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Being human is a funny thing and a confusing experience. How can I exist in this world, and what makes me meaningful? Deep questions I cannot really answer for anyone else. We all face such questioning at one point or another, I am sure, and the agony of not knowing the answer makes my head explode. I cannot control what happens externally. I got only the power to control what’s inside my head. Everyone’s mind has a pattern, many of us pay attention to how our own head speaks to us, some of us don’t and are consumed by it. Being able to determine the pattern of our mind, and help it solve its own problems is an iteration process. It requires a ton of will power and discipline. When it comes to health, happiness, relationships, and wealth, how is your approach of each individually and in conjunction?
Thoughts steer the course of our lives. The power of thinking is immense. However, it doesn’t work by itself alone. Thinking and speaking positive words are not enough to make a change in someone’s life, that measure is just a patch to cure some major agony. The real power is recognizing that positive thinking is part of a major system, called the rich mindset.
Back in 2011 I had dropped out of University to work on my move to Finland. Dropping out of college (and twice in life, actually) in my family is a drastic move and taken as an insult. Not constantly communicating my intentions was a big mistake. I didn’t particularly have a great mindset then, I just had the purpose to move to where I felt I was at home.
Until my mom found out she had breast cancer. The blow affected my mind, and my purpose changed so drastically it was scary and painful to face what was coming ahead. The fear of losing my mom adding up with the anxiety of not feeling like I belonged anywhere, plus a dozen of other smaller pains that make sure to pop up in one’s head when things are not going well. Worth mentioning, our house was renovating, and we were renting. I didn’t have a room. A corner of the living room of the apartment held my wardrobe, my desk with my computer and a bed, that also made the role of a chair for the desk.
The responsibility of taking care of my family and running the businesses so that we could pay for the rent, renovations, and making sure my mom was healthy at all times must have flipped something in my brain. I was on the edge, whenever someone spoke to me, it was either burst of anger or tears. I didn’t know how to handle all of that at the age of 19. When you don’t feel like you are home, you don’t get that relaxing feeling when you open your home’s door. Your heart is in constant pain, sleep only comes when you are exhausted, if then. Working to get money to move away had made me motivated. Not only I didn’t have that motivation anymore, my mom was now sick. I found myself in a mental and physical prison I had no clue how to break out from.
Even as I went to Finland to do my entrance exam, amidst the typhoon. I wasn’t quite sure of anything, you can never really be, but that allowed me to relax a bit, as well as knowing that mom was out of risk. When the worst comes through and passes, you are able to think.
Taking thinking to the next level
Most likely you don’t have that much drama around you, but the state of mind is the same: a prision. Maybe you are questioning your life’s purpose, where you want to be in 10 years, the perfect profession, and so on.
The truth is, in most cases, we are trapped internally, by our minds. There is really no one stopping you to make a change but yourself. Even when there isn’t that much anxiety in our lives, we can still be defensive about the things we believe in and are challenged. Beliefs that have made true by convention and what people around us hold true. There are less external circumstances holding you back than there are internal. Even when the people you hold dear think differently, the final call is still yours. However, it’s easier to account and assess external obstacles than the internal loop and questioning in your head.
Health and the molecule of will power
Are you able to eat, drink and exercise? Do you forget to eat? How serious do you take your alimentation? Your brain works 24/7. How mindful are you of the things you eat, and drink, and the amount of exercise you do? What you eat directly affects your brain. And, well, if you want a rich mindset, you better take care of your food habits. Exercise also helps rewiring your brain for a richer life.
You want to consume vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to allow your brain to perform well. If your diet is high in sugar, your body’s regulation of insulin will impair the function of your brain, thus leading to mood swings and even depression. Eating well requires discipline, and whilst sugar and fat taste good, and you are bombard by it, they are short term pleasures.
The brain and the stomach are connected by serotonin, the molecule of will power. The neurotransmitter is produced in the brain and in the intestines, and it helps to regulate sleep, and appetite. 80–90% of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in the intestines. It regulates the bowel, mood, bone density and sexual function. Serotonin is also known to be directly related to depression, and, ironically, one of the ways to boost serotonin is to change your thought patterns.
