Articles by Stacey Wirtjes

  \  Motivational, Tru Mindset  February 26, 2024

Mind Over Matter: How to Harness the Power of Positive Thinking

We’ve been taught from an early age that the words we say to others matter. Words have the power to encourage, inspire and influence. They also have the power to discourage, unnerve and isolate. But what about the words that we tell ourselves? In this blog, we’re focusing on the power of positive thinking. Positive thoughts are like superpowers, once you tap into them, the possibilities are endless. They can transform insecurities into confidence, giving you the strength to fight through tough situations.

What’s positive thinking and why is it important?

Maintaining a positive attitude doesn’t mean that “life’s curveballs” won’t affect you1, it’s a conscious choice to remain optimistic (not pessimistic) despite your circumstance. Positive thinking refers to the productive way in which you approach adversity.

What’s the difference between optimism and pessimism? For starters, they’re located on two different sides of the personality spectrum. An optimist tends to focus more on positive situations, while a pessimist may place greater emphasis on the negative1. Regardless of what characteristic you may identify with, when it comes to mental health there’s no right or wrong. Positive thinking is a mindset, and not a systematic view.

The destructive nature of negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk is likely provoked by unproven thoughts, preconceived ideas or assumptions that arise from a given situation1. To embrace the positive and filter out the negative, you must first be able to recognize the various types of negative behavior1:

  • Highlight the worst and forget the best – Instead of looking at the positive in a situation, you continue to look toward the negative.
  • Constantly blame yourself – When things don’t happen the way that you want them to, you point the finger at yourself.
  • Thinking the worst – Negative thoughts feed your mind before the situation itself has even occurred.
  • No matter how hard you try, you’re never doing enough – You remember every task you didn’t complete and blame yourself for not following through.
  • Making a mountain out of a molehill – It could be a small problem that requires a minor adjustment, but you turn it into a seismic shift.
  • No one is perfect, but you’re trying hard to be – Nothing is impossible, but the standards that you’ve set for yourself might have set you up for failure.
  • It’s all good or all bad – Everything is good or bad, there is no between.

Positive thinking with a twist.

One of many great things about the human mind is that it’s constantly evolving. What does that mean for you? Change is possible, should you choose to embrace it. Positive thinking isn’t always linear, so your approach shouldn’t be either. Here are a few pointers that can help foster the positivity in your life:

a. Reframe your thinking – Challenging thoughts in a positive or productive way is called positive reframing. Finding something to be grateful about in a challenging situation is a way of successfully accomplishing this2. It’s basically reprogramming your brain to think in ways that you may have never considered.

b. Write in a gratitude journal – Gratitude is the state of being grateful3. Studies have shown that there is a connection between thankfulness and overall health. Set aside time during your day to think of all the things that went right. What are you grateful for? It can be as simple as having food to eat or a place to sleep4. Need pointers on starting a gratitude journal? Here are a few tips:

  • Write when it suits you – Find a time to decompress. Research has revealed that writing in your gratitude journal before bedtime can help you get a better night’s rest5.
  • Go with the flow – Don’t make things complicated. Start with a goal of writing a couple things in your gratitude journal for just a few minutes a day. As time goes on, you’ll build upon what you have written, and witness the progress that you’ve made5.
  • Make your day… a positive one – Embrace the positivity in your life, daily. It can help reduce stress levels even when things aren’t exactly rosy, allowing you to reclaim your focus on things that matter most5.
  • Details. Details. Details – This is the time to be as detailed as you want. Describe your moment of appreciation in its entirety. By doing so, you’re able to relive the positive experience which can be cathartic to your mind and body5.

c. The power of visualization.
Visualization (or imagery) is the process of cognitively creating an image to either develop or enhance a skill6. It’s one of the most popular psychological techniques, that’s even thought to improve athletic performance, although researchers aren’t sure about the psychological factors that play into it. You may or may not be an athlete, but you can still apply this exercise to your everyday life. Consider it practice for great things to come. Preparation for the positive can give you the self-esteem to excel when it really happens, and it will.

Conquering your mountain of negative thoughts.

Overcoming negative thoughts can be a huge obstacle, but there is a way to turn it around with self-affirmation. Self-affirmation is the belief in one’s worth and existence7. In laments terms, it’s understanding who you are and what you are made of. There’s an inner warrior in you. However, it may take time to reveal itself. Here are a few ways to overcome negative thoughts through affirmation:

Embrace change – Identify anything large or small in your life that may cause you to think negatively. Reflect on how to approach it positively1.

Fact check yourself – Negative thoughts can often be based on things that aren’t true. When you feel yourself going down that route, find something positive. It could be as simple as a lesson learned in a particular situation1.

