Healthy Body  >  How to Change the Story in Your Mind

How to Change the Story in Your Mind

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When you look at your life, do you find a frustrating pattern that keeps repeating? Is there a story you keep telling yourself, over and over, day in and day out?

Maybe you keep retelling the same money story (“I’m terrible with money. I always have been!”) or a story about time (“I’m always late…for everything.”) Perhaps it’s a work story (“I shouldn't take a vacation right now; everything at the office will fall apart if I’m not around.”) or a story about your relationship with food (“I have no willpower. I can't keep any carbs in the house.")

The truth is, we all have stories moving through our minds, every single day. Some of these stories are empowering! They help us to thrive. But others are not, and they can leave us feeling utterly stuck. Lately, I’ve noticed myself struggling with an old story that I’ve been telling myself for a long time: in this story, “I never have enough time.

A few weeks back, I had to take an unexpected trip out of town for a family emergency. Everything’s fine now, but it was an intense and stressful couple of days. When I got home, I felt tired from the flight – compounded by the fact that I fell behind on all of the work that I had missed while I was traveling. An article for a major online publication was due ASAP; my inbox was crammed with unanswered emails; I’d been paid to test and photograph recipes (and that due date was coming up, too). I could feel my chest tightening as I compiled my painfully long to-do list.

I never have enough time for everything,” I thought to myself. And of course, telling myself that frustrating story triggered a wave of heavy, exhausted feelings. Suddenly, I felt even worse than before!

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Fortunately, I have worked hard to recognize when this is happening. Immediately after lamenting the scarcity of time, I thought, “Yikes, I’m telling myself a really negative story.” And I began to adjust my thinking and switched to a new, more empowering story: “I’ve got a lot on my plate,” I told myself, “but I can handle it. One step at a time. I can do this.

This practice – changing the story inside my mind – didn’t always come naturally! It’s not something that you do once and then poof, you’ve got a positive mindset forever. If only!

Story re-writing is a daily (sometimes even hourly) practice. But it works. And when you learn to acknowledge those negative stories and replace them at once, you empower yourself to move forward, instead of languishing in the same stifling mental loop inside your mind. So how do you get started? Just like I did! When you notice yourself leaning into a negative thought pattern, remind yourself of two crucial things: 1. Your story didn’t just spring out of nowhere. If you're struggling with noise inside your mind, it's not your “fault,” and it doesn't mean anything is "wrong" with your brain. You're not "weak" or "messed up” for falling into familiar thought cycles. The story that has taken shape in your head is formed by a variety of influences, from your childhood, your parents, your mentors, your teachers, your friends, your neighborhood, the Internet, the media – all of your life experiences up until now...! Blaming yourself for these external influences is dangerous for two reasons: it gives them even more power to write your story for you, and it is – you guessed it – a negative thought in and of itself. Which is where the second crucial thing comes in: Elise-Museles-How-To-Stay-Motivated-2019-03 2. Your story can be changed. No matter how your tired-out tale of woe formed, you can release it. Today. Right now! You don’t have to believe a negative story. You can choose to believe something new, because you’re in command. It's never too late to write a new chapter, and you are the author of your story. When classic negative stories start to take shape, release them and replace them! Try… Old Story: “I’m terrible with money.” New Story: “I’m taking charge of my money. I’m learning new financial skills. I'm putting new habits into place. I’m improving every day.” Old Story: “I can't take a vacation right now.” New Story: “There’s more to life than ‘work.’ I love spending quality time with my family and making memories together. That’s a priority for me. I can make room in my life for a vacation because it's not frivolous; it’s important.” Old Story: “I have no willpower.” New Story: “Cravings are normal when I don't eat a balanced diet. I'm going to make my own health a priority and pay more attention to include a combination of healthy carbs, protein, and fat each time I eat. This way, I will feel satiated and satisfied.” You are the writer – and the editor – of your life. And you can change your story! Now it’s your turn: What's an empowering new story you’ll tell yourself today? Share it in the comments so we can inspire one another to write a new chapter!

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