I get asked all the time, what exactly is mental wealth?? And the answer is, it encompasses a myriad of things! But today, I want to focus on self-awareness.
Mental wealth has a LOT to do with self-awareness. Being aware of why we think and behave in the way we do and using that knowledge to choose an alternative way to think and behave that better serves us.
It’s about understanding and spotting triggering thoughts that can lead you down a downward spiral of negative thinking and inertia/inaction and actually choosing to respond in a healthier way.
As much work as I myself have done on investing in my own mental wealth, I am not infallible, I’m still human! And today I was reminded of this very thing as my own mental toughness was tested…
Instead of waking up at 6am like I was supposed to, I had actually forgotten to set my alarm and so when I woke up and realised it was 6.17am, instead of springing out of bed and starting my new (2 day old) invigorating morning routine, I ended up turning round and going straight back to sleep because I felt really tired. How many of us do this every day? Set a good intention and then fail to follow through? How does it make you feel? To me, it makes me feel like a failure.
And that’s exactly how I felt today. By the time I crawled out of bed at 7.30am when my 5 year old ran into my bedroom bursting with energy, I felt exhausted.
So, instead of starting the morning with purpose, vigour and exercise(!), I ended up feeling really groggy and demotivated. So much so that I debated coming back home after the school run and going straight back to bed.
It would’ve been so easy, I have a few days off work this week and have a million things to do for my business so I needed to get up and cracking early today. Starting the day off so badly annoyed me and I was frustrated with myself for not getting up.
And so…it began, without me even realising it. The negative inner talk. Blaming myself for not being stronger, for not sticking to things, for giving up, for being tired, wondering how I was going to achieve all I needed to today feeling so tired and so on….until.
STOP!! I caught myself in the moment. Something which so few of us do.
My own mental wealth kicked in and I realised that my thinking was heading to a very unhelpful place and so, in a split second, I made a decision to change the record and do something different.
Whilst trying to usher my son out to school this morning (much later than I had wanted due to the inertia) I made the decision that instead of coming back home, feeling tired, achieving very little and feeling sorry for myself (my default reaction), I was going to go somewhere I’ve never been before and go for a walk in the countryside. Whilst this also wasn’t really tackling my huge To Do list, it was surely better than succumbing to feelings of lethargy followed by self-pity.
And so, that’s exactly what I did! I dropped my son off to school and drove straight to a nearby village that I had never been to before. I walked across the hills and around a beautiful lake followed by breakfast at a nearby tea room. The whole expedition lasted 2 hours, was extremely cathartic and I am so glad that I didn’t succumb to my usual default response of feeling annoyed with myself. I chose to respond in a more positive and healthier way.
The learning? If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will only ever stay exactly where are you are. You have to challenge the status quo, you have to challenge yourself and instead of succumbing to an action that you know won’t help you, take charge of your response by choosing a better course of action.
The course of action I chose today was better both for my mind and my body. It gave me much needed time out from my own negative thinking and it meant that the whole day didn’t go down the pan as I was able to be productive for the rest of the day and knock a few tasks off that mammoth list.
Mental wealth is within all of us, we just have to activate it through consciousness and better self-awareness of what our pitfalls are, what triggers us and being strong enough to just stop and re-assess when we can see familiar patterns of negative behaviour surfacing. Mine still gets tested daily and the self-work never really stops! But, it sure beats feeling low, anxious or depressed so I’ll take that!
It’s why I practice what I teach in my training and coaching at the Mental Wealth Academy and I would love to share this with you if you resonate with the kind of unhelpful thinking and behaviour that I experienced today. Contact me for more details.
Needless to say I will be checking my alarm before I turn out the light tonight!