Laugh it off – When things get rough, sometimes a smile or a laugh can help. Laughter can produce endorphins. Endorphins can decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) therefore helping to reduce your stress level1.

Live healthily – A healthy diet, frequent exercise, stress management and a great night’s sleep can provide the mental clarity necessary to help you sift through negative talk and finally speak the truth about yourself. Stressing less and maintaining a better night’s sleep are essential to healthy living1. CLICK HERE to learn how you can effectively manage your stress and achieve a blissful night’s sleep.

Happy is what happy does.

Exposing yourself to positive people, won’t always guarantee happiness, but it can provide encouragement. There will be days that don’t go quite as planned, and it’s during those times you’ll need positive reinforcements the most, helping you to see past the moment. The same principle applies to music, movies and books. The positivity you put in, is what you will get out.

Time to put that positivity into practice.

Before making a negative statement, ask yourself, “Would I say this to someone else”? Give yourself a little grace, disregarding the negatives. Think about the good things you’ve accomplished and what you are thankful for1. Not to worry if you don’t get it right away. Positive thinking requires practice and lots of it. Avoid negative self-talk by replacing it with a positive statement1, blocking out the negativity, and allowing you to become more accepting of who you are and where you’re going.

Negative self-talk is counterproductive. It allows assumptions and falsehoods to consume your life. For every negative, tell yourself something positive. Forget what you think you’re incapable of and focus on what you are. Positive thinking is a state of mind, it may require some practice, but it’s an achievable goal. If you can’t verbally say what you’re grateful for, write it down in a gratitude journal. Surround yourself with like-minded positive people and participate in activities that bring you joy. Be your biggest advocate. You are what you think, and there’s no doubt that you were meant to be someone great.

1 Positive thinking: stop negative self-talk to reduce stress, Mayo Clinic.
2 Positive reframing and examining the evidence, Harvard University Stress and Development lab.
3 Gratitude definition, Merriam Webster.
4 Can expressing gratitude improve your mental, physical health?, Mayo Health System.
5 4 tips for keeping a gratitude journal, Cleveland Clinic.
6 APA Dictionary of Psychology, American Psychological Association.
7 Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation, National Library of Medicine.

  \  Motivational, Tru Mindset  February 26, 2024

The Power of Community During Health Transformation

The word transformation gets a bad rap. When we think of change, we often think of the stressors it can trigger (as if we need more stress). It can throw off our schedules, leave us emotionally vulnerable and force us into life-altering situations that are very uncomfortable. But not all change is bad. Change must happen for all living things to grow. Transformation is essential, especially when it comes to your health.

There’s no right or wrong reason to pursue a health transformation. Health transformation is simply an investment in you1. It can mean getting a better night’s rest to reduce stress and help improve cognitive abilities or eating right, so your body has more optimal energy to use throughout the day. It’s transformative self-care. Giving your body what it needs so you can be your best.

But health transformation journeys aren’t always as straightforward as we would like them to be. It can drain us of energy, discourage our paths and intimidate our thoughts. At this point, we may need a community support system or group to lean on, and that’s perfectly fine. Therapy groups are amazing tools for seeking help. Community support groups aren’t that. In support groups, everyone has a common goal or interest.

Get some good support.

A good support system is like having a personal cheerleading squad. It feels great to hear encouragement from the sidelines, especially when we are going through life changes. They become your accountability partners, helping you stay on track while working through your personal goals2. Regardless of your level of motivation, it’s your support community that keeps you going, and it can be anyone who understands your aspirations. A group of friends you’ve known since high school, co-workers, a Peloton Mom’s group, or someone you’ve just met. Whether you realize it or not, these incredible individuals will play a crucial part in your transformation journey. While yes, you are more than capable of encouraging yourself, sometimes that added energy from people who ‘get us’ is the push we need to run across the finish line.

Community is important because humans fare better in life when they receive support. That’s not us saying it. It’s all research. Studies have found that people with a high quality or quantity of social networks have better overall health and longevity3.The type of support each person requires is based solely on preference and can occur regardless of age3.

Fantastic social groups…and how to find one.

Health transformation can be an exciting but isolating experience. Not everyone will understand your journey. Isolation can cause you to feel alone, unmotivated, or even stuck. One of the great things about our social media-driven society is that technology has made it easier to connect with the world. Having a support group that understands your experience is essential. A non-profit, local clinic, or organization can run this group4. Although we should always be aware of our relationships, subscribing to a community that best fits you is done intentionally, giving you more control over the type of support you need and want.

Your support group preference will depend heavily on your circumstances. If you are trying to lose weight, it probably wouldn’t be in your best interest to join a group of people that want to gain weight. Not that one group is better, but it doesn’t align with your interests. Maybe it’s not the group, and it’s the location you disagree with. You may be an introvert that likes meeting in a more familiar setting. Maybe work and personal obligations have you on a strict schedule, and you aren’t able to meet in person at a given time. It should be all about what is best for you.

