How To Change Your Mindset (And Save Your Relationship)
In my last post, What’s The Most Important Thing In A Relationship?, I talked about how crucial it is to set a positive tone and make mastering our mindset a priority, so we don’t throw our emotions at our partner like a monkey flinging poop! (Not the cutest look, honestly.) Today, we’re going to discuss how exactly we can do that! Let’s get into it.
BEGIN TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PATTERNS
Awareness is everything. Start to notice when your anxiety, anger, or sadness is rising, and what causes it. You can even keep a little mood journal if you’re really unsure about what you’re feeling on a daily basis! Remember, too, that these negative emotions can be interlinked. For example, when I don’t keep a handle on my anxiety (feeling #1) — by meditating daily as well as taking Natural Calm supplement (LIFE SAVER) — I am so frazzled by the end of the day that it just comes out as bitchiness (feeling #2). No thank you! The thing is, I didn’t know that this was what was happening for a really long time, and I was just at the mercy of my moodswings. Learning what sets me off and how to manage my feelings has been really key.
REMEMBER THAT YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS
Your mind is like a series of trampolines, stretching as far as the eye can see and even beyond. Every trampoline is a thought. We get to choose which trampolines we jump on to, and we also get to choose how long we bounce there. Visualising my thoughts in this way really helps me remember that my thoughts are optional, and if I’m dwelling on something, that is because I have decided to do so. I don’t have to fixate on anything that makes me unhappy to think about — and often, those thoughts are not “real” anyway. They are projections of my fear into the future, and usually have very little to do with the present moment.
WRITE YOURSELF A REMINDER
It can be really hard to remember what we’re working on sometimes, especially in the heat of the moment. I suggest writing yourself a note and placing it in a prominent location! For example, I buy packs of these Post-It Wall Pads, and my man and I use them to create epic plans, write ourselves reminders, and organise our lives. (You should see the bedroom. One wall is absolutely covered in these posters. But I digress.) So if there’s a key word or phrase you want to embody, write it down! It will help you remember what you’re striving for.
SET CLEAR INTENTIONS
Before you head into a high stakes scenario, set an intention. It’s really easy and it doesn’t require any special equipment: just your mind. For example, if you’re going to see a friend and you have a tendency to get into arguments when you hang out, decide how you want it to go. As you sit in the backseat of an Uber or rumble along on the train, simply say to yourself, “I am going to have a great time. We are going to laugh and have fun, and really enjoy each other’s company.” You have decided how it will be, you are setting the tone (and not allowing them to drag you down some negative path), and you will walk into the situation feeling strong and in control. It truly is that simple, and it’s a great way to practice training your mind to think strong thoughts.
CREATE A NEW NEURAL PATHWAY
This is what it’s really all about: creating a new neural pathway. Think of your brain as a series of interconnected roads. where — just like the highways in your town or city — the most popular roads are wide and well-paved. On the other hand, the roads that no one really drives down are less well-tended, and maybe they’re even gravel instead of asphalt.
This is how our thoughts work too. Our subconscious beliefs and habits, the things that we think and do every day, are extremely wide, eight-lane super-highways, and we start driving down them without a moment’s hesitation. Choosing a new thought — i.e., something as simple as giving someone the benefit of the doubt rather than thinking people are out to offend you — is like turning your car onto a gravel road. It’s hard work! It doesn’t come easily and we have to push ourselves to do it.
The good news is that the more you choose that new thought (and traverse the gravel), the more well-worn that road becomes, and the easier it is to drive down it.
This is really how we change our beliefs, actions, and habits: by choosing a new thought again, and again, and again.
TAP ON IT
Tapping is still my favourite method for shifting a mindset or a mood. I do it almost every day — for all kinds of issues, big and small — and it is such a game-changer. You can learn how to tap with me in my online class, Tap That!
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE THANKFUL FOR
You cannot be thankful and pissed off in the same moment. It doesn’t work. And even though thinking about what is going right in your life might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re mad, take a DEEP breath (or ten) and then start making a list in your head. It really will change how you feel, and help you zoom out to get greater perspective. Oh, and for those of you who are old pros at the gratitude game, try this sexy twist: think about why you’re grateful for what’s pissing you off!
One of the reasons why we feel separate from others is because we’re not practicing empathy often enough. And sometimes, we’re great at showing empathy to our friends, clients, etc., while our partners and family members seem to bear the brunt of our bad moods. How unfair is that?! Very.
Remember, next time you’re aggravated: the person you love is probably not trying to ruin your day, sabotage your life, or gaslight you. They are probably just bumbling along, like everyone else, making mistakes, and trying to do the best they can. So keep that in mind. Take some more deep breaths and think about all the things your beloved is dealing with right now. Their life is no cakewalk. Be compassionate. Think about how you could help them, rather than coming up with new and creative ways to lose your shit.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
When you first start practicing this new technique, you will find it difficult. It’s a challenge to flip your thoughts and that is compounded if you feel like your partner is not noticing the effort you’re making, or they are unreceptive, or you don’t see any changes occurring. If you feel this way, I want you to remember The Four Agreements and don’t take anything personally.
Back in my original post, I talked about how we are all going through our own individual struggles. Take heed: your partner is not an exception to this rule. Sometimes, no matter what you do, they will be in a dark place. When that is the case, try not to take the bait (!!!). Resist the urge to blow up at them about how much effort you’re putting in, etc., because I promise this will not get you the result you’re looking for. Be warm, be helpful, offer them as much love as you can. Crucially, think about how they behave when you are feeling down — this is a good clue as to how you can help them.
I hope that some (or all!) of these ideas inspire you to make a better life for you and your lover. It’s not an easy path, but it is so very worthwhile.