The Power of Mindset
The Power of Mindset
Do you find yourself frequently falling into ‘mind traps’ which distort your thinking and reality. All of which have a ‘knock on effect’ on your behaviour and heighten your feelings ?
The power of mindset determines everything. When you become more consciously aware of the power of your mindset and what triggers your emotions and gets you falling into mind traps you can make different choices.
I have been falling into a couple of mind traps myself this past month. It was only when a psychologist friend of mine asked me “which wolf are you feeding?” that I was able to analyse my feelings, step out of the mind trap and begin to manage my thoughts differently.
Which wolf are you feeding?
Her comments helped to remind me the power of mindset and of the old Cherokee Indian story which illustrates the power of mindset and the internal mental battles between the two wolves inside all of us. This parable of the two wolves represents the idea of emotional self-control. It illustrates that we are not powerless to control our ‘maladaptive thoughts’ feelings and actions. We always have a choice – you make a choice. These choices are not necessarily conscious, as so much of our responses to situations are on ‘auto-pilot’. Most of the time, we are not consciously aware of our thinking. Our thinking is like white noise going on in the background feeding our emotions and behaviours! We can choose which thoughts to feed though, and in turn choose how we respond to any situation.
Positive wolf ; calm, kindness, empathy, generosity, humility, positivity; hope; compassion; all of which brings you serenity and peace.
Negative Wolf; anger; resentment; fear; guilt; inferiority; self-pity; arrogance; negativity which leads to pain and suffering.
For me, the following concepts arise from this story and further illustrate the power of mindset along with a couple of NLP presuppositions:-
- The Map is not the territory. Our mental maps and perceptions of events are unique to us however our perception of it may not necessarily represent true reality.
- We choose how we respond to any given situation. Below is an all time favourite of mine, it’s a great quote from Viktor Frankl !
“Everything can be taken from a man but…the last of the human freedoms– to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” (“Quote by Viktor E. Frankl: “Everything can be taken from a man but one …”)
3. Do not ignore your emotions. Analyse your feelings. Nurture the good and work to overcome the negative.
4. If you allow your negative emotions to over-ride your rational thinking, then your thoughts will become self-fulfilling prophesies.
Which mind trap has your wolf led you into ?
The power of mindset determines everything. Have you ever found yourself following unhealthy and unhelpful thought processes? These thought processes are commonly referred to as ‘mind traps’ and ‘cognitive distortions. It is where your thinking takes on a biased perspective of yourself and the world around you. Unfortunately, unless you become consciously aware of these ‘mind traps,’ irrational thoughts and beliefs will be reinforced over your lifetime.
The Power of Mindset – 10 Cognitive Distortions and some of My Top Tips to overcome and avoid them
- All-or-nothing thinking – You see things as black-or-white, there are no shades of grey. If a situation has an unsuccessful or undesirable outcome, you see it to be a total failure. The assumption: everything is either one extreme or the other.
- Overgeneralisation – “You assume and see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it.” Your mind is taking a short cut, looking for past experiences to define your future. Great if you focus on positives, not so great if you focus on negative experiences. Even if there is no logical connection, you overgeneralise. Your mind decides that everything is going to turn out just as bad as before. The Assumption: If it is true in one case, it will be true in all cases which are even slightly similar.
- Mental Filter – You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively. You blow it up out of all proportion. Through your mental filtering process your vision of reality is distorted. The Assumption: The only events that matter are failures. I should measure myself by my errors or past negative experiences. Top Tip: ask yourself is this true or false?
- Discounting the positive – You reject positive experiences by insisting that they just “don’t count.” The Assumption: nothing is ever good enough.
- Jumping to conclusions – You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. Making Assumptions by:-
The Power of Mindset in Mind Reading :
“In any kind of relationship, we can assume that others know what we think, and we do not have to say what we want. They are going to do what we want because they know us so well. If they do not do what we want, what we assume they should do, we feel hurt and think, “How could you do that? You should know.” Again, we assume that the other person knows what we want. A whole drama is created because we make this assumption and then put more assumptions on top of it.” The Four Agreements is one of my favoured treasures. It is an amazing book written by Miguel Ruiz. It is one that has been a constant companion for a bedtime read. Over the years I have gleaned so much insight and solace from dipping in and out of this book. Top Tip: buy the book, The Four Agreements!
The Power of Mindset in Fortune-telling : You predict that things will turn out badly. Top Tip: focus on ‘best case scenarios!
- Magnification – catastrophising is an irrational thought (often referred to as the “binocular trick.”). This is where you believe that something is far worse than it is. Exaggerating the significance of problems and shortcomings or minimising your personal qualities. Your thinking has tricked you into catastrophising. By exaggerating the probability of a poor outcome, leads to anxiety. The Assumption: Always think the worst, it is most likely to happen to you. Self fulfilling prophecy springs to mind!
- Emotional Reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are. This form of reasoning though only reflects thoughts and beliefs. Not realities which beautifully illustrates the NLP presupposition that ‘the map is not the territory’.
