Our mindset influences every single aspect of our life, so it’s important to be conscious of how we’re thinking and what we believe about the world. With the right kind of mindset, you can reduce your stress levels, increase the number of positive emotions you feel, and feel more fulfilled with yourself and your life. Here are six mindsets that can help you feel more calm and happy:
1. Cultivate gratitude for what you have (rather than focusing on what you don’t)
An unfortunate side effect of the way our brains have evolved is that we are drawn to focus more on the negative than the positive. This has been necessary for our survival, but a biased focus on the negative in our daily life can dramatically affect our experience of life and our mood.
Luckily for us, thought patterns are like habits and we can gradually change them. Make sure that you’re paying as much attention to all the positive things that are happening in your life as you are to any negatives.
2. Adopt a growth mindset
In her book Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck talks about the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe personality traits like intelligence are fixed. They tend to think they’re either good at something or not, and to give up easily when challenged. They take failure personally and can find other people’s success intimidating or threatening.
People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, relish a challenge and persevere through frustration. They believe in people’s capacities to learn new skills and recognize the value of hard work. Someone with a growth mindset generally feels happier and calmer because they focus on the things they can control. They have a greater sense of freedom and achieve more than people with fixed mindsets.
3. Prioritise connection over validation
Fear of what other people think of us is a common worry and stressor. When we feel this fear, we tend to hide or adjust parts of ourselves so we become who we think the other person wants to see — so we can get validation from them. Even if they offer us validation, however, it tends to feel empty because we know deep down that the person they’re validating isn’t really us. It’s who we’re pretending to be.
We can remove ourselves from this game entirely by going into conversations and interactions prioritizing connections over seeking validation. When we do this, we are less focused on whether or not the person likes us, and more focused on truly getting to know them.
4. Assume the best
Due to the negative bias mentioned above, we tend to jump to negative assumptions about other people, which can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts.
Be generous with your assumptions about other people. Until they’ve demonstrated otherwise, assume the best about their words, intentions, and actions.
5. Remember that other people’s choices do not affect whether or not you are enough in your own life
With social media, blogs, and other online media, it’s easier than ever to fall into the comparison trap. We see the edited highlights of other people’s lives online and start comparing our own behind-the-scenes to their Pinterest-perfect images.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter how other people are living their lives. What really matters is whether you are living your own life in alignment with your values, goals, and priorities. Remember that where other people go on holiday, how they look, or how successful they are has zero impact on whether you are the kind of person you want to be.
6. Dwell in possibility
Instead of shutting down dreams and ideas with thoughts like “I can’t” or “It will never work,” start asking yourself possibility-filled questions instead. Turn beliefs like “I can’t” into questions like “How can I?” and negative self-talk like “It will never work” into thought experiments like “How could this work?”
The shift from internal statement to question is subtle but it helps us dwell in a place of possibility and opens up new doors and opportunities that we previously couldn’t see.
Featured photo credit: Alex Evans room via flickr.com