There is a flow of support and challenge for each of us during our lives. When we are supported by others, we can often feel more positive about things, and when we are challenged the opposite is true.
Our minds also provide a form of support or challenge to us. A “supportive mind” is one that encourages and nurtures us to fulfil our potential or do what we love. When we feel “supported” by our mind, we can concentrate well, make sense of the world and feel good about ourselves. However, when we are “unsupported” by our mind we can be confused, distracted and feel bad about ourselves. In this article we explore what you can do to develop a more “supportive” mind.
“Garbage in, garbage out”
“Garbage in, garbage out” is a phrase I heard a lot in a previous life working as an actuary in London. If the data we are given was “rubbish” then the results of the analysis will be “rubbish”. Now as a retreat owner, mentor and life coach I can see the same processes with the mind. For example, if you are told you are stupid, and believe you are stupid then you’re going to do stupid things!
Many of us regularly watch the news even when we know that most stories in the news are negative and don’t enhance our lives in any meaningful way. The news often highlights the worst crimes and events, creating a distorted sense of shock and unease within us. Recently the coronavirus updates have led to a distorted sense of helplessness and disempowerment for most people. Unfortunately, with this “garbage in” to the mind, it is a breeding ground for anxiety and depression.
To have a mind that supports us, we must be willing to “support” our minds by taking care of it. Here are some of the best practical ways discovered by my clients to support their mind so that their mind can support them:
1. Give yourself the gift of “me time”
When we are burdened by obligations/expectations from the outside and prioritise the needs of others we can become resentful. When we feel stressed, we need to re-connect with ourselves and our own priorities. Many of our guests at the retreat are here to press the reset button and give themselves the gift of me time.
It pays to regularly give yourself the gift of time. Why not schedule a date night with yourself every week? Light some candles and run a bath. Turn your phone off and really take some time to re-connect with your body and calm your mind.
2. Build a group of supportive people around you
Life can be stressful if you feel isolated. Having a group of people that have your best interests in mind and value your wellbeing is priceless. They say you become who you hang around with, so if your close friends or family tend to focus on the negative and aren’t doing what they love it may be time for a review. Sometimes we need people in our lives that will challenge us too, so you don’t just want those who cheer you on in any circumstances.
To develop a supportive mind, we need a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives too so find people who enrich all aspects of life. Some people have mentors for all areas of their life. Who do you turn to for advice on your health, your finances, your relationship, your spiritual life, your career, your investments, your family life and any other important aspects of life? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone to turn to in all these areas? Books are a fantastic way of bringing mentors indirectly into your life. In modern times we can also find great mentors on You-tube, podcasts and other media. I find having a coach is a great way to add support. Coaching helps you to get clear on your priorities and to look after yourself too.
3. Protect yourself from time wasters
When you can spend time on things you love, you support your mind through giving it meaning and fulfilment. Time wasters can be those who stop you doing the things you love.
Sometimes our time wasters are the “chores” we hate to do. If you have a lot of chores to get through every week, then why not consider hiring someone to help. Remember although there will be extra costs financially, balance this against what value is there to enhanced wellbeing.
Many of us create stress in our lives by trying to squeeze too much into our lives through fear of missing out. Notice which things you get attracted to that sound great but don’t usually enhance your wellbeing. Support your mind by listening to your body and saying no to things that don’t support your wellbeing.
4. Train yourself to forgive and let go
When we are annoyed by a person or event, we tend to repeat the same thought patterns. Sometimes, this means we work ourselves up unnecessarily and we make things worse. Usually when we have time to calm down the situation genuinely doesn’t seem as bad. We then can see things more clearly and take a course of action which doesn’t escalate the problem.
Having the ability to let go of issues that are troubling you is a skill that you can develop. When we blame someone else (or ourselves), we lose our power. This is because we demand change or punishment in some way when we don’t have the authority, or ability to inflict this change or punishment. We feel that we are responsible for righting a wrong but can’t or won’t do anything about it. Letting go means letting go of ownership of the problem. Letting go takes awareness of moments when we are in a mental cycle of blame or resentment. Letting go is easier if we are able to stay present and so any practice of staying present such as meditation can help.
If you are able to forgive someone, it means you let go of your blame and resentment. Forgiveness is something you can choose to do if you believe there are more benefits than drawbacks to doing so. If you want to forgive someone, write down as many reasons as you can for why doing so would benefit you.
5. Create a beautiful environment around you
The habitual environment around us often reflects our state of mind. If you are confused and cluttered in your mind, the space around will probably be physically cluttered. Most of us have probably experienced the immediate sense of uplift after we have cleared up our home or workspace. Check out our blog article on detoxing your home life here.
Many studies have shown that connection with nature is super for optimising our wellbeing. Things of beauty tend to inspire us, so why not put up some pictures of natural beauty and design a beautiful space to live and work in. There are some simple things you can do to improve any area, for example improving the lighting, putting up pictures or bringing in some flowers.
6. Limit your social media exposure
Social media is a great way to maintain a connection with others and promote yourself as a brand. However, there are some downsides to social media too. One of the biggest downsides for our mental wellbeing comes because people are selective in what they publish. Social media can encourage us to compare our “normal” lives with those of celebrities or influencers and make others appear more successful than us.
It is human nature to show people the side we want them to see. Excess social media exposure can mean we live in a world that doesn’t reflect reality. When we compare ourselves or our lives with others, we can believe we are coming up short. For this reason, it’s a good idea to actively manage how much time you spend on social media. Our minds need some level of protection from the downsides of social media and a balanced mind is more likely to be able to provide us with support when we need it.
Check out our previous blog article on doing a digital detox here.
7. Learn how to meditate
Finally, practising meditation is a great way to support our minds. Meditation helps us to re-connect with ourselves and can help us to let go of “garbage” accumulated in the mind. I see meditation as the ultimate “me time” as I can benefit tremendously, even from a few minutes of becoming present. There are lots of great meditation articles on our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular meditation articles
- Meditation to reconnect with yourself
- Can meditation heal – a personal view.
- Meditation to create the life you love.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about different ways of supporting your mind so your mind is ready to support you. La Crisalida runs retreat programmes all year round allowing you to re-connect, re-balance and re-energise your mind body and spirit. We provide our guests with a supportive environment to allow them to let go and genuinely enjoy some “me time” and develop a supportive mind. You can find out more about our specialist holistic programme here. You can enquire about prices and availability for our retreats at email@example.com .
About the author
- John is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. He is a life and success coach, Transformational Coach and a master trainer in NLP. He leads our life makeover programme as well as overseeing the retreats.