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33 Healthy Veggie Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

33 Healthy Veggie Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

Life moves fast, which is why fast food is so popular. The last thing people want to do after a hectic whirlwind of a day is to spend another hour in the kitchen. Unfortunately, most fast food from the drive through window is an unhealthy option. But, fast food doesn’t need to equate to junk food. Here are 33 fast (and fatigued-cook friendly) healthy vegetarian meals that will tickle your taste buds.

Note: Most of these options can be made completely vegan. Simply sub out the milk for Almond or Soy milk, the cheese for vegan cheese or cashew cheese substitutes, or the sour cream or cream cheese for Toffuti.

1. Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

A great healthy dessert! And you won’t even taste the avocado! Blend together meat from 4 ripe Hass avocados, 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder, 1/3 cup raw honey or agave nectar (to taste), 1/4 tsp vanilla, and one pinch of salt until smooth. Let it set in the fridge and enjoy!

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    2. Fruit Smoothies

    This is an amazing way to get living fresh foods in your diet during the day. I have one of these for breakfast just about every day. I’m partial to blending strawberry, banana, papaya, pineapple, mango, and berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries). I then add some spinach or kale, along with ground flax seeds, chia seeds, a splash of honey, almond milk, and ice. It’s a sweet way to wake up!

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      3. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Smoothie

      For another great breakfast smoothie idea that could also pass for a desert, blend together 1 cup oatmeal, 2 cups almond milk, 3-4 Tbsp peanut butter, 3 bananas, 1 cup strawberries (optional), and ice.

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        4. Open-Faced Egg Sandwich

        For those vegetarians that do eggs, this is a very easy, healthy meal. Take a slice of bread (I prefer Ezekiel Sprouted-Grain Breads) and toast it. Fry an egg sunny side up. Take the toasted bread and spread either pesto sauce or mayo on one side. Then, add a few slices of tomato and a sprinkle of chopped onion. Place the egg on top, careful not to break the yoke. Finish off with cheese sprinkles (cheddar, feta, or Parmesan work well) and salt and pepper to taste.

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          5. Stir-Fry Veggies

          Just about any veggie combo will work for this easy dinner idea. Drizzle hot pan with olive oil. Add fresh-cut or frozen broccoli florets, chopped onion and celery, one clove minced garlic, torn kale leaves, mushrooms, and other frozen veggies (I like the corn, peas, squash, and carrot blend). In separate pan, boil water and add instant brown rice per package directions. Add 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to veggie mix. Sauté veggie blend until tender. Drain rice, plate it, and put veggie mixture on top. Drizzle with sesame oil or soy sauce and serve.

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            6. Avocado Sandwich

            The humble avocado is an amazing super food, containing healthy fats and age-fighting compounds. Toast two pieces of bread, cover one side with pesto and the other with spicy mustard. Fill with avocado slices, thinly-sliced onions and tomato, and salt and pepper.

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              7. Loaded Sweet Potato

              The sweet potato contains so many more benefits than a regular potato. Why not switch it out? In a microwave-safe bowl, place a sweet potato that you have washed and punched holes in with a fork. Microwave on high for 3 min on one side, then flip the potato and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. Depending on the potato size and your microwave strength, it may take a few more or less minutes to cook through. Slice the potato in half and throw on canned black beans, salsa, cheddar cheese, and sour cream for a tasty treat.

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                8. Bean Burrito

                In pan, combine one can black beans, one can refried beans, one can enchilada sauce, diced green chilies, chopped black olives, and grated cheddar cheese. Stir over heat until the cheese melts. Spread mixture over tortilla wrap and fold top ends down over mixture, then roll sides around the rest of the bean mixture to form a burrito. Top with more cheddar cheese and drizzle with enchilada sauce and microwave for 1 min. Add sour cream, salsa, and guacamole to top it off.

                9. Veggie Chilli

                Perfect for rainy cold days! Combine 2 cups of diced tomatoes, 3 cups salsa (I prefer the chunky style), 2 cups of kidney beans, 2 cups of black beans, one 10-ounce package of frozen corn, 1 cup diced green zucchini, 1 tbsp ground cumin, and 1 tbsp chili powder. Bring chili to simmer on medium, then cover and take heat down to low for a few minutes. Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

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                  10. Taco Salad

                  While the health of some chips may be questionable, I love using healthy organic tortilla corn chips in the recipe. When you top it with healthy veggies, the chips become a crunchy side to the main veggie and bean event. To make this tasty treat, heat up 4 cups of chili beans. Then layer corn chips, chili beans, torn lettuce, kale, or spinach, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, black olives, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

                  11. Veggie Burger

                  Veggie burgers have come a long way in taste and selection. You can now find many different frozen veggie burgers in your grocery aisle. I also make my own and freeze them. But, since this is a fast recipe list, we will stick with the pre-made veggie burgers. Simply grill or pan fry the veggie burger until heated through. Toast a whole-wheat hamburger bun and pile on your favorite toppings. I personally love avocado, sautéed mushrooms and onions, spicy mustard, and spinach leaves.