Other methods are to eat food that is clean. Foods such as brown rice, wholegrain cereals, legumes, meat, fish, nuts and seeds are rich in serotonin and as well as all the other nutrients, minerals required to help boost your brain functions and mood.
Exercise has an antidepressant effect, and research has shown that it boosts serotonin levels. Aerobic exercise, such as running and biking (yoga apparently works as well) will both produce and release serotonin in your blood stream. Choosing to exercise, taking the commitment and not being forced by it is an enabler of serotonin production. On the other hand, being forced to exercise will not work.
Being able to recognize within your means, pace, and needs that eating clean and exercising will help you, immediately helps your mood and will.
The sun, or light, also affects your mood and serotonin levels (plus other vitamins and minerals). Having a sleep pattern that allows you to see and enjoy the sun will improve your mental and physical health. Committing to maybe walk, run, or bike in the light of the day. Just the act of not sitting in the dark can make a change in one’s mood, or opening the curtains in the morning.
Changing the way you think might be a matter of changing how you eat and how much you move. It might be a matter of eating less bottled and processed food (you want to keep your sodium in check), buying your veggies raw instead of precooked and frozen, and then going for that 30 to 60 minutes walk or run in the morning. If at the market you look at the potato chips, remember how bad it will make you feel and how bad it is for your body and mind. Remember that you have better options on the shelves for snacks, like fruits. Make a smoothie!
To me, health has been always the pillar of well being. Taking my training at the gym and my diet seriously have done a massive change in the way I progress in life. Not only have I mentally prepared myself better for the challenges in life, it has also taken me to the path of consuming content created by more intelligent, capable people, as well as meeting them. It has directly affected my power of achieving goals and creating opportunities. Being brave enough to break conventions imprinted in our heads created by society when it comes to food, happiness and dealing with problems is not an easy task.
The majority of people go have a drink on the weekend to shake of the stress of the week past them. Not only alcohol will break the rule above if consumed regularly, it will not deal with reality, it’s only a distraction. Alcohol inhibits brain function and absorption of water, minerals, and other nutrients, such as protein.
In order to change, we must understand our behavior. It requires deep down honesty. Most of our actions are a result of habit and not of reasoning, which causes us to fall back from promises and goals. Have you tried to diet by changing your habits drastically, instead of slowly adapting to a new lifestyle? It doesn’t work, right? Have you taken pleasure in cooking healthy food and exercising? Probably not, if it didn’t become a habit. Anything that comes from an introductory excitement will not last. Every change is a process, not a door slam shut.
Nothing has real meaning, only the meaning you give them. What a breakout it is to realize that whatever is around you, can have a total different meaning to you just by mere observing your thoughts and reactions towards that particular thing. The importance and meaning you place on something can be changed, you’ve only gotta realize you can do it. One way is to stop labeling things the way they are labeled by other people.
A rich mindset doesn’t have space for excuses nor give reasons. It’s so easy to cancel that dinner instead of showing up anyway. It’s so easy to pat our backs and buy the beer just because we closed a deal.
Happiness is relative. And happiness is not meaningful without the lows. Much of what builds or destroys our happy mindset comes from conventional truths set by the society that surrounds us, family and loved ones. We are made to believe that one size fits all, which is not true. It’s amazing to notice how much of our behavior and thinking come from our parents, and not always that way of thinking follows up with who we want to be. The key is to always surround yourself with likeminded, driven people, and be in touch with people who you look up to.
The lottery approach
The lottery approach is a term I first listened from Tai Lopez. It refers to hoping a big problem will solve by spur of luck or of the destiny, instead of taking ownership of the issue and finding long term solutions. Winning the lottery sounds easier than investing and funding, and less scary, and admittedly less work as well. Complacency and counting on luck while waiting for something to happen does not diminish one anxiousness nor helps accomplishing anything.
The grind cannot be taken from the account when building happiness in life. Expectations, shortcuts, magical solutions… They will not end up with a happy ending. Allowing yourself to read your thoughts, surrounding yourself with the right people, working on your health, and working on rewiring your brain to seeing things in a different way will allow new doors to open, create happiness and help you figure out who you want to be. This process is scary for most and it also requires deep down honesty and humbleness.