If you've been around the School of Self-Image for any length of time, you’ll know we talk a lot about managing your mind because your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings create everything else. 

If you’ve ever read a self-help book, or even just paid attention to the inspirational quotes that populate your social feed, you’d be aware that it’s long been widely known that our minds are the center around which everything else in our lives revolves. 

Our minds determine every aspect of our existence: what we wear, who we befriend, our career paths, and the groups we belong to. There is no way around our minds and the power they hold – and that's a good thing! 

We can leverage these extraordinary faculties to draw the absolute best out of life. 

What Exactly Is Your Mind?

Rene Descartes was the first scholar to explore the nature of the mind, and debates about it are still ongoing. We know that the mind – largely agreed to be a product of the brain – is a highly abstract phenomenon that gives rise to our thoughts, feelings, and actions. But the brain alone cannot fully explain the workings of the mind. There is much about it that remains a mystery. 

What Is Mindset? 

Our mindset comprises the beliefs and attitudes that determine how we see ourselves, other people, and the world. A person's mindset is shaped by different factors, including education, upbringing, and culture. 

Carol Dweck distinguishes between two types of attitudes: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. 

Women with a fixed mindset believe that they cannot change their essential qualities; thus, they avoid challenges. 

Unfortunately, a fixed mindset keeps you stuck where you are and prevents you from reaching your full potential. 

On the other hand, a growth mindset is characterized by a willingness to accept challenges. Women with this mindset believe they can succeed, and they use constructive criticism to better themselves rather than allowing such feedback to discourage them. This is why attitude plays a crucial role in personal development and performance

What Is the Relationship Between Mindset and Thoughts? 

A healthy mindset produces positive thoughts, whereas an unhealthy mindset results in negative ones. 

Our minds continuously process information. The data we gather affects our mindset, which determines the nature and quality of our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our actions, and they give way to our experiences. Now that we have experienced certain things, our mind has a new load of information to process from which thoughts develop – and so the cycle continues. 

Women with fixed, negative mindsets tend to develop distorted thought patterns

Here are a few examples:

  • Filtering: the tendency to remember only negative/selective information 
  • Either/or thinking: thinking in extreme measures and not considering a middle ground
  • Generalizing: drawing premature conclusions based on isolated events
  • Jumping to conclusions: assuming that we know something in the absence of facts
  • Magnifying: believing that something is far worse or more significant than it is
  • Minimizing: wrongly reducing a circumstance or being in denial about it 

How Are Thoughts and Emotions Related? 

Our thoughts and emotions constantly influence one another. For example, positive thinking leads to a feel-good emotion, whereas morbid rumination results in an unpleasant emotion. 

Our emotions, in turn, determine our feelings, which is the conscious experience we have of the emotion. 

Fortunately, we are subject neither to our thoughts nor our feelings. Thoughts are under our conscious control, so we can deliberately choose to think differently. 

Similarly, we can choose our feelings about a particular emotion. While emotions often develop unconsciously, we can still choose how we interpret them and thus how they make us feel. 

Here's an example: Suppose someone purposefully darts in front of you to grab your parking spot at the grocery store. Your immediate response will likely be shock, followed by exasperation. The emotion is anger, but what you make of that anger is entirely up to you. You can choose to feel upset about the incident all day long, thus allowing it to ruin your day, or brush it off and move on. 

How Our Feelings Affect Our Actions – and Vice Versa

It's easy to see how our feelings impact our actions: if we feel compassion toward someone, we treat them kindly; if a situation annoys us or scares us, we try to avoid it. 

The purpose of emotions is to give us messages about our environment. They are meant to guide us to optimal safety and guard us against pain. For example, consider the grocery store incident: your anger toward the person results from your instinctual drive (your “critter brain”) to protect yourself, even though no real harm in this modern day and age is at hand. 

Knowing this, you can decide what to think about the situation and change your feelings about it. 

Being in control of your thoughts (managing your mind) allows you to retain control over your emotions and thus your actions. You’re not likely to verbally attack the person or take some other action of “protection” or retribution. When you’re in control of your thoughts and feelings, you can walk away from the situation with calm and dignity, let it go and avoid allowing it to ruin your day. You may even go so far as to sympathize with the parking spot swiper and wish them joy throughout the rest of their day. Guess what that does for your energy vibration, my friend. 

The relationship between feelings and actions are reciprocal. In other words, actions also result in emotions and feelings. This is why working on a relationship works! When you act lovingly and thoughtfully toward another person, the positive feelings of warmth and connectedness return. 

Why Our Actions Determine Our Results 

What is most likely to happen when two people are committed to mending their broken relationship? In most cases, you will restore the relationship. Why? Because of their actions. If both parties decide to treat the other with thoughtfulness and respect, it is unlikely that the union will end in a disaster. 

Likewise, if a businesswoman puts energy and action into her business, it is more probable that she will see success than if she had neglected it. 

It is a simple process of input and output– you get out what you put in.  

How You Can Manage Your Mind 

This knowledge is encouraging because it implies that we have control over our lives. While unforeseen circumstances and calamities are a given, we have governance over at least one thing – our minds. 

But where do we start managing our minds? How do we change our mindsets, thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, and results? 

Here are a few helpful strategies to get you started:

Identify Negative Thoughts and Thought Patterns

Before you can regain control of your mind, you need to be aware of what's happening in your thought life. When a negative thought pops up, try to identify it as soon as possible. If you find yourself stuck in a destructive thought cycle, call it out and purposefully set your thoughts elsewhere. 

Accept Your Emotions 

Emotions are part of what it means to be human. From happiness and excitement to sadness and disappointment, most of us experience them all. So when an unpleasant emotion such as jealousy creeps up, don't try to avoid it. Instead, name it and explore its underlying causes. Perhaps another's achievement triggers your own insecurity. It's far easier to process and move on when you understand why you have a particular emotion. Accepting your emotions also helps you regulate them better. 

Meditate or Experiment with Guided Imagery 

Meditation is a fantastic tool for clearing the mind and intercepting negative thought patterns. When intrusive thoughts pop up, try to observe them objectively without letting them affect your emotions. Instead, notice them and refocus on relaxing and breathing. Over time, this reduces a thought's power over you. Guided imagery is another form of meditation involving visualization. The aim is to picture an uplifting, peaceful setting, which reduces anxiety and improves your mood.    

Focus on the Positives

Positive thinking does not mean denying your problems. Instead, it is about adopting a positive perspective on the things that bother you. Therefore, rather than assigning a negative meaning to whatever it is you are thinking and feeling, you can try to look at the opportunities and best-case scenario outcomes. If, for example, you didn't get the job you hoped for, view it as a chance to discover something even better instead of seeing it as a personal failure. 


Apart from its therapeutic value, journaling improves your emotional functioning. Writing down your thoughts enhances reflection and mindfulness, which aids in adopting a positive perspective. Journaling also makes you more self-aware as you notice thought patterns and triggering situations. If you journal regularly, you will also be encouraged by your progress over time. 

Ask for Help

These strategies might all seem more straightforward than they are. If you suffer from mental health issues like depression or anxiety or have experienced a traumatic event, don't be afraid to ask for help. You might have a trusted friend who would be happy to listen to and support you. You can also consider seeing a therapist. These trained professionals will use therapies suited to your concerns and give you practical advice for coping and managing your mind.  

Manage Your Mind and the Rest will Fall Into Place

Learning to manage your mind might be the greatest gift you can give yourself. Since our minds determine our perceptions of ourselves, others, and the world we inhabit, they inform our entire human experience. Regaining control over your mind will help you deal with life's difficulties and allow you to recognize and reach your full potential.

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