Strengthen your mental muscles, improve your outlook

If you want to lose weight and take control of your physical state, you exercise and control your diet. But what do you do if you want to take control of your mental state?

Let’s face it: We live in a society that’s full of negativity and stress, and it’s easy to fall into a pattern of negative thinking. The best way to break free from that is to “work out” our mental muscles to control our state of mind.

People often want an instant solution — take a pill to make it go away — but that’s often treating the symptom, not the cause. To improve your mental state, you have to take an active approach and be dedicated to getting results.

Here are four things you can do each day to flex your mental muscles and create a positive outlook on life:

■  Choose to be in the driver’s seat, not the passenger seat. Each morning, start your day by establishing an agenda in your mind of what you want to accomplish or what particular problem you are going to solve. If you don’t take charge of your mind, a random thought will occur and you will spend time chasing after it rather than focusing on what’s important.

■  Take an inventory of your blessings each day. Running a business is full of challenges, but don’t forget that we are far more fortunate in life than most people. How many people in the world get to run a company? Don’t turn your privilege into a burden. Keep that in mind as you go through your day.

■  Focus on truth, not emotion. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotion of a situation, which can cause undue stress or further complicate the search for a solution. Set emotion aside and focus on the facts, and you’ll find it much easier to solve problems and deal with people.

■  Keep things in perspective. As business leaders, we are fortunate to be in the positions we are in. Sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective, but if you put your faith in God into the equation, it becomes clear. Next to you, your problems look big, but next to God, they look small. God gives us hope and can remind us that we are blessed to be where we are in life and ultimately not in control.

By taking responsibility for our daily thoughts and actions, it becomes easier to have a positive outlook and to enjoy the small joys we experience every day. And isn’t that what life’s all about?