What are the everyday mindset skills we need to learn in order to make managing our emotions easier? We are in charge of our own mind maintenance, and today we’re talking about 3 essential life skills we can practice to help us discover more peace, joy and emotional stability.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [02:30] How mindset life skills can help us achieve greater peace and emotional stability
- [05:32] Mind maintenance: How are our everyday habits helping or hurting us?
- [09:29] Mindset Skill #1: Noticing and acknowledging
- [14:53] Mindset Skill #2: Daily connection with Christ
- [17:59] Spiritual Growth Rhythm: A simple way to connect with God as part of daily mind maintenance
- [22:32] Overcoming spiritual obstacles as part of mind maintenance for more emotional stability
- [25:29] Mindset Skill #3: Self Control and Self Discipline
- [27:09] Bible verses to help with everyday mindset maintenance
- [36:39] Action step: How can you better support a healthy mindset?
[02:30] How mindset life skills can help us achieve greater peace and emotional stability
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love for the grape vines are blossoming.” This verse specifically speaks to the issues in a marriage that can creep in and poison a relationship but I think the concept applies to managing our thoughts and emotions.
When we allow these little toxic thoughts things to creep in, we tend to experience a lot more emotional ups and downs and chaos in our life. For example, if you don’t clean your house for months when the time comes that you have to do a deep cleaning from top to bottom, it is much more challenging because you let all the grime build up. That is why it is so important to address things as they arise instead of letting them continue to build up.
Brain plasticity is a neuroscientific concept which means that our brains are never fully the same from one day to the next as they are constantly changing based on the experiences we have.
The mental habits that we create today build the future mind that we have tomorrow so setting the foundation for long term success is crucial.
[05:32] Mind maintenance: How are our everyday habits helping or hurting us?
Some questions to ask yourself:
- What habits do we regularly practice?
- Are they moving us towards where we need to go or away from where we need to go?
- What kind of viewpoint do we want to have about ourselves, our identity, and God?
- What kind of perspectives do we want to cultivate about our life and our circumstances?
The more that we build on these mindset life skills, the easier they become. When drowning in hustle culture nearly took my life, I had to go back to the basics and rely on the three mindset maintenance skills that we talk about in today’s episode.
Working through our emotions and perspectives is a lifelong journey so we need to have the tools to keep working on our mindset. If we're not paying attention and don't have practical skills to know what to do with these things, then it's very easy for them to slowly take us down. This means that we have to actively take the reins and decide if we are going to let these thoughts win.
If you are listening to this and feeling a lot of shame and condemnation, I want you to release yourself of that feeling because we all have to start somewhere. I encourage you to leave behind what's in the past and press forward to the future that's in Christ.
[09:29] Mindset Skill #1: Noticing and acknowledging
This is one that I struggled with for most of my life. So often I stuffed my emotions to the side and did whatever it took to avoid them because I didn’t know how to deal with them. Over the years, I realized that she needed to be more introspective and keep a pulse on my emotions instead of blocking them out.
Instead of shutting down your emotions, sit with yourself for a moment and hear God’s voice. One of the worst things we can do with mindset is immediately switch to truth. That means just telling ourselves “well God says this so we need to believe it” because there is a whole part of our brain that will shut off if we don’t approach the situation with compassion and empathy first.
As humans, we need to be listened to so if we don’t allow ourselves the ability to listen first, we’re just shutting down the pain without allowing ourselves time to process the emotions we are experiencing.
According to brain science, when we step into a typical emotion, say we're crying or working through something, it can pass through our body in around 90 seconds. This doesn't mean that we're going to fully get over an issue in 90 seconds but if we can allow ourselves to just feel that emotion and lovingly care for ourselves, it's not as bad as we think it could be.
A great way to practice this is by writing down your thoughts. There is a ton of evidence around how writing, specifically writing things down by hand, makes a huge difference in being able to process our thoughts and feelings. This is something that I practice every day through journaling, as well as through my Bible study or an exercise discussed in the Christian Mindset Makeover called Morning Pages by Julia Cameron.
With this practice, you will set your timer for fifteen minutes and just write as much as you can. When we acknowledge what’s on our mind, it allows us to free up our mental space to be able to see the deeper issues going on. This exercise is so helpful for regular mind maintenance.
[14:53] Mindset Skill #2: Daily connection with Christ
The second mindset skill that I practice is daily connection with Christ. If you've gone to church for a while, the concept of talking to God every day is probably something you’ve heard before. However, I’d like to specifically focus on connecting with Christ, which can be very different. It can be very easy for us to complete a devotional, check the box, and be on our way, but I’m talking about the willingness to read God's word and to let it penetrate, to reflect and let it really affect us. This requires silence and solitude.
This is a practice that radically changes me every single day: my perspective, my experience, everything. When I sit down and talk to God every morning, even though it’s always an amazing experience, it doesn’t always have to end in some mind blowing inspiration from the Lord. I know that he is faithful and that he will reveal certain aspects to us as long as we keep seeking him. It’s the discipline of connecting with the one who knows who I truly am, my future and my past, the one who wants to walk with me and carry me through today.
This daily mindset skill of connecting with God keeps my emotions in check and helps me want to turn to God’s truth when I am suffering and struggling.
[17:59] Spiritual Growth Rhythm: A simple way to connect with God as part of daily mind maintenance
The Spiritual Growth Rhythm is a Bible study method that I have created as part of a powerful way to grow spiritually but also to manage my emotions. I use it in all of my Bible studies. You can learn try the Spiritual Growth Rhythm in my “I Am Loved Bible Study” here.
The first step of the Spiritual Growth Rhythm is to receive. This is how we take a section of Scripture and we receive wisdom from God.
