12 Ways to make your head a better neighborhood


By David Joel Miller

Is your mind a scary place? 12 Ways to clean up that neighborhood.

1. Adopt a daily affirmation.

Bad Neighborhood

Bad Neighborhood.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (dystopos)

Fill up that space between your ears with positive thoughts. Tell yourself you can. Remind yourself of the things that you do well.

Self-talk matters and replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations can really help improve your mental neighborhood.

2. Before bedtime make up a list of things that you did well today.

It is easy to focus on the mistakes and to beat yourself up over them. To make you mind more positive make sure that you learn to accept compliments and to give yourself credit for things done well. You need lots of thoughts about how you did something well to withstand the storms of doubt that are sure to come.

3. Think of a favorite mental place and visit your happy place whenever times get bad.

Remember those good times and places. Take a short mental trip back to the mountains or the beach. Remember that time you were at the theme park or at grandma’s house.

Wherever and whenever you had a moment of happiness, hold fast to that memory and reinforce it so that it is a bright spot in your inner thoughts.

4. Increase the number of friends that inhabit your memories.

More friends, more happy memories. Watch out for acquaintances and drinking buddies. True friends want the best for you. You may have few or you may have many but cherish all you have.

5. Face your fears and anxieties.

If something is scaring you do not cower in negative thoughts. Face that fear boldly. Let it know that you will not allow that fear to ruin your mental home. Take small steps to create a safer world and to loosen the grip fear and anxiety holds on your mind.

6. Stop angering yourself.

People do not anger you. You may think they are but realize that there are a lot of sick and stupid people out there. They do sick and stupid things. Do not let them ruin your inner peace. Rather than insisting the world be the way you want it to be work on changing whatever small aspect you have the power to change.

Mostly what you can change is yourself and your attitude.

7. Forgive yourself repeatedly.

If you have made an error, been less than you wanted to be, learn to forgive yourself. Forgive yourself often, repeat as needed.

8. Accept your past made you who you are.

You may have experiences in the past that you would never want to undergo again. Accept that those experiences made you the unique person you are and then try to move forward from there. Make peace with the past but do not let it continue to run your present.

9. Stop blaming others and insisting they change.

Others are who they are. You are who you are. Take the actions to make you the best possible you. Do not blame your circumstances on them. They may have wronged you, hurt and injured you. You can let that run your life or you can choose to take back as much control of your life as is possible.

Creating a happy successful life is the best way to erase their influence on your life.

10. Stop looking for someone or something to make you better.

You are the best expert on you. You can choose the things that are right for you. Do not wait for that one person that can come along and “fix” you. Make use of the coaches and counselors that come your way. Learn from each and every teacher but remember you are the one who is directing your thoughts and take them in the direction you need them to go.

11. Avoid seeing things as black or white, all or nothing.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that things are either perfect or no good. Having some happiness is better than none. Enjoy the things you have. Be grateful for the blessings you receive. No one is ever all the things they want to be.

12. Thinking that your past has determined your future keeps you in the past.

Your past set you on the path to a possible future. You have many possible futures. Do not think that because you have one past that you have only one possible future. Be the architect of the path forward.

Set out today on your own mental urban renewal project and see what a wonderful neighborhood you own mind can be.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

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