You are probably thinking to yourself, what exactly does 'training your mind' mean?
I did not know what it meant either when I first heard my mom reference it while I was still a high school sophomore.
Essentially, training your mind means that you allow your mind to not solely focus on or point to the negative. At the time, this seemed like an impossible task for me to combat, especially because I did not even realize how often I dwelled on or spewed negativity. The negativity came so easy and automatically to me, it was extremely difficult for me to even recognize when I was thinking or speaking of it. So, identifying it as a problem was even harder.
After eventually realizing I could not defeat these negative thoughts on my own, I consulted a therapist. After countless weekly therapy sessions, my journey to training my mind began.
First things first, you have to identify it as an issue. You have to recognize that it is not healthy to be primarily concentrating on negativity. It is more likely for other people to point it out to you rather than you realizing it on your own. For example, my mom and my friends were really the ones that helped me to become aware of the damaging effects my constant negativity had on me and facilitated the process for me.
However, you cannot depend on other people to train YOUR mind for you. It's ultimately up to you to tackle the issue on your own, as difficult as it may be.
After you recognize it as a problem, the healing process gradually becomes easier because you are able to see how often your mind strays toward the negative. After completing this first step, at least for me, it was a startling wake-up call. You are able to view your thought process in a whole different light. And after getting a firm grasp on it, you can begin to change the way you think, or "train" your mind.
You must identify what causes the negative thought. Once you do that, ask yourself, "Why is this situation causing me to think negatively?" and once your find the answer, or if you don't, try your absolute hardest to drown the negative thought out with a differing one. The combating thought against the negative one does not even necessarily have to be a positive one, just an alternative, or an affirmation.
For example, if you find yourself simply thinking, "my life sucks," go about the situation by recognizing what caused you to think this way, why you're thinking this way, and then tell yourself a good thing about your life. Or, if you can't think of a good thing at the moment, recognize that you're thinking in hyperboles. When I can't postulate a combating positive thought, I just tell myself I am being irrational, and that my life does not suck — I have a lot to be grateful for--but at the moment, I am upset about something.
Prior to therapy, this process was the hardest thing to accomplish. To me, it was much easier to just remain in my unhealthy mindset and not try. Until I recognized that even this sentiment was a part of my negative thought process as well. I reached a point where I grew sick of always feeling sorry for myself and not seeing my life improve by own doing. I wanted to get better, and that's the key.
You need to get to the point where you want to get better for than anything else. You want the best for yourself. This was a long time coming for me, because during a dark period in my life, I didn't believe I deserved to get better. I didn't see the point.
But again--these were the negative demons in my head working against me. I realize that now. It took a while, but I finally made it.
Of course, I still struggle with my negative thoughts. Although it is a difficult pill to swallow, you must accept the fact that the negative thoughts will always be there. You'll still have your occasional emotional meltdowns, and that's perfectly normal. Nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. We are all human.
So, although my negative thoughts will always be present in the back of my mind, I just don't let them control me or consume me. That's the difference between me then and me now. I am a product of successfully training your mind. It's always a work in progress, but it's better than no progress at all. Never lose sight of the positive outlets and bright lights in your life. Just like the negative, the positive is always there, so why don't we primarily focus on that instead?