Discipline your mind

  • The same force that created the Universe also created you!
  • You have access to the wisdom of the sages just by looking within yourself.
  • Life unfolds with magic and miracles everyday!
  • Once you are in your power and aligned with your Self everything else naturally falls into place.

Have you heard these types of phrases before? I know that I have. Many times! And while they all do ring true for me, maintaining that resonance takes discipline. 

Discipline is defined in the Dictionary as involving "punishment," so it's no wonder it may not have occurred to you that positive affirmations like the ones above might require it. However, "discipline" comes from the same root word as "disciple," meaning to lovingly follow. Reframing the word allows us to see that our feelings and emotions can lovingly follow disciplined thought patterns. We can actually learn to set limits for ourselves around negativity so that we build mind muscles that make certain thoughts arise more quickly and easily.

In order to do this, we need a plan. Just like we have family rhythms in place and times when we say "yes" to our children (so that when we say know it has more impact), we need to have thought pattern rhythms so that we become conscious and kind in the words we say to ourselves. I've been working on this kind of mind muscle building for a number of years now and while I do have strong structures and habits in place around the thoughts I tell myself, I still have times- often right before my period and it was at it's worst during my first year postpartum- when I have a lapse and my thoughts drift into the realm of dark and dreary. What do I do when those negative thoughts start to creep in?

Here are five tips to feeling good that you can use right now:

  1. My daily rhythm. Do I need to make a change because my husband is working a lot right now which means that more family responsibilities fall on my lap, or has my family life shifted due to my daughter being on a break from school and I'm expecting too much from myself when I have two children at home? Then I adjust the rhythm.
  2. My inner rhythms. Am I feeling out of sync because of the season that I am in (I find it super powerful to track my moon cycle for this reason)? Then I allow an adjustment to take place.
  3. Distract myself. For example, I just had a conversation with my sister in which she expressed how she doesn't like the way I am parenting my daughter. I feel deeply offended and can't stop thinking about it. Rather that go down that deep dark hole, I remind myself that her opinions are her own and that I have no control over what she thinks of me. I only have control over what I think of me so I distract myself from thinking about my sister by reminding myself of how intentionally I am parenting my kids and that, while I'm not perfect, I'm a pretty darn good mom.
  4. Change my physiology. I ask myself what my face would look like if I felt truly joyful right now. What would my voice sound like? How would I be breathing? Then I do those things. This is an amazingly effective and quick tool!
  5. Let go of resistance! If my mind keeps returning to the negative thought I stop the resistance. I speak to myself the way I speak my my kids when they are doing something repeatedly that I don't like. "I hear how upset you are by Jane's comment. That really hurt your feelings and you can't let it go. You are starting to get mad because you you feel like she doesn't understand where you are coming from. You want to call her back and give her a piece of your mind. I get that AND I know that you really love Jane. You don't really want to hurt her, but it feels that way right now because you are so angry. Let's put the phone down and blow off some steam (or try the above tools) before we talk to her again."

That's it! My secret to building positive mind muscles. I encourage you to keep an open heart and to try these tools whenever you find yourself feeling "off." And remember, your feelings are the disciples of your thoughts. Let your thoughts be loving leaders by having a plan on how to handle them when they are not behaving themselves. Having a plan will help you feel calmer, clearer, and more confident, I promise!