We typically think of a January diet or detox as being something for our body, but what about our thoughts?
A 'thought diet' means learning how to cut out the 'junk-thinking' patterns that can derail us in work, friendships and relationships, as well as with our own bodies, and January seems a perfect time to do so.
The best thing about this diet is that you don't need to cut out the things you enjoy but you can still make huge strides towards improving your long-term health.
So, what do you actually have to do? Here are five simple steps to help you slim your mind, rather than your body:
How to do a thought diet
Take time to clear your head. On average we have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day – that's a lot, and can get pretty tiring. Taking time to really calm your mind and stop the incessant internal chatter for even just five minutes a day will make a difference.
Record your thoughts and prioritise. Our thoughts can often be filled with worries, stresses and to-do's that end up feeling jumbled and overwhelming. If a thought comes into your head write it down and then decide what to do with it. If you don't need to action anything then let that thought go!
Actually listen to people. A good way of discerning whether you are actually listening to others is to check your thoughts while they're telling you something – are you thinking about the story you're about to tell or dying to jump in with your own anecdote and advice? Then you're not really listening. Focus on what they're saying without worrying about what you'll say next or the point you want to get across – you'll not only feel much calmer but will find that people around you react to you better.
Stop beating yourself up. The only person who expects you to be perfect, is you. So give yourself a break and let go of the need to be perfect in everything and anything, you'll be able to release the guilt that way too.
Shift your thinking. The way that we think about things has an impact on our emotions, our health and our bodies, so learning how to flip our thinking is paramount to leading a healthy lifestyle. Catastrophising a situation can lead us to make rash and wrong choices and respond in a 'defensive' state rather than one of openness and rationality. If you need help flipping from pessimism for optimism, check out psychologist Martin Seligman's book on it.
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