Cultivate Your Mind, Cultivate Your Life
“Umm, where is the real food?” asked the husband as he helped his wife unpack the groceries. It was somewhat entertaining watching the wife try to explain that the fruits, veggies, healthy grains, and meats purchased from her trip to the local farmer’s market were actually some of the closest things to real food these days. The husband was not convinced! He went on complaining about how hungry he would be for the next couple of weeks because his wife decided to bring rabbit food home from the store. Have you ever heard the seemingly gross, but true statement, “your stool is a good indicator of your overall health?” Well I think its safe to say, our minds are a good indicator of our overall well-being. I’m learning from personal experiences and scenarios similar to the above-mentioned that a healthy mind serves as a bridge toward healthy living; with our thoughts being the fuel that helps to successfully drive us to our destination. Living well spiritually, physically, and emotionally requires that we be intentional about how we think. We must cultivate the best mindset for total wellness success! Many of us desire to live a more balanced life, but find it difficult to put all the pieces together. Maybe you workout, but can’t seem to develop better eating habits. Or, you might consider yourself a spiritually grounded person, but your emotions always seem to throw you under the bus. It may be time to examine your mind. So how does one begin to cultivate their mind? I’m so happy you asked. Please feel free to step into my garden…
Start by planting the right seeds— Often times to raise our level of thinking we have to input new information into our minds, specifically information that lines up with the goal we are trying to achieve. If you’re going to get there, your mind will have to get there first! Examine your thoughts and see if they align with the goals you’ve set for yourself. Try reading a good book on developing healthy habits or creating healthy recipes. Have discussions with people that live the lifestyle you are trying to live. What’s beautiful about the brain (the mind) is that it’s teachable; you can teach it new tricks. It adapts well, often times too well, to what we put inside of it. And since it operates as the control center for the body, the body has the ability to adjust to what’s in the brain. This means that we can teach ourselves to think differently about our health and begin to put healthier habits into practice.
Next, cultivate the seeds— Growth only happens when you water what you’ve planted. Build on the new info you’ve been depositing into your mind. Be intentional about putting what you know into practice, for example, if you're that person that works out, but can’t seem to stick to a nutritious diet, intentionality might look like developing a healthy shopping list before going to the store, bringing a wellness coach (or accountability partner) with you so that you only purchase those items, and only eating out once a week. Also, examine what you say to yourself about your goal? Are you saying things like “I’m never going to be able to afford to eat healthy, " "I'll just wait until the Doctor says I'm sick to get healthy," or what about “I always hurt those that are close to me?” Negative self-talk can have adverse effects on the growth of the seeds you’ve planted in your mind. It undoes the progress you’ve made. So instead of focusing on your weaknesses, think on the strengths you possess. And speak those! Say with me "salads are delicious." Water your seeds, by speaking positively about your capabilities.
Finally, maintain your produce—As you begin to see results from the seeds you’ve planted, continue to speak positively to yourself. Begin to share your new lifestyle with others. Build community with those on a similar path. This will keep you going when you want to give up. Build on your strengths. If you mess up, fail forward, which means use that mistake as a stepping stone to you next win. Think only thoughts that would lead you to your goal because counterproductive thoughts will lead you in the opposite direction of your goal. Your actions will follow your thoughts.
I want you to know I am on this journey with you. These past couple of months, I have been devoting some much needed time to my own mental wellness. I began to notice some patterns in my thinking that were inhibiting my growth holistically. These patterns, i’m sure developed over the course of my lifetime, but were now impacting my life in ways that I believed were stifling to who God desires for me to be. My internal dialogue was not a reflection of the life I wanted to live. Simply put, the lack of progress in my life outwardly was being influenced by what I was believing and telling myself inwardly. So I told myself, if I’m going to truly cultivate Kerri, I HAVE to start thinking differently!! Now, I am choosing to think more positively about my goals, my failures, my expectations of others, and even God’s character.
This experience of cultivating my mind has been truly liberating. It was like cleaning a cluttered attic in my house. That place that nobody really sees, but where I store all of my stuff! Stuff that was broken, but I intended to get fixed later. Stuff from my past that I kept, but knew there was no value for it in my future. Stuff that I intended to wear someday, but allowed fear to cripple my creativity. I’m sure many of you can relate. We all have things in our minds that need further development and others that need to be completely dismissed. As we begin to cultivate a healthier mindset, our journey toward healthy living becomes a lot easier. So whether your goal relates to your physical well-being, emotional well-being, spiritual well-being, occupational well-being, financial well-being, or social well-being, cultivating your mind will help to cultivate the rest of you. Trust me, invest in getting your mind right. Make a decision to start there. Be open. Remember that right now you are only a fraction of who you are to become. So Go ahead and cultivate. Live on purpose. Live whole. Flourish!!!