Amid all this craziness and uncertainty there is one thing you can control. Your mindset.?

You can train your mind to either focus on the good, or focus on the bad. It?s not always easy and it does take consistent effort. We all have days when it?s hard to combat negative thoughts. This has become known to me as ?the downward spiral.? Fortunately, over the past several years, my ability to resist this ?spiral of doom? and instead focus on the good has radically increased. Under the current social/health conditions, this practice is probably more important than it?s ever been. We can easily succumb to negativity.

Your mindset can make your life much more enjoyable and meaningful. It?s something I hope each of you can master, for your own happiness and for those around you. You have a chance to change other’s lives for the better with positive vibes simply by your own energy.??

How do you do it?? 4 ?MUSTS!?

1) Choose your circle wisely. Thankfully, many people come in and out of our lives from which we can learn. You simply need to be in tune with your emotions when you?re around individuals (even if you aren?t physically around them, they can still affect you through texts, phone calls, social media). Surround yourself and communicate with the individuals that energize you and make you feel at ease and happy. If you find yourself avoiding certain people, they probably aren?t providing your psyche with any benefits at this point in time. If this is the case, try your best to limit exposure without being rude or insensitive. Sometimes, they are family members and can?t easily be avoided. However, it?s not impossible. Some of the most harmful people can be family. You have permission to avoid anyone (ANYONE) that causes you stress, makes you feel insecure, or downhearted. Fortunately, if you can change, then so can others. Be patient and pay attention as time progresses. A more meaningful relationship may develop later.?

2) Feed your mind with positive thoughts?every single day. Read constructive books, look up positive quotes, listen to positive music or podcasts, journal about ALL THINGS POSITIVE. Our brains will focus on what we feed it. Make it a routine to feed your mind hopeful stories, thoughts, etc. Now, I have a lot of rebel in me. I love a good rap song filled with expletives and my choice of certain Netflix shows don?t always have the most positive themes or situations but my exposure is measured. I probably only spend about an hour a day (if that) watching TV/Netflix. The worst mood-killer is THE NEWS! Whatever news channel, Fox, CNN?they all bring me down. Even if you aren?t a television watcher, we are all exposed to negativity on social media?all the time. This can be a whole lot more subtle and hard to identify. I rarely respond to?any?kind of strong opinion, response, or rant on Facebook. This is me taking deliberate action to protect my mindset. That?s ok for each of us to do.??

3) Exercise, exercise, exercise. How many studies do you think there have been on the benefits of exercise for the mind?? A gazillion, probably. It?s proven. The chances of feeling good about yourself and having a positive outlook on life are significantly reduced if you aren?t moving. This is not an order to be a body builder or be a certain weight. This is about allowing your endorphins to do their thing. You don?t need to join an expensive gym or buy expensive workout clothes. You can usually walk right outside your front door and you probably only need 2-3 gym/workout outfits (unless you NEVER wash your clothes. And if that?s the case, you have some other issues to work on as well).?

4) Respect yourself. Take care of yourself. You are valuable. You have the right to do the things that you enjoy. You know those people with a chip on their shoulder? They are usually resentful because they have allowed others to take their time and have become passive with their lives. Don?t ever stop exploring who you are and what you?re capable of. One of the best feelings in the world is accomplishing something on your own. That automatically makes you feel amazing! It?s hard to be negative or depressed when you?re working on some dream of yours?when you?re growing and progressing. Whether that?s making a B in a class, making cookies, cleaning out your closet, writing a poem, calling your best friend, earning your pilot?s license, or just taking a nap. Do the things YOU like to do. Often. At the end of the day, you?ll know you took care of yourself and you will feel content. When you take care of yourself, you naturally soften and become someone that radiates positivity.

Hopefully, you can begin implementing some of these suggestions, sooner rather than later. There?s no better time than right now to begin anew. Since the beginning of COVID, it?s been a goal of mine to be mindful of my thoughts and to use this time to grow and enjoy the time to myself more than ever!?