When You Forget to Shift Your Mindset

January 4, 2022
Maybe every post is going to have a picture of Tootsie. Who can say? Only time will tell.

Yesterday was a fairly normal day. Nothing bad happened, and nothing particularly exciting happened either. And in my normal day, just like everyone, I experienced a series of ups and downs with my emotions. There were moments of laughter, and moments of frustrations. I don’t expect that any day will be without frustration, but my goal is to have more laughter moments than frustration moments. Since I can’t control my external circumstances, the best way to ensure more good moments than bad moments is to have a positive mindset.

If you are new to the practice of mindfulness or mindset shifting or whatever you want to call it, you may notice that it’s difficult to even remember that you CAN shift your thinking when you’re in the middle of dealing with a negative thought. A dozen negative thoughts might come and go long before you remember you were supposed to be changing your thinking. So how can we make this become natural so that we practice it more throughout our days?

My bedtime practice

I recently started this practice at bedtime where I take an inventory of my day and all its frustrating moments. I begin by trying to remember any times that I felt stress or frustration, and then I make myself reframe the thought to turn it into a positive one. This way, I know that if the exact same situation happens tomorrow, or even a similar situation, I now I have a tool to use to change my thinking and therefore change my feeling about something. Phrasing them as affirmations or mantras helps me apply and remember them.

How about some examples?

Let me show you a few examples from yesterday, which like I said was a fairly average day.

Frustration moment: I had just picked up the flatiron to start styling my hair when my daughter came in wanting to be picked up and held. At the time I thought, “ugh I guess I’ll just look like crap today.”

How to reframe: “I am so excited to spend time with my children! I welcome interruptions from them because I genuinely enjoy spending time with them.”

Frustration moment: As I was trying to read the older boys a bedtime story, they were acting silly, clearly not listening and it felt pointless. I didn’t get mad but I simply put the book down and went back to what I was originally doing before I had stopped to read the book. I felt disappointed that I didn’t get to read the story.

How to reframe: “They are behaving like children and that’s okay. We can try to read the book again tomorrow.”

Frustration moment: My daughter took only a short nap and so I didn’t get any of the things done that I was trying to accomplish.

How to reframe: “I release control over the timing and order of my day.”

It almost sounds silly to type some of this out because in a way it’s obvious. But the practice of listing out my frustrations and then purposefully reframing them after the fact has made such a huge difference in how my days go.

Practice makes permanent

My piano teacher used to say “practice makes permanent.” In other words, if you repeatedly do something over and over, even if it’s a mistake, then that’s the way you will always do it. It will become harder and harder to course-correct when that mistake is so ingrained in the way you’ve done things. So when I was misreading a note in Clair de Lune and playing it incorrectly over and over as I practiced, it became more difficult for me to fix it when I finally realized the mistake. Muscle memory is real y’all. But the same is true for our mindset. If we have negative thoughts over and over, then those are going to become our default. Conversely, if we practice positive thinking, then THAT will become our default.

Okay but like, I forgot to try to think positively about that situation…

This is where the bedtime inventory comes in handy. Because you are consciously making the effort to reframe thoughts after the fact, it’s like intentionally practicing that piano piece correctly. You can take your time, the stakes are low because the day is done and the situation is over (at least in the immediate sense), and you are now in full control of your thoughts. I’m also a big believer in doing things right before bed if you want to remember them. In law school, one of my biggest hacks to study for exams was by reading my notes on a particular subject in bed right before I fell asleep and then sleeping with those notes next to me so that I could pick them up and they would be the first thing I looked at in the morning. I’m sure there is some science to this but when you bookend your sleep with whatever it is that you’re trying to learn, you learn it quicker and easier. Try it! You can do this in your head or even in your journal. Just list out your frustrations from that day, and then write out affirmations or mantras to combat those frustrations. When you wake up, review your new affirmations and you will be amazed at how easily they come to mind without as much conscious effort the next time a similar struggle arises.

Let me know if you try it! And remember, I am always in this with you.

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1 Comment

  • Reply PlantPure Nation January 8, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    Great content! Keep up the good work!

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