3 Tips for Changing Your Mental Diet and Changing Your Mental Health
Updated: Sep 7
Imagine feeding your stomach nothing but junk food day after day after day.
You're in a hurry so you grab some fast food. You wash it down with a soda that is filled with sugar. Then for a snack in the afternoon, you grab some processed food and coffee filled with cream and sugar.
You wake up the next day and you're feeling tired and foggy headed so you drink some extra caffeine and grab an easy and unhealthy breakfast on the go because you woke up late, and the cycle goes on forever...
This unhealthy diet lowers your energy levels and slowly takes from your desire to be more active and social. The nutrient and vitamin-lacking diet also begin to weaken your immune system leaving you more susceptible to sicknesses, and you slowly but surely experience a decline in your health.
With these habits would you have any reason to be shocked if your health was always in question?
Believe it or not, our mental health is very similar.
Can you relate to this at all?
You get home from a busy day and want to relax so you binge watch a drama series on Netflix and fall asleep on the couch, only wake up in the middle of the night and drag yourself to your bed.
You wake up tired and hurry out the door only to fill your mind with the fear that the news pumps out on your way to work and your anxiety and stress have bubbled to the surface of your psyche before you even get to work.
BUT, when was the last time you sat down and thought about what you've been thinking about?
Without taking the time to feed our mind a healthy diet, we can't expect a healthy thought life.
We wouldn't cook up a dinner by throwing a whole bunch of random ingredients into a pot and shaking it up and sticking it in the oven. So why do we do that with the content that we fill our mind with?
For years I've worked with people from all walks of life through Life Coaching and Recovery Coaching, and for years I've used this analogy to paint the picture of the importance of our mental diet. "Our mind is like our spiritual stomach, what it is we feast on will be digested through our words and actions."
When it comes to personal transformation, I wholeheartedly believe that we need to change our thought life in order to change, but a change in thoughts won't get us far if it's not partnered with practical action steps. Here are some practical action steps to help you get the shift you've been wanting in your personal life.
1- Morning Routine
I can honestly say that my morning routine has changed my life. For over 11 years the vast majority of mornings I get up before the sun and read, write, and pray. It gets my mind in the right place before I face whatever the day has for me.
"Jocko Willink is a former Navy SEAL commander who lead SEAL Team Three's Task Unit Bruiser during the height of the Iraq War....at 4:30 AM Willink heads straight to the gym for a grueling strength workout which lasts around one hour. He finishes his workout with a thirty minute jog, and jumps in the shower at approximately 6 a.m to get ready for the day ahead. It's this routine and consistency which he credits to his massive business success in life after the military."
I'm not suggesting that you have to have Jocko's routine in order to have any success in life, but the dreams in your heart aren't going to magically appear without consistency and hard work.
You may not want to wake up early and do my routine or Jocko's, but I can promise you that finding a morning routine and following it (regardless of how you fell) will add many benefits to your life.
2- Books, Movies, News, Music, etc...
It may not seem like a big deal, but the information we fill our minds with does become the filter through which we see the world. In early recovery, I changed the music I listened to, the books I read, the movies I watched, and I stopped watching the news.
"If the TV program generates a negative mood (anxiety, sadness, anger, or disgust), these experiences will affect how you interpret events in your own life, what types of memories you recall, and how much you will worry about events in your own life."
If we look at our bodies and lives as a vehicle that we have been given to use for good or bad, then the information we fill our minds with is the fuel for our vehicle. If our vehicles are going to run at their prime we need fuel that promotes hope and faith, not fear and anxiety.
3- Surround Yourself With People That Have What You Want In Life
"Show me your friends and I'll tell you your future."
How is it I'm supposed to learn a new way of living if I don't put myself around people who model that new way of living for me? I was told in early recovery to surround myself with people that have what I wanted in life, I did it, and it worked.
The same was true in my addiction. I surrounded myself with people whose life was a mess, and my life quickly became a mess. I applied the same principle in recovery and my life quickly got better.
The environments we frequent and the people we hang out with will draw strengths and weaknesses to the surface. When we position ourselves around people that want to draw the strength out of us, that strength will come to the surface.
Here is some final food for thought on #3.
Does your tribe want you to win?
Do your friends celebrate your successes, and encourage you when you get discouraged? If the tribe you run with doesn't do that, it might be time to find a tribe that wants you to succeed and shine.
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