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Therapy DIY's: How to challenge your mindset

16 minute read

 Did you know that we all have a mechanism called the 'negativity bias'? This is where our brain pays attention to what is negative more than what is positive.3  This can come from the need to stay safe in our surroundings, with the negativity bias becoming your shield from anything that feels threatening to your sense of safety.6 

However, the mind that produces negative thoughts and influences you to make negative life choices, is the very same mind that has the power to influence you to make positive life choices.3

Becoming aware of your thought patterns and understanding how they impact your daily life can help to inspire positive change through intentional steps. Engaging in positive thinking strategies can shift your mind’s frequency from a negative channel, to a more sustainable and encouraging channel. Below we have put together some strategies that you can do at home to challenge your mindset!

 

Mindfulness 💭

It’s important to recognise that your thoughts have the power to affect how you feel. If you can recognise this, you will commence your journey towards taking control of your internal power.3  Some questions you can ask yourself to practice being mindful include: 

  • “What are my thoughts?”
  • Are they negative or positive?”
  • “Why did I think that?” 
  • “How did this make me feel?”3


Turn your frown upside down 😊

When we practice positive self-talk, we are opening up our mind to ways of thinking that can produce a surge of energy, rather than feeling the effect of negative thoughts.3

Because we are more inclined to thinking negatively, try not to say anything to yourself you wouldn't say to others, or want them to say you.3, 4  For example, if you think: 'I will never be good at this,' you can challenge it by saying: 'I will do my best to learn and mistakes are normal.'

Consider how this gentle challenge might change how you feel.3 

Planting the right seeds 🌱

An experiment was conducted by Choube & Sharma (2021) to test the power of positive and negative words on the growth of plants. Choube & Sharma arranged two plants in the same environment and provided them with the same nourishment.

The first plant, named Jerry, was placed in a room with other plants and infused with daily positive words and energy, receiving phrases like 'seeing you blossom makes us happy, 'be healthy' and 'we love you', with gentle voices and soft attitudes (p.39).  The second plant, Tom, was isolated from the other plants and told negative words phrases 'useless plant', 'you are so stupid', carried with an aggressive pitch each time (p.39).

Over the course of 30 days, each plant was measured and observed to assess the power of words and tone. The result was that Tom's growth was stifled, his appearance frail and fragile, with yellow spots on the leaves. Jerry however, was vibrant, green and stood much taller than Tom.

Choube & Sharma's conclusions indicate that words have the power to bring out your best and energise you, as much as they do to wilt and weaken you. This research also shows that isolation can have a huge impact on your mental health. If you notice yourself withdrawing socially when you are feeling down, you may begin to feel worse as a result. Ultimately, you have the power within you to wilt or grow, and it all starts with how you speak to yourself.

Daily gems 💎

When we take on the negative occurrences in our day, it can lead to extensive and draining overwhelm, just like Tom.1  However, you can challenge those negative beliefs by keeping a gratitude diary that reminds you of all the positive things occurring in your day.4  By doing this, you can learn to overpower your negative thinking with a new outlook, so your mind feels strong and healthy (e.g. dopamine, serotonin etc.). 1, 2

Love is in the air 💕

The people in your life that care about you most can be a great source of comfort in difficult times.2  Tom the plant grew without strength as it was away from support, while Jerry, who had support, was given the best environment to thrive in.1  The same applies to people. If you surround yourself with people that make you feel love and warmth, you have a better environment to flush out your stress hormones and replace them with love hormones such as oxytocin.2

Find your sunshine 🌞

You may notice yourself depleted when the skies are grey, and the sun is absent. This is largely related to the production of serotonin in the body, which is the mood stabilizer that relieves sadness and depression.2  Even when you exercise, you are allowing yourself to produce endorphins and dopamine, which cleanse you of your draining hormones and fill you up with a sense of relief, achievement and relaxation.2  Try getting out for some sunshine or a walk to build those positive hormones.

Get your groove on 🎧

When speaking about frequencies, the power of music speaks volumes. Music releases good chemicals in the brain like dopamine (pleasure hormone) and serotonin (mood stabiliser), which reduce stress and anxiety.2  Upbeat music is best for trying to combat your low energy, to infuse yourself with a positive vibe and lift your spirits.2

 

Your power is your mind

When you realise just how much you're capable of, how you can control your mindset and how it can change your life, you will truly begin to understand that you have the power to transform your world of black and white into one with burst of colours, all through the power of mindset!

 


 

About Asuria Wellbeing Services

Asuria provides a range of wellbeing services to empower you with the knowledge, tools, and skills to help you get and keep a job. The Asuria Wellbeing Specialist Team are highly trained, registered allied health professionals, including psychologists, social workers and counsellors. We will support you every step of the way, by conducting evidence-based assessments and delivering counselling interventions if you are having trouble finding or keeping a job.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Asuria’s Wellbeing Specialist services, call 1800 773 338 or visit our website.


 

 

Written by Hala Salah, Counsellor and Psychotherapist – Asuria Wellbeing Specialist

Hala Salah works in our Wellbeing Team as a Wellbeing Specialist to provide Allied Health services through her experience as a dedicated counsellor and psychotherapist.

Bringing years of experience to her role within Asuria, Hala and her team work to provide support of the highest quality to our clients.

Hala

 

 


References: 

[1] Choube, D. and Sharma, S. (2021) “Psychological and Physiological Effect in Plant Growth and Health by using Positive and Negative Words,” International Journal Of Innovative Research In Technology, 8(1), pp. 38–40. 

 [2] Pietrangelo, A. (2021) Types of depression: Chronic, episodes, and more, Healthline. Healthline Media.

 3] Sparks, D. (2019) Mayo mindfulness: Overcoming negative self-talk - mayo clinic news network, Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

 [4] Steimer, T. (2002) “The biology of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors,” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 4(3), 231–249. 

[5] Suttie, J. (2020) “How to Overcome Your Brain’s Fixation on Bad Things,” Greater Good, [1].

[6] Vaish, A., Grossmann, T. and Woodward, A. (2008) “Not all emotions are created equal: The negativity bias in social-emotional development.,” Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), pp. 383–403.

 

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