s in business for herself, I never really “shut off.” But I’ve found that stuff like this blog, where I can at least share it with others, has been a super rewarding hobby for me. Other hobbies I’ve found I really enjoy are stuff like hiking + doing outdoor activities, playing games, dance class, doodling…basically just fun stuff simply for the sake of pleasure. This not only brings me joy and allows my brain to shut off while I live fully in the moment, but giving myself time to do this stuff also means that I show up to my life refreshed, recharged, and in a far better headspace than if I were to just work nonstop with no breaks.
I’ve ultimately realize that it’s been in the small (but consistent), day-to-day changes I’ve made in my life that really add up over time and have ultimately made a huge impact, for the better, on the state of my mental health. All it takes is deciding to take it one moment, one day at a time, because it’s from the present that the future is created.
You are truly an amazing inspiration. I hope all is well with you.
You’re a good writer, among other things. Thanks for sharing this.