Words have power, and what we say to ourselves matters.
Each of us has anywhere from 15,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day barreling through our minds, mostly based on what we thought, felt, believed and did the day before. It is a loop that shapes who we are and how we see the world, and tweaking it even the slightest bit can make a huge difference in how we experience and interpret what is happening in our lives.
Like meditation, curating the thoughts is simple but not easy. It is a labor of patience and dedication always turning back to love, back to truth. It isn’t somewhere we arrive but is instead a road we take.
It’s bumpier on some days than others, but it is always there to travel again tomorrow.
I have seen the power of words in my own life and how repeating simple phrases sends subtle ripples through the way I see myself and others. It is more than rote affirmations; it is a devotion to reminding myself of the truth. And on the days when I mindfully return to the practice of tenderness and truth with myself, I feel lighter, freer, more at peace.
The transformation is slight in some ways, larger in others. It can mean the difference between seeing heartache with total despair and knowing you’ll love again. Or the difference between loathing and shaming your body and seeing yourself as lovable and perfectly-shaped.
The following are a few ways to practice adjusting our thoughts to calm the mind and support a more peaceful view of life and self.
This is about more than seeing the glass half-full versus half-empty—it is about lovingly soothing ourselves to seeing the perfection right here, right now.
1. Do a morning check-in.
Before getting out of bed in the morning, practice taking a deep breath and a mindful moment to notice what is going through the mind. Is it a loop of negative thoughts? Is it a refrain of resistance about starting the day? Experiment with not putting a foot on the floor until you’ve calibrated the thoughts into even a slightly more peaceful and loving place.
You can do this by finding a true thought that actually resonates with you that is of a slightly better energy than what you were thinking before. Even, “I really don’t want to get up” has a better energy than “This f*cking sucks.”
It’s all about trading up to a better thought one day at at time.
It’s a practice. Remember that. You may not jump out of bed in the morning singing the happy song and high-fiving everyone you see on the first day, but it’s about creating a new habit that supports and soothes you.
Eventually the default will be a quieter, clearer mind of more presence and peace.
2. Use visual reminders during the day.
A friend of mine sent me a photo recently of her new doctor’s office. Next to the scale they had a big framed poster that said something along the lines of, “You are so much more than the number on a scale.”
I freaking love that. We all need those visual reminders of truth.
The messages we see day-in and day-out matter. We are barraged on average with 3,000 – 5,000 ad messages in a day, most of them reinforcing that we are not enough just as we are.
Plant the kinds of messages you do want to experience along your path. A loving note on the mirror that says, “You are beautiful.” A reminder on the fridge that says, “You are healthy and strong.” An affirmation on your desk at work that says, “Everything alway works out for me.”
What the worst that can happen? You may just start to believe it.
3. Develop a bedtime ritual.
So many of us spend those last few minutes before bed with our minds racing with to-dos, replays of the day and worries about tomorrow. When in actuality, this is a prime time to calm the mind and reprogram the brain’s patterns.
As we approach bedtime, our brain becomes physiologically more susceptible to influence as melatonin levels heighten slowing our brainwaves and opening the subconscious to suggestion. This makes bedtime a perfect opportunity to introduce a ritual of whispering sweet nothings in your own heart and mind.
I am passing this practice along to my daughter. Every night when I tuck her into bed, I tell her that she is loved, she is worthy and that everything always works out for her. I kiss her face and hug her body, and with sincerity and love, I plant little seeds in her mind that I hope will grow and flourish in her heart.
What if you tucked yourself in at night with the same refrain? Sometimes practicing the same tenderness with yourself that you would with a child helps soften the hard edges of negative self-talk and create a gentler way into the mind and heart.
Calming the mind is about realizing that there is nothing to change about the self, nothing to attain. It is about clearing the clutter that rattles around in the mind and exhaling into the truth your beautiful being.
“A disciplined mind brings happiness.” ~ Gautama Buddha
Author: Kayla Floyd
Editor: Renée Picard