5 Ways to Reinforce Positive Thinking and Improve Your Mental Health to Reach Your Goals as an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur can be tough! Most times it feels like loneliness, confusion and uncertainty are always around the corner ready to attack at any moment's notice. Today we have ample research that confirms that entrepreneurship is negatively correlated with mental health.
We know that the "entrepreneur life" is stressful. As entrepreneurs we're in a repeat cycle of merging our "never-not-working" mentality with forgoing opportunities for fun or connection.
"Entrepreneur life" can make you feel sleep-deprived, undernourished, and financially constrained. We tend to get overwhelmed in the hustle and lose focus on self-care and coping strategies that we need in order to live a healthy, balanced life.
Don't let the ebbs and flows of your career as an entrepreneur weigh you down mentally or stop you from accomplishing your goals for your business. Here are tips on how to tackle negative thinking and improve your mental health while you're going for those big dreams.
1. Protect and optimize your physical health.
The mind and the body are linked. When you start to improve your physical health, you’ll automatically start to gain a greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins that lift your mood and provide extra energy to keep you going. Regular exercise can boost your creativity and problem-solving skills, relieve stress, improve your memory, and help you to sleep better -- all of which you need to help flourish as an entrepreneur.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, "As an entrepreneur, exercising multiple times a week is a necessity because you have to be mentally sharp and operate with an unwavering focus each and every day. Your purpose is to make your brain as resilient as it can be and remove as much stress as possible so you’re not distracted in the boardroom or when it’s family time."
Here are a few activities that we recommend:
Yoga Class – According to the American Psychological Association, yoga helps with relaxation and easing stress. Eliminating high stress levels is beneficial for those who have uncontrollable negative thoughts, which is common in mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Dance Class - Dancing offers a creative outlet for people to be able to express themselves. From weight loss, to increased flexibility, or building a stronger core, dancing is a total workout for your mind and body.
2. STOP NEGATIVE THOUGHTS IN THEIR TRACKS.
Negative thinking is the easiest way to slow down your business and personal goals. So how do you get rid of negative thoughts? There are a number of ways to do it.
Reconditioning the way you think isn’t easy. Especially if your negative thoughts stem from general anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition. Shifting the way that you think means you’re consciously stopping an established thought pattern.
Here are few quick exercises:
1. Speak to the Negative Thought - Practice becoming aware of when these thoughts come up. Are you tired, hungry, disappointed, stressed or something else? Recognize the negativity and use the inner voice inside your mind to say, “I’m recognizing a negative thought; it’s a story I’m telling myself, and it’s not true.” This exercise will squash negative thoughts in a heartbeat.
2. Put Yourself Around Positive People - Surround yourself with optimistic people who share the same goals as you.
3. Don't Expect Everything To Be Perfect - You're a perfectionist right? We know. We will get to this problem a little further down in this blog. In the meantime, make sure your vision of success is based in reality. Strive for goals on your own terms and remember that everyone's journey to success in entrepreneurship is unique.
3. LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE.
Positive thinking, or an optimistic attitude, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. According to Webmd.com , "Many studies have looked at the role of optimism and positive thinking in mental and physical health. It’s not always clear which comes first: the mindset or these benefits. But there is no downside to staying upbeat. The mental benefits may include: more creativity, greater problem-solving skills, clearer thinking, better mood, better coping skills, less depression."
To truly reprogram your mind to be more positive, you have to bring positive thinking into your everyday life as an entrepreneur. You have to focus on having a positive outlook in your present moment.
Here are a few tips:
1. Start your day with a positive affirmation giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror. State 3 positive things about you or your business and say it with a smile.
2. Remember what you're grateful for. Use an affirmation journal or gratitude app to keep a constant reminder of all the little things that make your boss life great!
3. Create a cycle of joy by paying it forward. When we engage in acts of kindness, we also contribute to our own happiness. Even small acts that make others smile can bring you joy. Doing something nice is also a powerful way to reinforce positive thinking.
For example, you may be feeling anxious about an upcoming meeting or stressed about a pitch that you're working on, and your usual pattern of thinking is to worry about it. Try doing something compassionate for someone else instead if worrying yourself into a headache.
4. DON’T BULLY YOURSELF!
In many ways, we can be our own worst critic. Setting high standards for your business can deliver great outcomes, especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs. However, perfectionists strive for unreasonable, often unattainable, results that over time cause mental and/or physical illness. In fact, some research has shown that perfectionism can be linked directly to mental illnesses including depression and anxiety.
If you're an entrepreneur that is bogged down by perfectionism, be realistic about what you can successfully accomplish while maintaining your health and wellness. Seriously! If your "perfect" thing is never published or put out there, you won't get the results that you'd hoped for. It won't make the impact you want it to make.
We suggest that you shift your thinking to a "just do it" mentality. Don't stall or overthink a project because its not "perfect". Move through your tasks to get more done and have more time for yourself as well, as you grow your business.
5. Make face-to-face social connection a priority
You're an introvert, we understand. It's easier to chat over the phone or send a message or email. Phone calls and social networks can be good ways to connect with other creatives or entrepreneurs, but nothing can beat the stress-reducing, mood-boosting power of quality face-to-face time with other people. The foundation to good mental health care starts with good, old-school social connections.
"Research has long-supported the idea that strong social bonds strengthen people's mental health. According to this study, all forms of socialization aren't equal. "Phone calls and digital communication, with friends or family members, do not have the same power as face-to-face social interactions in helping to stave off depression," says Alan Teo, M.D., M.S.,
We suggest that you:
Set as many meetings as you can in person. Give yourself an opportunity to connect with like-minded people who have the same interests as you. Share some of your struggles with your peers and utilize those relationships as resources.
Remember that being a healthy entrepreneur means that you should keep a well balanced lifestyle. This means taking care of your mental health. Use these 5 ways to reinforce positive thinking and improve your mental health to reach your goals as an entrepreneur. Stay mentally and physically fit, stop the negative thinking and just relax.