Lessons in Life: Changing Your Mind Can Change Everything

{image courtesy Silentmind.com}

{image courtesy Silentmind.com}

Beyonce’s oft quoted lyric “I woke up like this” took on new meaning for me when I woke up one morning recently in a very unhappy, discontented mood. This wasn’t a superficial pity party over something insignificant. No, this was one of those moments that a situation involving something deeply important, personal, and meaningful in my life wasn’t going at all the way my heart had hoped for–had prayed for–and I was feeling frustrated, sad, and even a little hopeless about it. You know what I’m talking about: one of those moments where you can’t change anything about the circumstances you find yourself in even though it’s something you desire to the very core of your being.

In short, I woke up in a complete, total, utter, heavy, all consuming funk.

In a funk (1)

And for a while I sat on my couch just ruminating in my feelings.  Not that it changed anything but sometimes it’s easy to occasionally fall into the trap of being comfortable feeling miserable. Misery love company, and I had become a willing companion.

Then suddenly I remembered something important: while perhaps I “woke up like this” there was nothing making me stay like that except me. While I couldn’t change the circumstances themselves I most definitely had the power to change my mindset and mood. Though I don’t have control over life’s situations I absolutely do have control over how I respond to them. So, just like that, I decided to “change my mind,” and that one decision completely changed my mindset, mood, and day for the better.

So how did I do it? With small shifts in how I decided to spend my time that day. Here were my strategies:


After my mind changing revelation, the first thing I did was get up and put on my sneakers to go for a brisk walk/run. And you know what? Being in a different environment instantly began to shift my mood. I got some fresh air and sunshine (hello vitamin D!), and the exercise itself was a boost. Just physically removing yourself from one space to another can often be enough to make your brain shift gears.

And as an added bonus of changing my scenery, I was actually able to take in some really lovely scenery, too. The beauty of the sites along my path further enhanced my good feelings. I could feel the brain synapses starting to fire off…this was really working!

Take a moment to absorb the scenery around you--you just might see something lovely {image credits Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Take a moment to absorb the scenery around you–you just might see something lovely {image credits Davon D. E. Hatchett}

If you can’t get immediately get outside or get some exercise there are still plenty of things you can do to shift your scene and shift your mindset. Try these strategies out:

  • Do you get a coffee break during your work day? Then actually go to a nearby coffee shop! Plant yourself close to a window; sip on your favorite beverage; and do a little people watching. It’s a quick and easy mind refresher.
  • If you can’t really get away from the office at least get out of it by taking a few minutes to yourself and sitting in your car. Turn on the radio; listen to some music, and just decompress.
  • Go for a walk outdoors. Whether it a leisurely stroll or full on exercise, the physical  activity and the Vitamin D from the sun could give you a good hit of endorphins. And we likey endorphins.


After my lovely walk my spirits were exponentially lifted. But I figured there was no need to stop now–I wanted to keep the mood-boosting bus rolling! That said, I decided to take things a step further and indulge myself with a treat I’ve been craving for weeks: hot, spicy, delicious crawfish. Yes, you read that right; I “treated” myself to crawfish. If you’ve seen the price per pound of crawfish lately you’d know it was indeed a treat, but it was the perfect one for a Louisiana/Southern girl like me.

Treat yo self! My magical. mood boosting crawdads {image credits: left picture Mohigantimes.org courtesy of NBC; right photo Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Treat yo self! My magical. mood boosting crawdads {image credits: left picture Mohigantimes.org courtesy of NBC; right photo Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Crustacean delights aren’t you thing? No biggie. Here are some other ways to treat yo’ self:

  • Chocolate! If you are a lover of the cocoa deliciousness that is chocolate indulge. But not just any ol’ chocolate; get something decadent like a gourmet chocolate bar; a thick, rich chocolate milkshake; or a pain au chocolat. Chocolate is purported to be a mood booster as well.
  • You had to know this one was coming: have a glass of champagne! There’s something about those tiny bubbles tickling your nose and dancing on your tongue that makes it almost impossible to say down in the dumps.


I thought one of the easiest ways to get myself into a better frame of mind would be to add pleasant things into my brain that could take the place of any lingering unhappy thoughts. To round out my mind changing day, I decided to give my mind the pleasure of thinking solely about the things that inspire me so I leisurely read a couple of issues of my fave mags and just let my mind wander.

Read a terrific magazine on lifestyle and design? Well, don't mind if I Rue. {image credit Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Read a terrific magazine on lifestyle and design? Well, don’t mind if I Rue. {image credit Davon D. E. Hatchett}

Check out these suggestion for jumping on a new train of your own:

  • I love to pore over the pages of a magazine for beautiful imagery; smart and funny (and sometimes cheeky) stories; profiles of creative and innovative people; and food, drink, design, and entertaining–which are all subjects that I already love. If you’re into digital copy try my virtual magazine favorites Rue Magazine and Matchbook Magazine.
  • Meditate! Quieting your mind for a little while can bring a sense of peace, and it’s difficult for peace and anxiety to occupy the same space in your mind. Try these 8 mediation tips from Deepak Chopra.
  • Completely change your mental conversation by listening to a TEDTalk. You can delve into a completely inspiring story; see something amazing involving technology; or getting perspective on how to live a happy and creative life.

The funny thing is that once I made an effort to change my mindset that day there were lasting effects that carried over into the remainder of my week. It became a proven life lesson: changing your mind gives you a new perspective, and perspective can change everything. Behavioral Academic Scientist and best-selling author Dr. Steve Maraboli said “Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” Start with the (wo)man in the mirror…make that change.

Hmm, I suddenly have an urge to listen to some Michael Jackson.