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                    12. Veggie Frittata

                    This is for those egg lovers out there! Melt one tbsp of butter in frying pan. Add whatever veggies you want. I love mushrooms, bell peppers (red or green), chopped spinach, 2 minced garlic cloves, and onion. Sauté veggies until tender. While they are cooking, whisk 12 eggs and 1/4 cup water together. Pour eggs over the veggie mixture. Cook until the bottom is set, and lift the bottom of the frittata from the pan to allow egg mixture to run under and further cook. When the edges are set, either broil an additional two minutes to set the top, or flip the frittata and cook the top in the pan. Throw on cheese and chopped green onions and dig in.

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                      13. Breakfast Burrito

                      These tasty burritos are an easy and fun-to-assemble treat for the entire family. Mix 1 cup cooked black beans with the juice from 1/2 a lime, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika. Then, whisk 4 eggs together with 2 tbsp of milk and a dash of salt and pepper, and scramble on an oiled skillet. When eggs are cooked, heat up the bean mixture and flour tortillas in the microwave. Layer the bean and egg mixture together on the warm tortilla, then add avocado slices, feta cheese, salsa, and arugula, wrap up and enjoy!

                      14. Veggie Kabobs

                      Veggie kabobs are one of my favorite meals when grilling out with the family. There are many ways to grill veggies. Most recipes call for an overnight marinade, which greatly adds to the flavor of this dish, but also to the time involved to make it. So, for the purpose of efficiently, we will stick with a simpler, yet still delicious approach. You can create a quick marinade with 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, a dash of salt, 1 tsp of honey, and 1 tbsp on olive oil. Mix your marinade up and then toss your veggies in to coat them. My favorite veggies to make into kabobs include baby bella mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, tofu, and pineapple. Thread veggies onto metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden skewers and grill for 6 to 10 minutes – depending on your desired degree of doneness. When finished, you can drizzle any remaining marinade on the kabobs.

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                        15. Salads

                        Though many people don’t think of salads as a main dish, I have often made them my complete meal. Most people consider salads as a few iceberg lettuce pieces and two grape tomatoes. Not the salads that I make! My main greens consist of a combination of spinach, kale, and arugula. I then throw in tomatoes, avocado, olives, diced onion, bell pepper, cucumbers, sprouts, broccoli, dried fruit (cranberry is very good), and some type of nut (usually almonds or walnuts). You can also throw on chick peas, boiled egg, or black beans for added protein. I even make my own dressing by blending up 1/2 a cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 tbsp salt, and honey to taste (I usually do about 1/4 cup honey).

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                          16. Fancy Grilled Cheese Fig Sandwich

                          Everyone knows grilled cheese is a favorite fast kid snack. But, adults can enjoy a more fancy version of an old favorite with a few healthy additives. Take two slices of your favorite bread, add about 3 dried figs thinly sliced, a spoonful of chopped walnuts, two spoonfuls of ricotta cheese, two slices of brie, and two slices of mozzarella. Add a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of truffle salt. Top with the other slice of bread and press in a panini press or grill on a skillet until the bread is browned on both sides and the cheese has turned into a gooey mess of goodness.

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                            17. Fruit Parfait

                            Easy and healthy. What’s not to love? Take 3 cups vanilla yogurt (I always use yogurt with probiotics included to help with digestive health), one cup fresh or defrosted strawberries in juice, and 1 pint of fresh blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, and granola, and alternate layers in your parfait cup. You assemble the cups by starting with yogurt at the base, the fruit next, and the granola last. Then begin the layering again until the parfait cup is full. Enjoy immediately to keep the granola crunchy. You can even treat yourself to some whip cream on top – if you dare!

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                              18. Toast Pizza

                              If you love pizza but don’t have the time to create a large Italian masterpiece, you can do a faster version by using toasts in just mere minutes. Just cut your bread diagonally and brown one side. Then, spread the non-toasted side with tomato puree, a dash of minced garlic, and mozzarella and feta cheese. You can also add veggie toppings like mushroom, onion, bell pepper, basil, spinach and pineapple. Stick the toast back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is bubbly and enjoy.

