Your mindset refers to the combination of beliefs, opinions, and thoughts that you’ve formed about yourself and the world around you. Your mindset is learned and shaped over a lifetime by your education, religion, upbringing, and experiences.
Your mindset can both limit and liberate our perspective. While you most likely didn’t choose your mindset in the past, you can make the choice to change your mindset for the better. You can reap the benefits of a positive mindset to improve many aspects of your life including your physical health, relationships, even your experience with pain and fatigue.
A fixed versus growth mindset
One way to assess your mindset is to evaluate how you respond to challenges or opportunities that arise in your life. Depending on if you have a fixed or growth mindset will determine both how you view yourself in a given situation and the nature of your response.
"Getting stuck" with a fixed mindset
Someone who has a fixed mindset believes their character, intelligence and creative abilities are fixed. They are constrained by their thoughts and beliefs. They don’t believe they can improve their abilities in a meaningful way and therefore limit important skill development and growth.
Someone with a fixed mindset will give up easily for fear of failure. The fixed mindset prevents you from failing in the short–run, but in the long–run it hinders your ability to grow, learn, and develop new skills.
With a fixed mindset, you also fall into the trap of believing that you’ll never feel better. There is no potential outside of the way you feel right now thereby limiting the possibility of feeling better in the future. This mindset restricts you both mentally and physically.
Finding the potential of a growth mindset
Someone with a growth mindset on the other hand believes they have unlimited potential. They find freedom in their thoughts and beliefs. In their mind, success is tied to hard work and persevering through difficulties and challenges to develop new skills.
People who have a growth mindset are more likely to maximize their potential. They tend to learn from criticism, overcome challenges, and find inspiration in the success of others rather than feeling threatened. With a growth mindset, anything is possible.
Why does your mindset matter?
Your mindset is directly linked to your thoughts and feelings, which plays a critical role in how you respond to pain and fatigue. If you have a fixed mindset, you will generally assume the worst and may think you will never feel better. If you then do nothing to improve your circumstances, you likely won’t feel better and this will perpetuate the problem. You can see how this mindset essentially gets you nowhere.
In contrast, with a growth mindset, you will be more likely to look for ways to feel better and more energized and therefore address underlying issues that may be causing pain and fatigue. This opens you up for a successful response and the opportunity to feel better through daily habits, lifestyle changes and medical management (if necessary).
Taking the next step
Shifting your mindset requires regular practice. I encourage a daily routine that incorporates some kind of mindset practice. It can take time to figure out which method works best for you, so try to be open to exploring different types of practice.
Some different methods include meditation, mindfulness practice, gratitude practice, breathwork, and/or journaling.
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