The second part is to recognize. This is where we recognize how God has been active in our lives. How have we seen him show up in the last 24 to 48 hours?
The third one is release. Now that you have this wisdom from God and see that He’s at work in your life, what are the things that you need to let go of? What are the things that you need to just say, God, this is way bigger than I am and I need to trust you and surrender this to you?
You can learn more about each step of the the Spiritual Growth Rhythm process in Episode 96; or if you’d like a more in-depth explanation of each of the steps, listen to Episode 51 (receiving God’s wisdom); Episode 52 (recognizing God at work); and Episode 53 (releasing worry through prayer).
[22:32] Overcoming spiritual obstacles as part of mind maintenance for more emotional stability
I also want to address this concept of why we don't spend time with God and connect with God in these deeper ways. We have all kinds of very common spiritual growth obstacles that we talkmore about in episode 54.
One of the things I struggle with the most is this idea of well, I mean to sit down and spend time with God, but I just get so busy or I get distracted and something that's really helped me is this concept that I call but first, Jesus (listen to Episode 50 that talks about this concept).
I use “but first… Jesus” to remind myself that before I start my workday, my first break after getting up, showering, taking care of my kids getting into school, is Jesus. I have to take that time with Him first thing because that sets me up for the rest of the day. If we’re being honest, if I don't do it in these moment, then it just won’t happen because of everything else happening in life.
In episode 167 we talk about how to connect with God when you're struggling with shame and guilt and feeling not enough. This is something at least 90% of the ladies that go through the Christian Mindset Makeover struggle with. They come in as women who have gone to church their whole life but quickly find out there are some things that they have allowed themselves to believe about God or about how He views them that are keeping them from really being able to connect with Him.
In episode 168 we talk about how to trust God when you're scared you'll be heard again. If you have gone through hard things, it can be difficult to release and to let go and to just connect with God.
There are lots of resources for you to dig deeper into this idea of daily connection with Christ as one of these major mind maintenance ways to keep our emotions in check.
[25:29] Mindset Skill #3: Self Control and Self Discipline
The final mindset skill is the idea of self control. This means having self control of our perception of life, our circumstances, our attitude towards ourselves and towards other people and self control of our actual thoughts.
How often do we find ourselves on these emotional thought spirals? This ties back to the first skill of noticing and acknowledging. Once we begin to recognize what we’re doing, we can learn to take control of our thoughts and lean into our feelings without spiraling out of control.
Only we can be the ones to control our thoughts. No one is going to do this work for us! We have to regularly cultivate the emotional self discipline to notice when we’re spiraling and to take steps to take back control of our thoughts as part of our mind maintenance.
[27:09] Bible verses to help with everyday mindset maintenance
Romans 8:5-12 says “those who are dominated by the sinful nature, think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, think about things that pleases the spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your minds leads to death.But letting the spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.”
Just from these words, we can see there's a battle between our sinful nature and the new nature that God has given us through Christ. It’s telling us that we have a choice. We have to decide what we get to choose whether we let our sinful nature or spirit control things. By giving us choice, God is giving us the ability to show him love and to show his love for us.
There's a really interesting story in 1 Chronicles 22:5-9, where David is talking to Solomon about how to put together the temple. We read these promises from God that David says, he's not going to be the one to build the temple, it's going to be Solomon. And he's saying that he has set up all the supplies for Solomon that he's got it all ready to go.
What he tells Solomon on how to complete this is so interesting to me. He says “For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or lose heart.”
The enemy is not necessarily in our lack of planning. Our biggest enemy is that we are done in by our own fears, false truths, lies and “what if” fears. If we allow these things to keep building up, it's understandable why fear takes over. We are only human but we have a responsibility to keep it from taking over.
How might self control serve as a preventative measure for you for more emotional stability and success in your life? How much further we would get in these big changes we want to make in ourselves if we could make little changes first? If we could learn to work with God and give ourselves grace and room, we would experience so much more emotional stability.
The one thing that unifies all three mindset skills is that we are the ones in control of our own thoughts. God who has omnipotent power over everything else in the universe. While He can influence our thoughts, He has given us the free will to be able to choose our own thoughts so therefore we are responsible for them.
[36:39] Action step: How can you better support a healthy mindset?
I recently read a powerful scripture about God being our fortress. Psalm 18 reminds us that God is our fortress, our strength, and our foundation. He keeps us strong and is always there for us. It also reminds us that God is perfecting and strengthening us for the battles we face, to help us play an active role in our lives, not just with controlling our thoughts, but focusing on showing us as our best selves, keeping our whole selves ready and focused on him.
He keeps us strong for the battle, but we have to choose to partner with Him in the battle by taking care of ourselves and plugging into the ways He gives us support.
Questions to reflect on:
- How do you support your own energy?
- How do you support your ability to show up strong and to make the right choice?
This all starts with taking care of ourselves through exercise, sleep, and food. We can notice how our energy fluctuates based on our sleep, food, exercise, and water intake.
Another question to ask ourselves:
How are you choosing to approach a situation? Are you putting on certain habitual phrases that are changing how you're able to show up and how you're able to be your best and give yourself the most ability to make a good choice. This is something that we’ll dive into in next week’s episode.
Other Podcast Episodes on Mindset:
- Ep. 50: but first, Jesus: The Daily Decision to Help You Connect with God
- Ep. 54: Conquer the 5 Biggest Spiritual Growth Obstacles
- Ep. 96: 10 Minutes to Daily Spiritual Connection with God (Spiritual Growth Rhythm™)
- Ep 125: How the Hustle Culture + My Need to Achieve Nearly Took My Life
- Ep. 167: How to Connect with God When You’re Struggling with Shame, Guilt + Not Feeling Enough
- Ep. 168: How to Trust God When You’re Scared You’ll Be Hurt Again
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