Changing how we think can change how we feel.
That powerful statement has become the momentum behind my recent series of posts titled The Anxious Mind – inspired by Dr. Aaron T. Beck’s Cognitive Behavioral Solution workbook. My goal was to implement Dr. Beck’s strategies into my daily life in order to alleviate some of my anxious habits and thoughts. The act of diving deeper into my own mind has been incredibly enlightening and pushed me to better understand my anxiety profile… as I become more self-aware, rewiring my negative thoughts slowly starts to get a little bit easier.
However, this week I noticed that I was still focusing too much on what I was trying to remove from my life rather than what I was trying to attract.
I first recognized this cognitive error (still tying in that CBT haha!) when I was reading Dr. Ameet Aggarwal’s book Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind. In one of his early chapters, he discusses the power of using daily mental exercises as a way to relax your mind and ultimately relieve both physical and mental stress. It was one of the most simple exercises that he suggested that ended up having the biggest impact on me – setting positive intentions.
Now my lovely co-creator, Emily, has written some wonderful pieces about the effect mantras have had on her anxiety (see 6 Mantras I Use To Help Manage Anxiety as well as 6 Mantras For Motivation). However – if you are anything like me – you may not have even realized that, in order to get the most out of any mantras, you first need to define your intentions.
To put it as simply as I can, an intention is something that you want to work towards in your life… a mantra or affirmation is the emotional support to help you get there.
The goal of setting powerful intentions is to create ones that focus on the positive rather than the negative. Dr. Ameet uses the following example in his book to illustrate this point:
Intention focused on negative thoughts:
“I want to get rid of my sadness and depression”
Intention focused on positive thoughts:
“I want to feel happier in my life”
So just as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy taught me how to recognize my triggers and define my anxiety profile, setting intentions can help me to refocus on the positive changes that I am working towards in my life. Below are five examples of “positive change sentences” that I have come up with based on my personal goals and desires:
- I want to be more mindful and present.
- I want to be more creative and passionate.
- I want to inspire others and make a difference in people’s lives.
- I want to appreciate the beauty in every day.
- I want to create a life that is filled with happiness.
Dr. Ameet recommends reading your sentences out loud at least once a day or whenever you may need an extra pick me up. Do not get discouraged if it takes you time to set your own intentions, as it isn’t always easy to define exactly what you are looking for in life. Starting with just one at a time can help you begin to open your mind and find clarity. It will amaze you how quickly the rest will start to materialize.
Sending positive vibes to you all,