Finding the right community for you can be trial and error but stay positive! You will find your tribe. Begin with people you know and trust to point you in the right direction, like a physician or a reputable non-profit website4.These resources may be located online, in-person, or both4. Make sure that you’re surrounded by individuals who understand your goals and can support you through your journey.

Supportive communities have BIG benefits.

The largest benefit of having a supportive community is that you don’t feel alone. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people. Their support will become a positive reinforcement. Community reduces isolation and can motivate you to continue your journey and create ownership of what you seek to accomplish.

How to create your own support community.

Creating a supportive online or in-person community may take work, but if you can coordinate a fantasy football league, or organize your sister’s baby shower, you have what it takes to start one. Here are a few tips on how to create a support group:

1. Know what your group is about and who would be interested.

Before starting your community, you have to know what the meeting will be about and if anyone will be interested in the topic.

2. Spell out the specifics of your group.

After you’ve figured out who is interested in your group, the next task is determining what kind of group it will be. Will it be a monthly meet-up? Weekly? Will it be a support group, a discussion group, or a professionally led group? We shall see.

3. Here’s a big one. Where will it be?

Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, Skype, and Zoom. Technology has now made connecting more convenient, especially for people with hectic schedules and long distances between them. The technology that you use must be the most accessible for the group. Despite its popularity, convenience isn’t always desirable for everyone. Some support group members may find that meeting in person offers them fewer distractions than they experience at home. What about a hybrid meeting arrangement? Half technology, half in person. It may be beneficial for some; however, it also has the potential to split your group5. Getting everyone on the same meeting schedule can be difficult. Some people can meet in person, while others can’t. It all depends on what is best for your group.

4. Network!

Post your support group’s info on social media and share it with others. Keeping your support group to yourself is a no-go. Social media is the fastest way to spread the word. Not into social media? Email can get the job done. You can use your current contacts to bring awareness to your community. What if you want to add a more personable approach to your marketing strategy? Passing out flyers or different memorable materials will work. Remember, you may not directly know the people that have interest, but your friends might.

5. Okay, what are we talking about?

What will be discussed in the group? Since each meeting has a designated time frame, every moment is precious. You should decide how you will spend your time. You’re not micromanaging necessarily; it’s being efficient not only with your time but the time of others. It also helps the group to flow.

Staying connected and motivated in your community

Make it a point to keep in touch with members of your group. A friendly check-in or a short chat via phone, email, or social media will do. It’s just to say hi. Be upfront about your needs, wants, and concerns while allowing others to make suggestions and address issues. It’s nice to feel heard6. If you want to go the extra mile, be the chairman or chairwoman of activities outside of the support team setting. It’s great to get people out of their element and know them in a different context.

Sharing is caring, especially during your health transformation journey.

Never underestimate the power of your words. To you, it may seem like a gained experience, but to someone else, it’s gained knowledge. Sharing your story can inspire others to tell their truth, encouraging an endless cycle of helpful information. Communicating your views can be therapeutic for you and others. Speaking your mind allows you to express your thoughts and concerns, setting the tone for a warm, collaborative environment and a wildly successful support group.

1 Health transformation: How to know when you are ready. South California Hospital Culver City
2 What is an accountability partner. Masterclass
3 Social and Emotion Support and its Implications for health. National Library of Medicine
4 Support groups: Make connections, get help. Mayo Clinic
5 Tips for starting a support or discussion group. University of buffalo School of Social work
6 Social Support: Getting and Staying Connected. Mental Health America

  \  Motivational, Tru Mindset  February 26, 2024

The Secret to Success: The Power of Consistency

Consistency is the key to success. This is a timeless truth. Any successful person you admire will tell you the same. Consistency is what sets successful people apart. Consistency is the ability to maintain the same level of performance or effort, day in, day out. It is not about being perfect, but it’s about showing up every day and doing what needs to be done, no matter how difficult or mundane the task may be. Let’s explore the power of consistency and how it can change your life in significant ways.

Consistency: The Key to Building Habits that Stick

Consistency is the magic ingredient that turns everyday actions into lifelong habits. It acts as the bridge that connects our dreams to reality, transforming simple actions into powerful habits that become second nature. When you commit to doing something on a regular basis, whether it’s exercising, reading, or practicing a skill, you are setting yourself up for success. By steadily pushing through resistance and building a habit, you create an automatic response that requires less and less willpower to execute. This is why building good habits is such a critical component of achieving your goals.

The Science Behind Consistency and Habits

Our brains are designed to conserve energy and operate efficiently. When we consistently engage in a particular behavior or activity, we are essentially training our minds and bodies to adapt and become accustomed to that routine, eventually turning it into an automatic response that requires minimal conscious effort.

