Creating a Mindset for Health

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do? What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

That thing is mindset.

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

Very interesting health mindset study

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

There are a couple of ideas why. One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health. Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

Health Mindset Strategy 1 – Don’t Try to Be Perfect

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

It can bring on binging, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

Health Mindset Strategy 2 – Stop making tradeoffs

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend. 

And that’s not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

Health Mindset Strategy 3 – Everything is Neutral

Could you consider that every event that happens is neutral?  Our tendency is to think about every event through our filters, and respond based on our experiences and beliefs.  What if you could pause, choose your perspective and consciously decide how you respond, instead of having a knee jerk reaction?  I’ve found practicing this process of pausing and choosing my perspective and response to situations to be life changing for the better.  

Health Mindset Strategy 4 – I Love My Body

What is your self-talk about your body?  Do you go head to toe and appreciate every cell, organ and system?   If not, could you start to talk nice to your body, and shift those patterns and mental habits to appreciation?  I’ve used Louise Hay’s Love Your Body audio for years for guided affirmations of love toward each body part, and found it very helpful to shift mindset about my body, and recommend using it every day.   

Health Mindset Strategy 5 – Practice

Our brains are wired to look out for danger and keep us safe, so it takes practice to shift from looking for problems to creating positive thoughts about our bodies.  Start out by noticing when a negative thought pops up.  Then, play with what thoughts could you think that would serve your health goals better and be more positive.  Make it a game.  Keep track of how many times per day that you shifted your thoughts to positive, and celebrate these wins.

Conclusion

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, choosing your perspective, focusing on events as neutral, loving your body and practicing shifting thoughts all day can help you reach your health goals.

Recipe (Afternoon Mindset Refresher): Chia Lime Coconut Water

Serves 1

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 Tablespoon lime juice, sliced

8 ounces coconut water (Taste Nirvana in glass bottles is my favorite brand.)

Instructions

Add the chia seeds & lime juice to your favorite coconut water bottle. Fill to top with water.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Shake before drinking.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-over-matter-how-fit-you-think-you-are-versus-actual-fitness-2017081412282
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-health-decisions-mindsets-numbers-and-stories-201112123946

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

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