- “Should” statements – You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. Avoid using “Musts,” “oughts’’” and “have tos”. We often try to motivate ourselves with ‘should’ and ‘should nots’. However, my NLP training has taught me that if you are mindful of the language you use, you can change the power of your mindset just by using different language. The Assumption : you should or must or you will fail. If you fall into this mind trap you are now behind the wheel of your negative inner critique. Top tip : Ask yourself “why specifically should I do xxx” or “not do xxx” and see what answers materialise. Change the language you use from “should do this” to “would like to do this”. If you are not being true and authentic to yourself, you will soon realise there is no desire. You are adopting ‘should’ thinking . This strategy can show you what truly lies at the heart of your desires.
- Labelling – Labelling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Rather than seeing the behaviour as something you or the person did which does not define us as individuals. The Assumption: stereotyping yourself or another.
- Personalisation and Blame – Personalisation comes when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that involved factors that were not entirely under your control. Alternatively placing blame on other people or their circumstances for their problems. Also overlooking ways in which you might be contributing to the problem. Personalisation leads to guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy. The Assumption: I am responsible for all negative things, failures. You make everything mean something about you.
The Power of Mindset and 10 Strategies that will challenge your mindset
The Power of Mindset! Harness it to manage your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Tame the anxiety
- Label the feeling
- Label your thinking
- Take control of the worry
- Use the best friend technique
- Journaling : rationalise your thinking
- Ask yourself two great questions
- Meditation : Mindfulness : Breathwork
- Finally talk with a trusted friend… or even talk aloud to yourself!
The Power of Mindset
When you harness the power of your mindset you manage your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
10 strategies that will challenge your mindsets ‘stinkin thinkin’
- Tame the anxiety: Adopt self-soothing techniques; Havening; breathwork; mindfulness; yoga.
- Label the feeling: ‘describe your feelings what emotion is manifesting (use adjectives to label the feeling) and follow where it takes you. TOP TIP Ask yourself ‘why specifically do you feel xxxx (this emotion)… followed by because … and then again ask why specifically and keep drilling down ?’
- Label your thinking: What thought trap do you fall into ’? TOP TIP Test the thought, is it True or False. TOP TIP : Reframe the thinking – flip it on its head!
- Take control of the worry; set aside a small amount of time to specifically sit down and worry for say 10-15 minutes. Go through your worst-case scenarios; catastrophise; identify potential mind traps you may have fallen into. Do whatever it takes to paint the bleakest picture. Then evaluate the validity of your fears; step outside of yourself and look at it from a new perspective and then.
- Use the best friend technique: Treat yourself as if you were your very own best friend. Ask yourself what would your ‘best friend’ say about the situation? what would you advise your best friend to do in the circumstances?
- Journaling : rationalise your thinking, examine your thought processes and beliefs about an actual or potential situation.
- Ask yourself two great questions:
- Is the perception coming from my feelings valid or not?
- Am I filtering out the positives and focusing on the negatives?
- Meditation : Mindfulness : Breathwork : Give your emotions time to go away
- Exercise : walking is renowned for being one of the best forms of stress relief and clearing your mind. Likewise, yoga too.
“The hippocampus is one of the most crucial parts of the human brain and it is highly active when you exercise. When the hippocampus gets fired up during exercise and the neurons start fizzing, the brain’s function improves, and it will help clear your mind.” Exploring Four Reasons Why Exercise Really Does Help Clear Your Mind | (drrobbell.com)
- Finally talk with a trusted friend… or even talk aloud to yourself! The benefits and power of mindset and even talking outloud using Mantra should not be overlooked. One of my favourite mantras is “calm, relaxed, safe and secure”.
“Like prayer and affirmation, the repetitious use of mantra can have powerful effects on the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Mentally, mantra meditation increases concentration and improves memory and focus. Physically, mantra meditation lowers the heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and activates the relaxation response to allow healing and rejuvenation to occur. Mantra meditation builds self-confidence and self-empowerment, reduces stress, and balances the emotions. Spiritually, mantras are said to dissolve one’s bad karma, produce jnana (wisdom) and are considered one of the many yogic paths towards self-realization.” The Power of Mantra | Japa Mala Beads
The power of mindset can define your reality ! Whether it’s true or not!
I recently had a conversation with a lady who truly believed she could not overcome her fear of heights, which illustrates the power of mindset perfectly. She desperately wanted to go paragliding in Oludeniz with her husband. Her mindset was at that moment ‘stuck fast’ on “I can’t and won’t ever be able to do it”. A half hour conversation brought about a shift in her mindset. The Power of Mindset is truly amazing ! She flew tandem paragliding from 1800 ft at Babadag Mountain with her husband the following morning. Shamaaazzzing!!! What an inspiration to anyone with a fear of heights!
“Wow, that was totally amazing! … Was so lovely meeting you, and giving me the courage to face my fears”! [KW June 2022]
If you would like guidance on the power of mindset and how you can harness yours and manage your thoughts with Hypnotherapy and/ or NLP Life Coaching then I would love to journey with you on this.
It would be a privilege to be given the opportunity to work with you to manifest greater harmony in your life.
I would also love to hear your thoughts on my blog and answer any questions you may have.