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The Mind Diet: A TRANSFORMational Detox

Thoughts - affect - Feelings - affect - Behavior “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 What we fill our mind with matters. Not only does it matter, it directly contributes to our mental health and well being. Research has found that we have an average of 40,000 - 60,000 thoughts per day and that a large majority of these thoughts are negative and are repetitive. I am really careful about what I put in my body - I avoid eating meat, limit sugar intake, eat lots of veggies and recently detoxed my body, to try and flush out the toxins from alcohol. That last experience made me think… if I am so careful about what goes in my body, shouldn’t I be just as careful about what goes in my mind? Romans 12:2 says, “…but be TRANSFORMed by the renewing of your mind.” That verse lead me to the idea of taking a MIND Diet - a sort of mind detox from the things that can weaken my mental immune system and RENEW my mind. There are three ways that I fill my mind - by what I SEE, HEAR and SPEAK. What do I hear, what do I see and what do I speak to myself that can lead to an unhealthy thought system? How would I define an unhealthy thought system and what would a healthy one look like? What exasperates my mental health and causes me to be full of negative and toxic thoughts? I decided to write myself a daily mind diet. One that I could follow easily and that would challenge me and increase my clarity of thought. First, I thought about what I SEE: TV shows, movies, social media, internet…How can I clean up my visual diet? How does what I am seeing or reading affect my thoughts in a negative way? What changes do I need to make to clean up my visual diet? And how can I increase what I fill my mind with thereby replacing the negative with positive, life giving thoughts? One major way I found I could do that was to make better choices with shows I watch. I USUALLY go by the PG13 rating rule. I know that any movie with an "R" will be full of violence, torture and/or disturbing images. Recently, I went around this self imposed rule and watched a series because it had received all kinds of accolades. I caved and gave in (kind of like caving in and eating sweets when on a health diet). I really regret that decision now because many of the images from the show will forever be etched in my mind. I am not advocating this rule for everyone, but I am super sensitive to what I see and images stick with me and can really affect my mood and emotions for a long, long time. Next, I focused on my auditory diet. HEAR. What am I listening to - songs, news, people that could be adding toxins to my mind? I made a conscious decision to limit what I listen to and attempt to listen only to positive music. I love music and it really minsters and uplifts my spirit. Lyrics replaying in my mind can either uplift me or make me cringe and say STOP! I often catch myself singing the songs in my mind. I decided I would rather have lyrics such as: I will send out an army to find you In the middle of the darkest night It's true, I will rescue you Rescue by Lauren Daigle Running through my mind - telling me that I am never alone and that God is fighting on my side. This fills my soul with strength, hope and joy. The third and maybe the toughest challenge I faced in embracing this mind diet was what I SPEAK to myself. How do I change my thinking? Stop embracing my limiting beliefs? For me, it is to identify the lies I speak and replace with Truth. Lies are easy to identify because when I am speaking them I FEEL bad - depressed, insecure, anxious, fearful, worthless…. So I have learned to be very sensitive to my feelings and identify the thoughts behind the negative feelings. I have always been a big believer in speaking Truth and words of affirmation to my children. When they were growing up, I liked to put sticky notes on their mirror with positive truths for them to fill their sweet young minds with. The world will bombard them with so many damaging lies. But I have realized that I need to adopt that practice and do the same for my mind. Thus, I have started putting sticky notes up with inspirational quotes and verses so that I am reminded to speak Truth and to detox the lies from my mind. The idea is that if I can change my negative thoughts to empowering truths, then I will experience more faith, peace, empowerment and will step out everyday in Truth. Remember, it starts with your thoughts, not your behavior or feelings. Use your feelings and actions to identify your toxic thoughts. The first step to change is becoming aware of what lies you need to clean out from your mind. Thoughts - affect - Feelings - affect - Behavior As I am on my #journeytojoy2020, I want to be TRANSFORMed. To be changed from the inside out. Part of that requires having the will power and self discipline to change what I can control in my outside; ie., mind diet. The other part requires letting God work in my heart and soul, ie. faith. My hope is that this detox becomes a life style, that it isn’t just a passing fad diet. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. ~ Buddha

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