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                                19. Vegan Crepes

                                I love berry crepes, and these are so easy to make! To make the crepes, simply combine 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar and wisk together in a bowl. Then, add 1 cup almond or soy milk and whisk together until smooth. Heat up a pan and spray with cooking spray. When it’s hot, pour in about 1/4 of the mixture into the center. Make sure to rotate and angle the pan so you cover the entire area to make the crepes thin. You can tell when the crepe is done when you can easily move it around the pan. At this point, you can flip it to cook the other side. You want both sides lightly browned. While the crepes are cooking, combine fresh berries (I love blueberries, strawberries, and black berries) in a bowl and crush with a masher. Add 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the mixture and continue to crush until they are mashed together well. When the crepes are done, simply add the berry filling and roll the crepes together. You should be able to make four with this recipe. Take any left over berry mixture, drizzle over the top of the crepes, and serve.

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                                  20. Tahini With Veggies

                                  You can find tahini in most grocery stores. It consists of ground up sesame seeds and olive oil. I often add honey to tahini and use it as a nutritious veggie dip. You can dip carrots, bell pepper slices or okra for a very nutritious snack or side. It’s a fun way to give raw veggies a kick.

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                                    21. Guacamole Salad

                                    You can never go wrong with guacamole. However, here’s a twist on turning the traditional dip into a more hearty salad. Mix up 1 pint of halved grape tomatoes, 1 15-oz can of black beans, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 minced jalapeño pepper (seeds removed), 1/2 tsp freshly grated lime zest, one tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper, 1 diced yellow bell pepper (seeds removed), 1/2 cup diced red onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, and 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper. When you are ready to serve, peel and remove the seeds 2 two ripe Hass avocados, dice them up, and fold them into your salad.

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                                      22. Pita Sandwich

                                      If you use whole wheat pita bread, this is a very nutritious meal. Hummus, made from chick peas, is very healthy. You can buy both easily from most grocery chains and eat them together in a more simple version, or make pita sandwiches. I spread hummus generously inside the pita pocket, then throw in spinach greens, olives, onions, tomato slices, salt and pepper, avocado slices, and alfalfa sprouts. It’s an easy way to eat your veggies in a tasty package.

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                                        23. White Bean Sandwich

                                        I like to heat up 1 cup of cannelloni beans with 1 red bell pepper (seeded and cut into strips), 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a pan for about 8 minutes. Then, take a ciabatta loaf, cut into fourths, and make a small divot in the bottom half of the loaf and put 1/4 cup of the bean and pepper mixture in the divot. Then, add some sliced mozzarella, arugula and basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Easy to make and so filling!

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                                          24. Portobello Burger

                                          Mushroom burgers are some of my favorite veggie variations on the classic hamburger. Simply take a greased cookie sheet and place a large portobello mushroom cap rubbed in olive oil on the oiled surface. Cut the stem off, and add garlic salt and pepper to both sides to taste. Bake eight minutes. Then, remove from the oven, add shredded cheese of your choice, and pop it back in for a few more minutes until the cheese melts. Throw it on a hamburger bun with all your favorite hamburger toppings (I like Ranch dressing on mine), and dig in!

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                                            25. Kale and Cauliflower Pasta

                                            Kale is the king of greens! I always try to find ways to work it into recipes, as it is a powerhouse of nutrition. For this easy meal, cook any penne pasta according to package directions. Chop up 3 or 4 pieces of kale and slice up 3/4 of a cup of cauliflower. Sauté the cauliflower for 5 minutes with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Then, add the kale with an extra tbsp of oil, and cook for a few minutes until it’s slightly wilted. Then, add pasta and 1/4 cups of grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

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                                              26. Avocado Pasta

                                              This recipe is very healthy as the sauce doesn’t need to be cooked, and you get all the fresh micronutrients from your food. Simply cook 6 oz of your choice of spaghetti or angel hair pasta according to the package directions. Then, make the sauce in a food processor. Remove the skin and throw in the meat from one pitted Avocado, juice from half a lemon, 1 to 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves. Process until your sauce is creamy, then toss in the al dente pasta and serve immediately.

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                                                27. Veggie Fried Rice

                                                This is a staple in our home. Cook brown rice according to the package directions. Then, stir fry your favorite veggies in olive oil. I often use broccoli, squash, carrots, peas, corn, onion, mushroom, and kale (put kale at last after everything is cooked). Season with garlic salt, wasabi powder, and soy sauce to taste. While cooking, I move my veggies to the outside of my pan and scramble an egg in the center for added protein. Finally, pour your cooked brown rice in with your veggies and fry together a bit longer, stirring frequently. Add soy sauce, and enjoy.

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                                                  28. Southwestern Veggie Pizza

                                                  Mexican and Italian meld together in this little gem. Preheat the oven to 450F. Take a pre-baked Italian bread shell (Boboli has a nice version) or use pita bread, spread 1/2 cup sour cream over the shell, then top with 3/4 cup chunky salsa, 1/2 cups black beans rinsed and drained, 1/4 cup green onions, and 4 oz of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses mixed together. Place pizza in oven until the cheese is melted, and serve with additional salsa or sour cream if desired.

