Face your fears as you approach obstacles
There comes a time when many of us desire to make a fundamental shift in the way we approach life. Learning to embrace challenges is a fundamental part of changing our mindset. But knowing where to start can be overwhelming.
Here are some concrete steps you can take to get yourself on the road toward positive change.
Learn from those who came before
You don’t have to start from scratch when creating a new, more positive mindset. You can find books, articles, and lectures that allow us to see how others have succeeded in overcoming their challenges. Understanding their lessons can take you farther, faster.
For example, Rewire Me’s Owner and Founder, Rose Caiola, created a CD, “Change Your Path.” This interview includes Rose’s wisdom from her own personal journey, creating a resource for people to experience personal transformation. This is direct access to learn from someone who has walked the walk.
Utilize the power of radical acceptance
Radical acceptance does not mean you accept that things will always be the way they are today. It simply means you accept that in this exact moment, things are the way they are.
Embracing the challenges you have in front of you – accepting that those hurdles exist – is crucial. Avoidance or minimization of challenges reduces your ability to approach the issue from a place of strength.
This mindset is a cornerstone of meditation, which asks you to be fully aware of the moment and accept it entirely as it is. As you focus on the present, mindfulness meditation can provide clarity on life’s challenges, help you achieve radical acceptance and then, move forward.
Pinpoint your automatic negative thoughts
Automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) plague most of us in some form or another. Usually, they are so familiar, we don’t even notice we’re thinking them. That’s why pinpointing those ANTs by keeping a list and exposing the faulty-thinking behind them is crucial to achieving change.
Perhaps every time you step into the gym and see a fit member, you think, “I’ll never look like that.” This one thought sets you up for inevitable failure. Stop that thought, visually put it in a garbage can, and think it through:
First, recognize the ANT: do you tend to think negatively about your body image?
Then, find the faulty-thinking behind it (go to your list if you need to): perhaps there are issues there that stem from childhood. Or maybe the thoughts are based on hurtful words said by someone whose opinion mattered to you, but in fact weren’t true.
By recognizing the ANTs and their lack of basis in reality, you can begin to let them go.
But there are always things you can change that are within your control – learning the difference is one of the keys to shifting your mindset. Perhaps you are frustrated because you don’t keep as healthy a diet and exercise routine as you want. Those are things you can change.
Use positive visualizations
One way to effectively face challenges and create change is by using positive visualizations. They create a calm neurological state, rewiring your brain to create more positive thoughts. Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease, and neurotransmitters fire in the brain which feeds the immune system.
Once you have achieved that sense of calm, you can associate a positive image or word with a challenge in your life and change the way you see it. With practice, you can permanently change your mindset about these challenges.
Support of some kind is important. Practicing facing your fears with support allows you to feel stressful emotions without feeling out of control.
In overcoming more extreme fears including phobias and various other mental health disorders, psychologists sometimes use a technique called exposure therapy. This is where a person is slowly exposed to what they fear in a controlled setting.
Whether your fears require a clinical setting or not, the idea of facing your fears sends the message to your brain that you can handle uncomfortable emotions. That may come in the form of a support group, an online group, a friend or a therapist. What matters is that you find it helpful.
Small goals and setbacks
Creating small, achievable goals toward facing your challenges and changing your mindset is important. These steps help you to gain confidence, momentum and have reasonable expectations of yourself.
But remember that there will be moments where you’ll inevitably experience setbacks. Although that sounds negative, accepting this is the way to avoid using disappointment as an excuse to quit. No journey is a straight line. What makes the difference is what you do when things don’t turn out the way you’d planned.
Learning to be more resilient, or coping with stress in a positive way, is an important part of making positive change. If you accept what happened, and get back on track, then you’re already on your way. Meanwhile, resilience’s mental health benefits – decreased depression, better overall life satisfaction and an increased sense of control and positivity – will help you embrace life’s challenges.
For a boost of inspiration for creating change in your life, listen to “The Reinvention of Self” by Dr. Joe Dispenza.