This allows us to develop new habits and eliminate old ones by consistently reinforcing desired behaviors and minimizing undesired ones. Over time, our habitual actions become deeply ingrained, making it difficult for us to break free from them – which is why consistency is so vital in shaping our habits.

Train Your Brain

One common misconception about habit formation is that significant changes require grand gestures or drastic measures. However, research has shown that small, consistent steps can be more effective in creating lasting change. By breaking down our goals into manageable tasks and focusing on consistency, we can achieve gradual progress that accumulates over time.

For instance, instead of trying to read an entire book in one sitting, commit to reading just 10 pages every day. This approach not only makes your goal more achievable but also helps you build the habit of reading consistently. As you continue this practice, your brain will begin to associate reading with pleasure and relaxation, making it easier to maintain this habit in the long run.

Successful People are Consistent

Success is not a matter of chance, but rather a product of consistent hard work and dedication. This is a trait that is often found in successful individuals, who understand the importance of consistency in every aspect of their lives. They don’t rely on occasional bursts of inspiration or luck to achieve their goals, but rather stay true to their routine and work ethic every single day. Whether it’s in their personal or professional life, they take a disciplined approach to their goals, understanding that small consistent steps towards their objectives lead to significant accomplishments over time. Being consistent in your actions and mindset is a fundamental key to achieving success in any area of life, and this is a lesson that successful people have learned and applied.

Consistency in Personal Growth

Personal growth and self-improvement are essential elements of success. By consistently setting and working towards personal goals, individuals can develop the skills and qualities necessary to excel in their chosen fields. Successful people understand that personal growth is a lifelong journey, and they maintain a consistent routine of self-reflection, learning, and skill development to ensure they continue to progress and evolve.

Consistency in Professional Life

In the professional realm, consistency is equally vital. Successful individuals establish a strong work ethic, demonstrating reliability, punctuality, and dedication to their tasks. They understand that their reputation and credibility are built upon their consistent performance and ability to deliver results. By staying committed to their work, they build trust with colleagues, clients, and employers, ultimately paving the way for career advancement and new opportunities.

Building Resilience Through Consistency

Life is full of challenges and setbacks, but successful people recognize that consistency can help them build resilience. By maintaining a steady approach to their goals, they develop the mental fortitude to persevere through difficult times, knowing that their consistent efforts will eventually pay off. This resilience enables them to bounce back from failures and setbacks, turning these experiences into valuable lessons for future growth.

The Power of a Consistency Plan

A consistency plan is a roadmap that outlines the steps you need to take regularly to achieve your goals. It helps you stay focused and accountable to your objectives. When you have a consistent plan, you remove the guesswork, and you know exactly what you need to do every day to achieve your objectives. Not only do consistency plans help you stay focused and accountable, but they also give you the confidence and motivation you need to keep going.

In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the power of a consistency plan and how it can help you achieve your goals.

  1. Clarity of Purpose – One of the main benefits of a consistency plan is the clarity it provides. By outlining your goals and the steps needed to achieve them, you establish a clear sense of purpose, which can be incredibly motivating. This clarity allows you to focus your efforts on what truly matters, rather than getting distracted by less important tasks or losing sight of your objectives.
  2. Accountability – When you have a plan in place, you hold yourself accountable for your actions and progress. This accountability can be a powerful motivator, as it encourages you to stay committed to your plan and avoid procrastination. By regularly reviewing your plan and tracking your progress, you can ensure that you remain on track and make any necessary adjustments to keep moving towards your goals.
  3. Measuring Progress – A key aspect of a consistency plan is the ability to measure and track your progress. By setting milestones and regularly assessing your performance, you can identify areas where improvements can be made, and celebrate your achievements along the way. This not only helps you maintain momentum but also provides valuable insights into what works best for you, allowing you to refine your approach and optimize your efforts.
  4. Resilience and Adaptability – A well-crafted consistency plan can help build resilience and adaptability. As you work towards your goals, you may encounter obstacles or setbacks that require you to adjust your approach. With a plan in place, you can more easily identify these issues and make the necessary changes to overcome them, ensuring that you continue to make progress even when faced with challenges.

The Long-term Impact of Consistency

The impact of consistency is profound and long-lasting. When you approach things with steadfast consistency, you are effectively laying the groundwork for success. Whether it’s establishing a strong daily routine, maintaining a healthy work ethic, or sticking to a long-term goal, you’ll set yourself up for a better future. Remember, the key to success is not doing something occasionally; it’s about showing up every day and doing what needs to be done. As you experience the power of consistency, you’ll become more confident in your abilities and more likely to set and achieve even greater goals. So, if you’re looking to make a meaningful impact on your life, it’s time to start embracing consistency, and the positive changes that come with it.