How To Foster A Growth Mindset For Better Health
Your mind plays an important role in everything you do in life. In fact, nearly every action you take and the decisions you make are influenced by your mindset. It impacts what you think of your own abilities, how you view yourself, and the goals you wish to achieve in your lifetime. Plus, your mindset can also play a role in both your physical and mental health, which means understanding and shaping it can help you improve your overall well-being.
Don’t believe us? We’ll break it down for you.
Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset
According to Merriam-Webster, mindset is defined as “a mental attitude of inclination.” Whether you realize it or not, the mindset you adopt influences a lot about how you perceive the world around you. It guides your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and impacts your ability to learn, grow, and respond to challenges. Generally, your mindset can be categorized into one of two types—fixed or growth.
Those who have a fixed mindset believe that their traits and abilities are predetermined, inherently stable, and unable to be significantly changed. What does this mean? In simple terms, it means that people with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence and abilities are naturally limited. As a result of this belief, people with this type of mindset tend to shy away from new challenges, fear criticism, and take failure personally instead of viewing it as a learning opportunity.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is the opposite. People who have a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and abilities are able to grow and change. They believe that time, persistence, and practice are all that are needed to become better at any given task. This mindset naturally leads people toward being more open to new challenges and the inclination to see failures as opportunities to grow. They understand that setbacks and obstacles are a natural part of any learning process, so they embrace them and use them as stepping stones toward future success.
Mindset in Action
To help you wrap your mind around the differences a little better, here are some common examples of these mindsets in action.
A college student is preparing for a final exam.
- Fixed Mindset: A student with a fixed mindset may believe that they are not good at taking tests or will never understand this subject, so they may put off studying because it “won’t make a difference anyway.”
- Growth Mindset: A student with a growth mindset knows that even if the subject is difficult they can pass if they put in a little extra time and effort, so they study after class, join a study group, or seek extra tutoring to help themselves prepare.
A couple gets into an argument or faces a setback in their relationship.
- Fixed Mindset: Someone with a fixed mindset may believe this is a sign that the relationship is never going to work out, so they may as well end things now.
- Growth Mindset: Someone with a growth mindset will see these moments as an opportunity to learn about the other person and improve on their ability to communicate and compromise.
An entrepreneur opens up her first business and receives negative reviews online.
- Fixed Mindset: A business owner with a fixed mindset may take negative reviews as a sign she should give up, or she may choose to ignore the feedback because she is already doing the best she can and she “can’t please everyone.”
- Growth Mindset: A business owner with a growth mindset would view the feedback as areas to improve her business. She would develop new strategies and systems to help prevent those same issues from occurring in the future.
Growth Mindset and Your Health
So, what does any of this have to do with your health? Let us explain.
First and foremost, your mindset can impact your mental health. Researchers have found that people who have a growth mindset tend to experience less stress, fewer mental health issues, and an improved ability to cope with the challenges of everyday life. Additionally, a growth mindset helps people view setbacks and failures as an opportunity to grow, which naturally fosters a sense of resilience and optimism. This is likely why children and adolescents who have developed a growth mindset tend to perform better academically.
What’s more? Researchers have also found that embracing a growth mindset can positively impact your physical health. Much of the benefit here comes from the fact that those with a growth mindset believe that they are able to change their own thoughts, actions, and abilities. This naturally leads to an increased desire and motivation to engage in healthy activities such as exercise. In short, people who have adopted a growth mindset are more likely to engage in preventative health measures that support a long, healthy life.
How To Develop A Growth Mindset
If you believe you’ve allowed yourself to fall into a fixed mindset, rest assured that you don’t have to stay there. There are steps you can take to foster a growth mindset so you can reap its many benefits.
1. Practice Self-Reflection
Spend some time in reflection. Think about your past experiences, current habits, and common reactions, and try to identify areas where you can improve. Consider what you can learn from both your successes and failures, and use that information to inform your personal development goals moving forward.
2. Embrace Challenges
When you find yourself tempted to shy away from a challenge, try to lean into it instead. Remember, the challenges you face give you the opportunity to learn and grow. Use tools like affirmations, journaling, and the 5 Second Rule to help push past your hesitations and face challenges head-on.
3. Learn to Love Learning
Start cultivating a love of learning and actively seek out new information and experiences. Make it a daily practice to broaden your horizons and look for new opportunities to grow. This could take the form of reading, taking a class, or simply interacting with new people and ideas.
4. Surround Yourself with Positivity
Choose your friends and relationships wisely. Seek to spend time with people who are positive, motivating, inspirational, and genuinely want to see you grow and develop. Additionally, aim to minimize your own criticisms of yourself and concentrate on your positive qualities. Adding more positivity to your life will go a long way in helping you develop and maintain a growth mindset.
5. Focus on Efforts over Abilities
Thinking we are talented or innately good at something feels good, but in order to foster a growth mindset, you’ll need to start placing more weight on your efforts than your natural abilities. This will help you recognize that your skills and knowledge can be developed with practice and perseverance and that setbacks and failures aren’t a reflection on you but are simply part of this learning process.
Live the #NewEarthLife
Living with a growth mindset is a key part of living the #NewEarthLife because it helps you, focus on self-improvement and improving your well-being in all aspects of life. So go ahead. Take steps to start fostering a growth mindset today so you can experience its power for yourself.
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