How do you set your mind?

It’s been said that a person can change the whole world if they can truly set their mind to it. But how do you set your mind?

Because it’s your mind to use but it didn’t come with a set of directions on how to use it. It’s like you have been given a car but never really taught how to drive it.

Remember when you first learned to drive? How hard it was to do? When to give it some gas, move foreword, when to – stop- and make it change direction, make it go right  when  you want to go right. Because even  little changes in direction  will have a huge impact on a long time journey. And that’s why you needed an instructor to teach how to operate the vehicle.

Well it’s the same with your mind.

Here’s an example of something you may know how to do, but not realize when to do.

Can you think of a time when you were happy? Can you visualize or imagine what it looked like when you were so happy? Can you imagine it as a movie?

Did you imagine the movie as if you were watching a movie of yourself, and seeing what you looked as a character in that movie? As if you were an actor on a movie screen? Or did you imagine it as if you were looking at it through your own eyes, seeing it as it looked from your perspective? That is called an associated picture. Seeing yourself in the scene is called a dissociated picture. Now, lets try something, temporarily imagine it in the opposite way.

If you imagined it in an associated movie, then now imagine it dissociated, and if you imagined dissociated switch to associated. Spend a moment really imagining it one way, then the other. Same experience, but how does it change when you do that? For most people associated memories and imagery tend to have much more of a visceral and emotional impact. Dissociation tends to drain the emotional charge from it.

And that’s just one sub modality or subset of one of your five senses, vision. You could also take a moment to make the movie black and white, or slow it to one photo, or make it smaller, or… you get the idea. And that’s not to mention how you could play with the way you represent the sound, or the physical feeling, or taste, or smell. Most people don’t even realize they  have choice  with that. They just unconsciously represent things in their mind in a totally random manner.

No one has ever taught them how to run their brains in the way that serves them best.   Here’s a cognitive trick that psychologists have observed: Happier successful people tend to associate their memories of their victories and tend to dissociate memories of their failures and setbacks. They don’t ignore them, they just don’t step into them, they  step back from them.

They  learn from them, while letting go of the negative emotional associations. They reinforce their positive memories experiences and feelings that are connected to whatever they are good at or happy about… or they remember very vividly the feelings, sounds, tastes, and smells.  Unhappier and less successful people tend to do the opposite, associating into the negative thoughts and worries, dissociating and therefore draining the emotional impact from positive memories and thoughts.

When it comes to your life which do you do? Do you give the most mental and emotional impact to remembering your setbacks, doubts, and fears? Or do you  make big, bright, lush representation  of your victories and goals? When it comes to your health, which do you do?

When you think of eating healthy, do you step into the movie of you depriving yourself? Or do you automatically associate the changes you are starting to make, with the body and health  you deserve. What if you were to  stop for a moment,  and imagine what it would feel like to be in the body you want? And to have the knowledge that you can and have changed your life, truly healthfully, easily, and permanently? Step into  that thought.

There are many strategies cognitive science has discovered about using your mind, not just to doing something like lose weight more easily,  but to change your entire life. It’s just a matter of learning how.

And understand this, once you become aware of the way your mind works, in relation to your body and your life, then you naturally begin to make positive changes  in that process.

Don’t be surprised when you realize you’ve already started to. Now go play.