When talking about change and growing, it all begins in the same place as does most things. Our thinking minds.

Have you ever thought about what your thinking looks like? What have you thought about the past hour? I’ve thought of at least 85 different things for the past sixty minutes. That’s the thing with the mind, it is always turned on. From the moment you wake up to a few moments before you fall asleep, we are thinking, thinking, thinking.

I’ve been suffering from depression my whole life, thankfully I have it under control now through medication and certain practices, which I’ll get into, but my mind can still be an ugly place. I can be sitting at my work desk, having a great day, then my mind chimes and gives me 12 different things to worry about and I chop myself down with about 5 criticisms.

It can be brutal, it can really cripple you and ruin your day. I know it has for me for years. About 6 months ago I really got tired of letting my mind dominate me. I’ve been sober for 5 years from drugs, I was a total slave to my mind in my active addiction so I know what that feels like. Of course, things weren’t that severe a few months back but I was tired of getting fatigued from my mind.

I began using simple positive affirmations to start my morning, things like:

  • “I am doing great”
  • “I love myself”
  • “I am a good friend”
  • “I am a good partner”
  • “I am great at my job”
  • “Life is good”

Very simple stuff, nothing well-thought-out or overly specific, the results have been quite powerful. When I tell myself those things, it goes so against the grain of how my mind usually operates and it generates a great effect. Go ahead, try it right now, tell yourself some positive things and see how it makes you feel!

Morning Practices

Along with positive affirmations, I have started to make my mornings a great launching pad for my day by developing a ritual. There are certain things I do in the morning that have had a major impact on how I feel overall throughout the day. Those practices include :

  • MeditationGetting your mind quiet every morning, even for a few minutes can have a profound effect. Get somewhere quiet, sit still and focus on your breathing. Try your best to quiet your mind (it’s hard) or use the time to reflect positively on yourself.
  • Visualization – Where do you want to be in life? When I ask that question, I bet a picture comes into your mind. There is a mysterious power to envisioning that picture every day. Picture yourself where you want to be, try to feel yourself actually doing it, it can subconsciously lead you in the right way.
  • Writing – There is power in pen to paper. I find something to write every day, whether it’s what I’m grateful for, things I need to accomplish, some positive affirmations. Whatever it is it really gets me in good energy for whatever reason.

These are what I choose to start my morning with, I’m not here to tell you to do exactly this, but I challenge you to find those things that put good energy into you and do them every morning. The holidays can generate anxiety for many of us, make it a time to combat that anxiety with some new practices that can really mold how you look at life in a positive light. Stop beating yourself up, you’re doing the best you can.

Ben Schmidt is a writer in recovery from drug addiction as well as from clinical depression. He believes enforcing positivity in your life can have a profound effect.

Additional Resource – Benefits of Meditation.