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Each one of us sees life through our unique perspective, formed by our beliefs and our experience. The lens we view life through is called our mindset; it plays an important role in how our reality is shaped. I’m not sure what it was like growing up in your family, but I wonder if you had the experience of your mother telling you that if you made a face at her, your face would stay that way. Anybody? While our Mum’s threat seemed serious at the time, our faces are pretty much a-okay today despite having frequently contorted them in displeasure at her attempts to discipline us kids. Nonetheless, a seed was planted, and I often wondered if I was temporarily getting away with it; perhaps one of these times, my face would stay that way. Now that I know better, I recognize that it’s one of the many myths I sort of believed as a kid.

Another one that was tough to take was while on family vacation we had to wait an hour after eating before going swimming. According to the Mayo Clinic there is no scientific evidence to prove this concept. My husband bought this myth as a kid too and he suggested it was out there to give our parents a break after a meal, so they didn’t have to supervise us kids swimming. How about one more? Were you taught that we only use 10% of our brain? That was my understanding too but according to a neurologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, we use virtually every part of the brain and most of our brain is active just about all the time.

“There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question.” – Anthony de Mello                                                        

According to Dr. Jacob Towery, clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Stanford University, our mindset is helpful when it comes to filtering information, it can also work against us when we hold on to ideas that are no longer relevant for us. Dr. Towery explains that we can change our mindset to shift out of distorted thinking, so that we can make room for more happiness in life. I love this idea, it reminds me of the concept of neuroplasticity, which describes how our brain can adapt or change over time with new information and new ways of thinking. This is why I believe that mindset trumps circumstance when it comes to our happiness.

“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.” – Augusten Burroughs

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying or said it yourself “when you have your health, you have everything.” I know I’ve said it without giving it much thought but now that I know better, I’ve stopped saying it. It’s another myth I want to bust. Having good health is not everything; having a healthy mindset is. Ask yourself is the reverse of that saying true? If I don’t have good health, I have nothing? The truth is that all of us at some point in life will encounter health challenges but that doesn’t mean we can’t be happy or that we don’t deserve to be happy. When we put our mindset in charge instead of allowing our circumstances to dictate how much happiness we’re entitled to, the results are impressive. Those of us who work at having a healthy mindset appreciate the value of community and the importance of having mutually beneficial connections with other people. Research tells us that a healthy mindset points us to appreciate the gifts we have in our lives every day, nourishes resilience and is a great support as we navigate the trials of daily living and any health challenges we encounter.

“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.” – Louise Hay

We’ve been so conditioned to put the emphasis on the wrong thing that we forget what truly matters where our health is concerned. Our health is not only physical, but also emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. We should all pursue a healthy lifestyle and that includes not only what we eat and how we move but also having healthy thoughts about ourselves and others. I think it’s equally important to say healthy things about ourselves and others, to surround ourselves with people who want only the best for us and to engage in hobbies and activities that support a healthy mindset so we can continue to learn and grow. Life is much more fun this way.

I believe everyone is entitled to a “pity party” for a short time when the wheels come off but let’s not unpack our bags and stay there. An important aspect of having a healthy mindset is having the courage to ask for help when we need it and at some point, we all need it. Recognizing that all humans have an innate desire to be helpful can make it easier to ask for help. Acknowledging that we all need support at some time means you’re not taking anything away from anyone, rather you’re giving someone the gift of being able to be there for you in the same way you would be there for them. Let’s revisit the saying I mentioned earlier and reframe it so it’s true for us. When you have a healthy mindset, you have everything because with a healthy mindset you can navigate anything.

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