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How Our Brains Control How We Feel About Ourselves

Mirror, mirror on the wall. When you look in the mirror how do you talk to yourself? How do you see yourself? Chances are you already know that your self-talk can sabotage, or make, your day. Our brains can control how we feel about ourselves and how we face our days based on whether our self-talk is positive or negative.

How can our habits impact our daily lives? Here are a few ways:

  • We surround ourselves with items and people that match who we are and how we think. If we agree with someone, chances are we will spend more time with them. If we love the color blue, we will decorate our houses in that shade. Our environment impacts our brains.
  • Sometimes we live in the past and worry about what is called “sunk cost.” This is a phrase that relates to both time and money spent on an item or a task; that time or money is gone, cannot be retrieved, but many of us dwell on those costs. Consider the time you bought that outfit or that briefcase that cost far more than you would have normally spent. You love the outfit or briefcase, you wear it and you use it. This is a time where you need to stop thinking about the sunk cost and simply enjoy the item. Buyer’s remorse is another phrase for this feeling.
  • Don’t worry about “the odds.” If I go to XYZ meeting I may miss out on meeting ABC person at the LMNO meeting…” It’s also called FOMO – the fear of missing out. You can’t predict the future, you can only make your plans, stick with them, enjoy them and not worry about what you might have missed out on.

What can you do to “make” your brain and your thoughts more positive? Here are a few tasks:

  1. Smile when you look at yourself in the mirror. A smile will brighten up your face and emotionally lift your mood.
  2. Monitor your thoughts. If you find yourself having “bad self-talk” stop and focus on a positive. Keep a gratitude journal and make note of those items for which you are grateful. This is an exercise that you may want to cultivate on a daily basis. Then on those bad self-talk moments, you can pull out that journal and remember what you have to be grateful for.
  3. When you do something great, congratulate yourself. If you work from home, there is no one to give you kudos, so after a job well done say, “Great job!” It doesn’t matter whether there is anyone other than the dog to hear you. Celebrate you!

Your emotional state can impact your physical state and that’s why it’s best to have a positive attitude. Ask your doctor and he will likely tell you that a healthy mind can lead to a healthy body and as we age, that takes on a higher significance. 

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