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                                                    29. Veggie Curry

                                                    Who doesn’t love a good curry? This veggie version is fast with many spices to tempt the taste buds. First, take 20 fennel seeds, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and a few cardamon seeds and place them in 1/2 cup boiling water to soak and get flavor into the water. Then, set aside. In a large pot boil about 4 cups water, throw in 1 peeled and cubed medium-sized turnip and boil for 5 minutes covered. Throw in 1/2 large cauliflower chopped into florets for 3 minutes more. Then, add chopped up green pepper (seeds removed) and cook for 1 minute. Next, put in 1 cup of frozen peas for an additional minute. Drain away the boiling water until you have about 1 cup of water left in the mixture. Move the vegetables to one side of the pot and add all the spices into the water (1 tbsp each of garam masala, ginger powder, and cumin powder; 1 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, and 1/2 tsp chili powder). Then, put in 1 small tub or 1/2 large tub of hummus (about 1 cup), add 1/2 cup tomato puree, and 1/4 cup of garlic puree. Finally, take 1/2 cup of the soaked 20 fennel seeds, 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and a few cardamon seeds that you set aside at the beginning and pour into the mix. You can take out the cinnamon stick if you wish. Put mixture on low heat for 2 minutes and mix together. Finally, add 1/4 cup fresh-chopped coriander stems and a few pieces of stem ginger for garnish. It’s an amazingly flavorful way to end your day!

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                                                      30. Avocado Variations

                                                      There are few things as simple and fulfilling as an avocado. It’s packed with great heart-healthy fats and nutrients. You can slice this fruit in half, pop out the seed, and fill it with several variations. I sometimes drizzle either soy sauce or sunflower seeds on top of the fruit. You can also put an egg inside the hole the pit left (you may need to scoop out a bit more avocado flesh to widen the hole) and bake the avocado and egg at 425F for 12 to 15 minutes (depending on egg size). Then, take it out from the oven and season with pepper, chives, and salt.

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                                                        31. Broccoli and Parmesan Soup

                                                        Broccoli has so many benefits, from cancer fighting antioxidants to high calcium content. It’s easy to see why researchers call this vegetable a super food. Here’s an easy recipe to make sure you get more broccoli in your diet. Bring two cups of water to a boil, and add two heads of broccoli (chopped up), a small piece of Parmesan rind, one tbsp of soy sauce, and one tbsp of lemon juice. Cover and simmer for eight minutes until the broccoli is tender. Puree in blender until smooth. Garnish with extra Parmesan savings, salt and pepper.

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                                                          32. Spinach and Strawberry Salad

                                                          This is a sweet summer salad loaded with iron from the spinach and phytonutrients from the strawberries. Simply wash a bag of spinach and hull and quarter a pint of washed strawberries. Toss in 1/3 cup sliced almonds, sliced cucumber, and avocado. Make the dressing in a bowl or blender by combining 1/2 lemon (juiced), two tbsp white wine vinegar, one tbsp olive oil, one tsp poppy seeds, and 1/3 cup sugar. Blend or whisk together and drizzle over your salad. Toss to coat and serve.

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                                                            33. Veggie and Goat Cheese Roti

                                                            Roti is one of my favorite Indian foods, and this version is fast to prepare and enjoy. Mist and heat whole wheat roti per package directions. Spread goat cheese over the bottom of each roti. In a separate pan, stir fry red peppers, canned chick peas (about half a cup), red onion, zucchini, mushrooms, and eggplant (cut into bite-size pieces) until tender. Spread veggie mixture on roti, keeping the sides clear for easy roll up. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Roll up the roti and secure with toothpicks. Cut each roll in half along the diagonal line and serve.

                                                            Veggie Roti

                                                              As you can see, fast food can also be fit, healthy food. Give these quick meals a try to create the highly nutritious and succulent meals your family will love!

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                                                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                                              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                              I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                              1. The Inner Critic

                                                              This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                                              • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                              He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                              Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                              2. The Worrier

                                                              This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                              He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                                              Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                                              3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                              He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                                              He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                              He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                              4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                              His motivation can be:

                                                              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                              How can you control these squatters?

                                                              How to Master Your Mind

                                                              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                              This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                              For the Inner Critic

                                                              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                                              You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                                              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                              • He riles up the Worrier.
                                                              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                              • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                              • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                              • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                                              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                              Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                              For the Worrier

                                                              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                              • Muscles tense

                                                              Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                              Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                                              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                                              For example:

                                                              If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                              For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                              • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                              • Muscles tension

                                                              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                              Breathe in through your nose:

                                                              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                              • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                              Breathe out through your nose:

                                                              • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                              • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                              Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                                              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                                              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                              For the Sleep Depriver

                                                              (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                              2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                              From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                              • Shut down your thinking.
                                                              • Calm your feelings.
                                                              • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                              Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                                              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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