What Is A Mindset Shift?

black woman thinking in front of computer

By Andriea Denise

 

Over the last few years, new terms have been popping up regularly. Among terms like self care and mental health, the term mindset shift has become quite popular lately. If you’ve been wondering what it means to shift your mindset, and if it is something you should pay closer attention to, keep reading. 

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what a mindset shift is, how it works, and how you can know if you need to start working toward shifting your mindset. Put plainly, a mindset shift is a shift in how you dominantly think. It’s a semi-permanent change of mind. For example, if you mostly think the worst in challenging situations, when you experience a mindset shift, it means that you start to think more optimistically about things instead. 

 

According to the National Science Foundation, 80% of people’s thoughts are predominantly negative. They say that we can experience up to 50,000 thoughts in one day. So, if 80% of our thoughts are negative, that means 40,000 of those 50,000 thoughts are negative in nature. And what’s even more mind-blowing is that these numbers are staggering, despite the fact that we all have the power to control our thoughts.


This raises a few questions: 

 

Do people understand that they can control their thoughts? 

Do people choose to think negatively?

Do people prefer negative thinking over positive thinking?

Is negative thinking the result of negative life experiences?

Does it take more effort to think positively than it does to think negatively?

 

Let’s explore the answers to these questions. 

 

Do people understand that they can control their thoughts?

 

The truth is most people don’t know that they can control their thoughts. They are aware of the thoughts they experience on a daily basis, and they ultimately wish they thought or felt differently. However, taking control of the thoughts that pass through the mind is not something people really comprehend.

 

Think about it. Most people, especially those of us who were raised in the 90s and earlier were conditioned and programmed from a young age to simply do as we were told. We walked in lines, raised our hands to speak, studied what we were given, and we were made to regurgitate answers provided to us in books. We weren’t encouraged to think for ourselves. We even ate our meals on a schedule. So, growing into adulthood, most people have learned to go with the flow of accepting what comes, rather than creating what they would like to see.

 

Do people choose to think negatively?

 

Negative thinking is not a choice. That is, until a person understands that he/she has the power to control their thoughts, negative thinking is just a common experience. Because most people don’t have the understanding that they can control their thoughts, they are not choosing to think negatively. Sadly, negative thinking is a normal experience for many people across the world. 

 

Do people prefer negative thinking over positive thinking?

 

People don’t typically prefer to think negatively. The thing is that negative thoughts flow through our minds throughout every day, and because people don’t understand that they can control their minds (or how to do so), they end up with negative thoughts that lead to negative experiences.



Is negative thinking the result of negative life experiences?

 

Some negative thinking is the result of less than desirable life experiences. Most negative thinking, however, results from the human instinct to survive. Negative thinking is said to be a defense mechanism. People tend to think negatively as a survival skill. What this means is that most people think of the worst thing that can happen, and they mentally prepare themselves with defenses based on what they plan to do to get out of a less than desirable situation. 



Does it take more effort to think positively than it does to think negatively?

 

It generally takes the same amount of effort to think positively as it does to think negatively. However, because many people have built the habit of thinking negatively, it may take a bit more effort to think positively on a consistent basis. Once the habit is built in the other direction (from negative to positive) it becomes easier to choose to think positively.



Now, let’s discuss how mindset shifts work.



How Do Mindset Shifts Work?

 

In order to shift your mindset, you will likely need to practice some mental exercises to train your mind to become more positive in nature. This can be done through journal writing exercises, positive speaking activities, the reading of inspirational books, and the use of meditative cards.

 

It’s important to note that shifting the mindset takes time. A person can’t expect to see major changes after trying an exercise a few times. Consistent practice results in lasting results. In fact, even after achieving a mindset shift, you can experience times when negative thoughts can get the best of you. The difference is that with a new, more positive mindset, you are able to lift yourself out of a low place, mentally, and return to positive thoughts. 

 

A mindset shift comes as the result of very intentional thinking and speaking. We’ll discuss some techniques later. For now, let’s take a look at mindset from a spiritual perspective.

 

FROM A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE

 

The bible speaks about self-control, and the only way for us to have self-control is to first have control of our minds. Let’s take a look at some of the things the scriptures have to say about our minds.



Ephesians 4:22-24

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

Many people struggle to be and do better as Christians, because they rely solely on their willpower to stop living one way and to start living another way. Even cold turkey diets don’t work, because transformation happens first in the mind. Once the mind is renewed, anything can be accomplished with your body and habits.



Psalms 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

 

This scripture takes an interesting approach to mindset. It speaks about the mouth, but guess what. The way you guard your mouth is to be mindful of your thoughts before you allow them to come through the “door of [your] lips”. See how that works?



Romans 12:2

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

When we focus on the renewing of our minds, we will be set apart from the rest of the world. We will be more intentional about what we think about, what we say, and ultimately what we do. Then, we’ll be walking examples of what is good, acceptable, and perfect in the will of God. 

 

There are several other scriptures in the Bible that speak to mindset, but let’s move on to discuss some practical ways you can work to shift your mindset from mostly negative to mostly positive.



4 WAYS TO ACHIEVE A MINDSET SHIFT

 

If you have discovered that you could benefit from a more positive mindset, check the list below to find some ways you can achieve a mindset shift.

 

  • Observe and monitor your thoughts.
    Did you know that many of the thoughts that cross your mind are not your own? Some of our thoughts are influenced by something we’ve heard or read. Other thoughts are thoughts that may stem from our insecurities. Some thoughts come from our current feelings. And some of our thoughts are chosen by us. You can get in the habit of thinking positively, by paying attention to the thoughts you experience and choose whether or not you will allow those thoughts to linger or if you will dismiss them from your mind. Remember, you don’t have to permit thoughts to live rent free in your head.

  • Surround yourself with positivity.
    When you’re working to shift your mindset from mostly negative to mostly positive, you need to guard your mind as much as possible. Listen to positive music. Read positive books. Consume positive content on social media. Watch positive shows and movies. Engage in positive conversations. Hang around positive people. When these things become regular practices, you will start to feel icky whenever negative energy is around. And that is a good thing.

  • Choose your thoughts.
    Now that you know that thinking positively can be a choice, you can monitor your thoughts and choose the more positive ones to stick around. You can also choose positive thoughts to replace negative ones, and practice actively curating your thoughts.

  • Ask God for wisdom.
    The Bible says that God freely gives wisdom to anyone who asks (James 1:5). Praying for wisdom will give you insider knowledge on whether or not certain thoughts are from God, your insecurities, positive, negative, etc. Having this kind of knowledge is a blessing, and can help you to reach your goal of shifting your mindset quicker.
  •  

    Now that you have a better understanding of what a mindset shift is and how you can achieve it, you should be ready to dive in and start practicing some exercises that will help you reach your goal of thinking more positively. If you’d like more help with this, you should try our Personal Growth Starter Kit and the Personal Growth Guided Journal Session.

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