Mindsets for Well-being: Choosing the Right Glasses
May 01, 2019 12:39AM
By Meagan Good, MA, LPC
“I think, therefore I am.” Famous philosopher Rene Descartes meant this as an argument for our existence, but its truth resonates on a mental and emotional level as well. What we think about largely determines our day-to-day feelings. Not only what we think, but how we think about it, makes a difference in our well-being.
Mindsets are the ways in which we interpret our thoughts, like wearing a different colored lens to view the world. Think of the saying about seeing the world through “rose colored glasses.” The person who does so, for better or worse, has made a choice to see their world as only positive. Various mindsets can be thought of as different colored glasses; when looking through each lens, the world appears differently, even when viewing the same situation.
Typically, mindsets are shaped by life experiences, although biology and family history can also play a role in their formation. For example, a young girl who is never noticed or praised even for her best efforts may develop a mindset of being “not important” or “never good enough.” These things may not be true, but based on circumstances and support (or lack thereof) surrounding the situation, she might come to believe these things about herself.
Those beliefs become mindsets with which she interprets any situation that comes up in her life. Her relationship struggles must be because she is never good enough. Her boss ignores her because she is not important. She struggles to implement self-care routines because she is not important, and she doesn’t do it good enough anyway. This can go on for years if she never comes to realize that her mindset, not her situation, is the root of her problems.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist, speaker and author of the book Think, Learn, Succeed, has researched the mind-brain connection since the 1980s. In her research and practice, she has discovered that a person’s mindset not only affects the brain, but actually impacts the situation on a quantum level. Positive mindsets can actually pave the way for more positive outcomes. Likewise, negative mindsets can pave the way for more negative outcomes. Thoughts have real power.
Awareness is empowering. While we cannot control every situation, we are in control of our mindsets. We can choose more positive, helpful mindsets to create waves of change in our lives.
Meagan Good, MA, LPC, is the founder of, and a counselor at, Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy, located at 4675 New Holland Rd., in Mohnton. For more information, call 717-455-7328, email [email protected], or visit TakeHeartCounseling.com. For more information about Dr. Leaf, visit DrLeaf.com.