This is Part Five of a six-part series called “Overcoming Anxiety.” It derives from the article Anxiety: Part II, which introduced these topics as ways to combat anxiety. The purpose of this series is to analyze these topics on a deeper level to ensure they provide you with the most meaningful information to apply towards changing your life.
Feed Your Mind
Fact: rewiring your mind to produce healthy thoughts is an essential part of combatting anxiety.
The daily thoughts that consume your mind consolidate and have a large impact – good or bad – on your quality of life.
Your mind consists of your emotional reactions to what you think, hear and see.
The ability to control your mind will prevent it from spiraling out of control and inviting in anxious thoughts. Feeding it with positivity and knowledge rather than stress and worry will help in your pursuit of stabilization.
Luckily, there are many ways to do this.
Before getting into the specific content that you will benefit from, below is an excerpt from a Fearless Motivation podcast that puts into perspective the ability to rewire your brain.
“If you change your thinking, you can change your life. So how do you change your thinking?
Well, how do you change your body? You change the body by changing what you feed your body. You change your body by changing how you work your body.
The same is true for your thinking. Change what you feed your thoughts. Feed it with positive affirmations and beliefs. Feed it with new knowledge on self-development. If you learn how to change, you will change.
Work out your mind with books and audio; books and audio that expand your existing mindset into something greater. Grow yourself by learning more. Grow yourself by doing the things that successful people do.”
Reading books, in addition to articles and other forms of writing, lay the groundwork for all your desired thoughts.
Allowing your mind to fixate on positivity and self-development material kickstarts the transition of good thoughts replacing bad thoughts as you drift into a new state of mind. It provides you with more self-confidence and an updated blueprint for living, which will enhance your mental state.
Books such as Boundless, The Power of Positive Thinking, Atomic Habits, The Four Agreements and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself have all helped me grow mentally, physically and professionally.
There is a lot to be learned from books. They can teach you ways to cope with anxiety, strengthen your mindset and improve all areas of your life.
In addition to inducing self-growth, reading can simply provide you with an outlet to release anxiety, regardless of the content. If you’re not into motivational, self-help books, try reading an entertaining fiction novel.
Reading in general relaxes your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles, while giving your mind a place to escape reality for awhile.
A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%. It works better and faster than many other relaxation methods because your mind is invited into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily life.
Once a reading habit is formed and takes its place in your routine, it will slowly begin to impact your mind for the better. The things you learn, combined with the time it grants you to de-stress, will provide you with more efficiency and peace.
Listening, like reading, can have a huge impact on your brain, assuming you listen to something that will provoke healthy thoughts.
Similar to books that help you grow, develop and learn, you can listen to motivational podcasts and talks that have the same effect. Audiobooks are also a hot commodity these days if you lack the time and patience required to read.
I am also a big advocate that music soothes your mind and shifts your attention away from the clutter in your head. Finding the right genres, artists and lyrics will allow you to relate and give you comfort in the music.
It will improve your mood and loosen up the tension that has been applied by life. It provides an escape and can give you instant relief in times of stress.
Listen to your favorite artists and songs. Listen to calming music; maybe with sounds of beaches and ocean waves. Listen to whatever promotes relaxation.
Make a playlist and set aside time to enjoy it. After all, this is a better alternative than listening to the thoughts in your head.
The Wrap Up
Feeding your mind with powerful, inspirational content is extremely beneficial. However, the work that is required after the consumption of the material is what enables the execution to take place.
The information you receive into your mind is only 50% of the process. The other half depends on your ability to take that and use it to implement real change that will reflect the knowledge you have gained.
Regardless of a genre, try to practice reading books and listening to music or podcasts as often as possible. Your mental health will thank you.
The more you fill your mind with impactful content that makes you happy, the less room it has to focus on the negativity and anxious thoughts.
Reading and listening sharpens your mind and takes the spotlight off things that keep you from flourishing every day.
Stay tuned for next week’s series conclusion, where the power of therapy is addressed, answering the question that many ponder: Does it work?