How To Sustain a Positive Mindset
When I hear this question, the first thing I think about is all your health variables (things like sleep, diet, exercise, etc).
If your lifestyle factors are not good, it’s hard to maintain a positive mindset.
I would say do your own research, but most scientists I think would agree you generally
- Need around 7–9 hours of sleep,
- Should try to eat whole foods and not processed food (I also personally believe a vegan lifestyle is healthier based on some of the research I’ve read. For example, in 2015, the World Health Organization classified processed meat as a Group I carcinogen to humans and red meat as a Group 2A Carcinogen to humans. I know this is a more controversial take and I am not a nutritionist so I don’t judge if you do follow a different plan, I’m just saying what I do (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/11/03/report-says-eating-processed-meat-is-carcinogenic-understanding-the-findings/), I’ve ate meat for a long time and recently in 2021 became completely vegan and it’s made me feel good.
- Should try to exercise at least 4 days a week
You may be surprised I go to lifestyle variables first, but I think if these are not in a good place, it’s hard to maintain a positive mindset.
For example, think about how your mood is when you’ve had a good 8 hours of sleep versus when you’ve had 4 hours of sleep. Usually, for most people, I think they’d say they are more tired, more anxious, more likely to get cranky on 4 hours of sleep.
So, reflect, how are these variables in your life? I think on a weekly basis evaluating on a scale of 1–10 how you’re doing with these lifestyle factors
2. Who are the people around you?
In terms of environment, are you surrounded by people that are lifting you up and positive? Or are you surrounded by negativity and people that drain your energy?
I think environment includes your job, your friends, your roommates.
Similar to lifestyle variables, I think it’s important to write down the people you spend the most time with and evaluate, how uplifting are these people for me and maybe start limiting time with people who aren’t as uplifting?
3. Looking at your relationship with yourself
I think so many of us are our own biggest critics. Treating yourself like you treat your best friends I think was an important unlock for me (i.e. being supportive, being positive and giving yourself credit for all the hard work you’re doing).
4. Maintain perspective of all your blessings.
Take time to think about all the blessings you have — a roof over your head, clean water, food, money.
If there’s 8 billion people in the world, where do you rank in terms of quality of life?
I’ll tell you one thing — I think around a billion people don’t have access to clean water. So, if you have access to clean water, you’re instantly already doing decently well.
I know our blessings become normalized to ourselves, but it’s important to take time to have perspective on being healthy and fortunate in terms of means.
5. How do I execute this?
Okay, so you told me variables that help with sustaining a positive mindset. How do I build a routine?
I think the main thing is creating a system.
So, for exercise — creating a schedule and designating times. If you are a working professional, setting time before work or after work for exercise.
For diet — taking time to research what are healthy foods and creating a system where you eat those foods weekly?
For sleep — maybe having an alarm to remind you to go to bed.
I think you have to make a commitment for 1–2 months towards these goals and know that it’ll be hard. I say 1–2 months because a lot of scientists say that’s the amount of time you need to develop a habit. Once you have a habit, I think it won’t be hard to maintain a certain lifestyle.
Also, know that it takes time and practice. It’s not like the instant you say, I’m going to have a better relationship with myself and be more supportive, that you forever now have a better relationship with yourself.
It will take practicing that supportive mindset for some time before it starts becoming ingrained and you start to actually have that mentally be ingrained.