Have you ever thought about what you think about?
What if I told you that your brain is like your own secret garden and the information you consume is like the seeds of flowers and weeds, and your thoughts - fertilizers?
In a time where social contagion seems to be running rampant, it can be so important to pay attention to how we feed our minds and how it directly impacts our mental and social well being.
What is it?
Mental Diet, originally imagined by Nevelle Goddard, considered to be a “New Thought Author” and influential leader born in 1905, seems to have taken more popularity since the pandemic.
It's the thoughts you think, the music you listen to, the media you watch, and the material you read. Basically, it's any form of external consumption (unrelated to the food we shove in our mouths) that may be reinforcing limiting beliefs or shaping the lens through which you view the world.
Pssst... and be careful about what does come out of your mouth because *Leans in* I’m not sure if you know this but…. YOU are always listening.
So, how are we feeding our brains?
For years and years, and maybe even more years on top of that my life revolved solely around my “diet”. The diet pertaining to the food I was consuming or in some time spans…the lack of food (and don’t let me fool you on this one, it still does). But before recently, I never even thought twice about how the people I was surrounded by or the media I was consuming was influencing and shaping the worlds inside my mind. “Mental Diet?" Like what even is that?”
Not to mention ever taking into account how the food I was eating was affecting my mental health. Such as the chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies when you eat sugar and processed foods, like the release of cortisol (your stress hormone) and an increase in inflammation.
From growing up with body dysmorphic disorder to developing anorexia gone bulimia gone orthorexia which then morphed into unknowingly hiding my disorder in BodyBuilding, it has been, needless to say, an endless uphill battle. A quiet killer.
SO, “You're in pretty good shape for the shape you are in.” said Dr. Suess. Still one of my favorite quotes of all time. Hands down. I love this because it feels as though Dr. Suess is bringing to attention the seeming perfection of one's outer projection while hiding the crumbling turmoils being wrestled within. It’s funny, no matter how skinny, curvy, lean, muscular, young, SUCCESSFUL I was… I never liked what I was on the outside and my inner dialogue was my biggest bully and it/I was never enough.
Being that I am now a full blown adult (and have been for quite some time) running wild out in the world, after adding several more traumatic experiences to my resume I have taken it upon myself to clean up my Mental Diet, because when all else fails, which it did, the only way out is in.
Now, I am not an expert, licensed Nutritionist, Neurologist, or Psychologist (though I feel like I should be at this point) I am, however, just trying to share some alternate perspectives and send invitations to deeper ways of thinking that I know have helped me along my journey.
So, without further adieu, here are 5 ways to clean up your mental diet.
1. FREQUENCY VIBRATIONS, MUSIC/ AUDITORY CONSUMPTION
There are several amazing studies that have been done that show how the music and words you listen to actually change us on a molecular level. Check out this cool water and sound study! Several years ago I went through something extremely traumatic that caused me to have months of insomnia. I started falling asleep and waking up to frequency music that I found on youtube. I still do to this day and I have it to personally be the only thing that helped me at that time. Check these out! Self Love Frequencies, Sleep Frequencies, Guided Sleep Meditation, Manifestation Frequencies.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA/ TV BOOKS/ VISUAL CONSUMPTION
Pay attention to what kind of images and materials you are reading. How are the reinforcing negative or limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Do you feel inspired, intellectually expanded and uplifted? Or do you feel sad, depressed and frustrated? Pay attention to how social media algorithms are pushing certain content on you.
3. HOW WE TALK TO OURSELVES
As I mentioned above, the way we speak to ourselves plays a huge part in our overall well-being. A great step in changing the way we talk about ourselves is at first just noticing the negative words as they happen. Then, asking ourselves if those statements are actually true, what triggered that thought and where did you originally hear it? Ex. “ I am not smart enough,” “ I am ugly,” “I am fat.” Chances are, YOU ARE AN AMAZING COSMIC AND BEAUTIFUL RAY OF LIGHT!
How often do you reflect on a complement? Instead of denying and diminishing the comment, try just saying thank you. And nothing else! Receive and enjoy. You are worth it!
4. THE CONVERSATIONS WE HAVE
Similarly to #3, consider the type of conversations you are having with the people around you. Do you talk about growth, change, and uplifting one another? Or are the conversations about other people and things that cannot be changed. Also, how do the people around you talk about themselves? Are they constantly putting themselves and others down? Do you feel drained after spending time with certain people or do you feel recharged?
5. MONITORING OUR THOUGHTS
Lastly, our inner dialogue. Maybe we don’t outwardly express our limiting beliefs to others and they just slightly sit inside. I know for me, this has been one of the hardest to change. Thoughts happen so fast and rapidly, like in a millisecond, it can be hard to tame them. So even after I started reshaping the way I spoke about myself my thoughts still get the best of me sometimes. But again, it just starts with a simple noticing and awareness and then a redirection. Do the thoughts fit the facts? What are some times where those thoughts have not been true? Where have we proved ourselves wrong? Who is telling you that? Mirror affirmations have helped me a lot in this area. Honestly, doing these affirmations felt awful and yucky and I felt like a liar in the beginning stages of my recovery. But over time it gets much easier! I promise! Check out Louise Hay on Mirror Work.
Life is tricky my loves. I know. Yet here you are still being a warrior.