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Mindfulness Monday: Adopting a Growth Mindset

Do you believe it is possible to acquire new skills throughout life or that most skills are innate?  People who believe in the endless evolution of a human being are said to have a “growth mindset”.  If you don’t typically have one you may want to adjust your thinking.  Having a growth mindset goes beyond mere positive thinking.  It’s not about believing that you can do anything, it’s about believing that the things you would like to do are worth a try.

Why would you want to adopt a growth mindset?  This way of thinking can allow you to blossom in all areas of life.  From trying a new fitness class to connecting with your loved ones, having a growth mindset can enhance your existence in all manner of ways.  Sound good but wondering how it might be possible to apply this in the real world, where negative thinking and critics abound?  Start with the simple tips below and see where it takes you:

-Feel the fear, do it anyway:   It is normal to feel some fear and resistance when trying something new.  When considering a new adventure, close your eyes and envision yourself already on the road.  How does it feel?  Of course it is scary but is excitement, or even joy, somewhere in the mix?  It is often harder for us to feel more pleasant emotions, especially if a more challenging emotion is calling for your attention. Allow yourself to feel the fear and, as long as there is the slightest hint of excitement or joy, do it anyway.

-Examine your tribe:  Do you surround yourself with people who support your growth or are others around you more comfortable with you inside your proverbial box?  It can be hard enough to change a negative habit, and even harder when those around you aren’t on board.   Don’t let others dim your light.  Sometimes embracing the things that we need to be healthy will make others uncomfortable, especially if they are not doing the same. Don’t let others guilt you into feeling less than your best to make themselves feel better. On the same note, don’t try and change them when they are not willing.  As the saying goes, “you do you”.  Lead by example and maybe they will jump on board.  In the meantime, start building a tribe that fills the support gap.

-Reflect on the larger benefits: Studies show that gaining new experiences and trying new things slow down, and in some cases even prevent, dementia in older individuals. With a growth mindset you can enjoy a more fulfilling life now and reap the benefits of a sharper mind later.

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T won’t stop embarking on new journeys, even when I tell him not too….

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