Why you Need to Choose a Better Mindset
It will come to some shock to you all that I’m not a fan of cheese. In fact, I hate the stuff (I do have it on pizza as the only exemption). The idea of eating cheese is so revolting to me that I will simply refuse to eat it, ever.
This is because every so often when I was a young child, I was made to eat cheese sandwiches I didn’t want. When lunchtime came I was filled with this awful dread about having to eat cheese sandwiches and so I linked that negative emotion to the arbitrary cheese. This forevermore solidified the position of cheese as an evil and gross thing for me.
How is this related to mental health you ask? I’m getting there.
I hate cheese, right. However cheese isn’t objectively bad. There isn’t some known quality of cheese that makes it wrong. The reason I don’t like cheese is because it’s linked to negative feeling in my head and now the stuff makes my stomach turn.
In other words, my mind frame decided the outcome of whether I liked cheese or not. This outcome might have been different if how I viewd my lunchtimes as a boy with a different mindset.
If say, I looked at lunch every day as a genuine gift. If I thought that it was a miracle of sorts that I was being allowed to eat. If I was grateful for it, then I would have happily eaten anything that was sent my way. There would be no bad feelings harboured towards that one particular type of dairy.
Our mind frame decides a lot for us. It can be the difference in an experience being good or bad. It changes the severity of impact an outcome can have. Take for example, how the Norwegians frame Winter time.
They get 3 hours of daylight a day during winter. It’s cold and wet and dark. Even so, there are no spikes in mental wellbeing throughout the year. There is no significant difference in people reporting periods of lows during winter compared to the summer. Why is that?
Norwegian people don’t consider the winter’s weather conditions ‘bad’. They don’t come into the dark part of the year thinking it will be bad for them, because they know these types of conditions happen every year. They expect the conditions and see the opportunities in them rather than the downfalls.
And it makes total sense. There is no objectively good or bad weather. There are simply different types of weather conditions. How you perceive these conditions will affect the severity to which they impact your mood.
If you frame winter as bad, things will be tainted by that mindset. If you from the winter as good then the negative impact will be a lot less, because you simply aren’t already deciding that it will be bad.
Mindset is everything. It impacts every aspect of our lives. We don’t get to choose what happens to us but we do it get to choose how we view the outcomes. If you only see the negatives by default, then your life will always seem to be more negative.
If you set yourself up to be unwavering in the face of hardship, if you build your mind frame so that unwanted outcomes don’t affect your internal state, then it no longer matters what’s going on around you.
Winter, lockdown, whatever it is. The way you choose to perceive things decided whether they’re negative or not.