Training the Mind
Training the mind is far more difficult than training the body. It requires you to practice frequently several times a day which could include meditation, yoga, and simply changing your mindset. The most difficult of the three, changing your mindset. At times in our life, we are bombarded with stressful situations which do not allow us enough time to deal with our emotions which makes thinking positive quite difficult. Maybe you are not getting enough sleep, work long hours, or involved in any situation that requires a lot of your energy and no time for yourself. Of course those are situations that would make it difficult to deal with your emotions should a rough situation occur. Training your mind will help you manage your emotions so when you are approached with adversity, you won’t be so sensitive to its effects. Your mind does have the potential to do some damage just as much as it has the potential to heal you. Therefore, your thoughts can either serve you or do a disservice. Dealing with your emotions properly first means training your mind. So how do we “train” our minds?
“Meditation and practicing mindfulness is extraordinary skill that requires patience and persistence.”
It is no secret that meditation is indeed the most sought after cure for the mind and a good way to practice a technique called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the meditation practice of focusing soley on the present moment and deepening your awareness. Meditation is much more than closing your eyes and breathing deeply but meditation or practicing mindfulness is extraordinary skill that requires patience and persistence. Simply put meditation is training for the mind just as exercise is for the body and it requires concentration and most of all consistency. There are a few things you must consider when starting a meditation regime. First read some meditation books or books on anatomy. Find out what part of the brain is responsible for what emotion because learning how the brain operates is a good start. Next establish a routine and set goals. This does not have to be the same routine and breathing technique every time but try to make it a habit even if it’s just five minutes a day. Also use proper form this means finding the position that is most comfortable for you and proper breathing. The fourth reason is to pace yourself, please be patient, it may take a while for you to figure out what works for you. Set goals for yourself but don’t be so hard on yourself meditation can take a lot of time, patience, and consistency to become efficient so don’t give up! Lastly and probably the most important is to not stop even if you feel that mediating has solved your problem. Mediation is not a solution to one problem just as exercise and practicing healthy habits must be done consistently to maintain good health. It’s important to be consistent with this as other problems in life will arise and you will be well prepped when they do.
HEALTHY EATING AND SLEEPING
What you eat can create changes in the brain’s structure both physiologically and chemically. Incorporating complexed carbs and fermented foods in your idea can work to increase serotonin levels which can ultimately affect behavior. Serotonin defined is; a compound present in blood platelets and serum that constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter. A simpler definition would be to call it a mood regulator. However, to define it further, serotonin is not found in food it is actually synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan which is found in some foods such as fish, whole grains, and nuts. Tryptophan is also found in green tea so drinking a cup a day really could make a difference. For example, as more tryptophan enters the brain more serotonin is synthesized in the brain, and mood tends to improve. Serotonin, the mood regulator, is made naturally in the brain from tryptophan with some help from the B vitamins ( WebMD). As the saying goes “you are what you eat” plays into the fact that your mind is also at the mercy of what goes into your body.
As for sleep, sleep regulates the entire body including the mind playing an important role in your brain’s cognitive process specifically sleep stages three and four. This is why when you don’t get enough sleep you feel fatigued and don’t think clearly. Lack of sleep makes it hard to concentrate making is difficult to practice mindfulness. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and your overall health. Sleepfpundation.org says it clearly; “The one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.” Sleep is essential in holding it all together.
“Exercise is essential for the development of the brain and the training of your mind.”
Exercise has been linked to be a great guard against depressions and anxiety disorders. There have been many studies that show the benefits that exercise has on the brain. Exercise releases endorphins which are chemicals that give a feeling of pleasure or euphoria. Simply stated working out makes you feel good. It also is a very good tool at helping you focus especially workouts that involved strength training because strength training requires your full attention. Furthermore, ncppa.org released the shape of the nation report which further emphasized the effect exercise has on the brain; A growing body of evidence suggests a relationship between physical activity and the structure and functioning of the brain. Time spent in physical activity is related to enriched cognitive development and lifelong brain health( ncppa.org) This report was geared primarily for adolescents to bring attention to the benefits exercise has on their ability to learn as well as their overall well-being. Exercise is essential for the development of the brain and the training of your mind.
“Stop complaining and show some gratitude!”
Start by setting a reminder on your phone that goes off twice a day which displays something positive. For example, your reminder would normally display a task like “call mom” or “let the dog out” try adding a positive phrase as a reminder such as “life is good” or “you’re an amazing person.” Set the reminder to go off maybe twice a day and you can always change what you would like it to say. This is an effective training technique of enforcing positivity into your day because what you see and hear is directly absorbed into the mind. After a week you may want to change your phrase to another positive message to keep the technique fresh. The mind can be very stubborn so transforming will take a lot of practice. The other tactic is to stop complaining, period. Do not complain about anything anymore. If you notice, when you complain you tense up, your mood changes, and you immediately take yourself out of that positive mindset. For some your blood pressure may rise, your body heats up, and you may experience anxiety which thrives off negative thinking. In other words, complaining has a direct effect on the body because it will respond by tensing up and will introduce anxiety so stop complaining and instead show some gratitude! The only way to battle your urge to complain is to immediately show gratitude.
In conclusion, training your mind is far more difficult than training the body because you must be consistent at all times. However, it’s not what you do that makes training your mind difficult but you will discover that the mind is very stubborn, so it requires more patience and discipline than most things. You will be surprised at how techniques that take little time out of your day will work a lifetime of wonders in training your mind. Studying and practicing mindfulness, exercise, healthy eating habits, and just simply replacing repetitious negative thoughts with positive thoughts with consistency are guaranteed to work. Also, get to know and research the brain and find out what part controls such processes such as emotions, memory, your senses and so forth. The difference between training the body and the mind is that just like prayer, training the mind must be done without ceasing.