We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” Many times what is true for the body, is also true for the mind. In other words, what you feed your attention is what you become.
Your perception of the world around you is more or less a projection of how you feel about yourself. Stay focused on worry, self-criticism, resentment, and internal loathing, the world around you will start to look the same way.
If all you ever did was focus your attention on what’s wrong with the world around you, you’d start to do the same within yourself. Do you find yourself focusing on the dark clouds of life so intently that you don’t see their silver linings? If so, those dark clouds will shadow everything you see, do, or touch.
Our experiences change our nervous systems; the term for this is experience-dependent neuroplasticity. If each of your experiences is clouded with self-doubt, worry, or fear, then all of your experiences will be shadowed the same way, even the ones that are meant to bring you joy and happiness.
We are what we focus our attention on. So, if you find yourself in a constant state of depression, anxiety, fear, or loathing, then you must change the attention of your focus. No, I’m not telling you to ignore what’s wrong in the world around you, I’m just asking that you accept it while you focus your attention on what is pleasant and enjoyable. From THAT state of mind, you can work to fix whatever else is broken in your life. In other words, you must first fix what is broken on the inside before you can ever hope to fix what is broken on the outside.
Many times we focus so intently on the brokenness of our lives that we stay broken because it’s what we’ve given our attention to. No, I’m not telling you to be oblivious of the bad things in life, I’m just asking you to love yourself enough to put your attention on all the good. Then and only then can you be part of the solution.
If you find yourself gravitating towards the dark, buy yourself a journal and write the answer to these three questions at the end of each day.
- What was I grateful for today?
- What was the best part of my day?
- Who did I encourage today?
That’s it, answer those three questions, every day. Keep it positive, relive each answer as you write them. Think about it and why you are answering each question the way you’re answering them. Be mindful of how you feel when you write out your answers. Focus your attention on the good behind your words and remember that you are what you give your attention to.
Each morning, before doing anything else, read your words from the day before. Remind yourself that you’ll be answering the same three questions that night as well. In the beginning, this will be hard, but it will get easier, I promise. Whenever you’ve had a particularly hard day, look back at what you’ve written and relive those good moments in life. Commit to doing this for just two weeks and watch how your life changes for the better.
If you’re feeling particularly bold, write some of your answers in the comment section below.