You see life through your own unique lens. This is your mindset – the assumptions and expectations you hold about yourself, your life and the situations around you. Research shows that mindsets play a significant role in determining life’s outcomes. By understanding, adapting and shifting your mindset, you can improve your health, decrease your stress and become more resilient to life’s challenges.
Mindsets help you to simplify.
While mindsets can be helpful for distilling information and managing expectations, they can also be maladaptive, lead to interpersonal problems and feelings of guilt, inadequacy, sadness and anxiety. Dr. Towery observes that it is common to hold onto mindsets that were adaptive at one point in life but have since become maladaptive. For example, it might have been helpful to believe that others cannot be trusted if you were betrayed at a young age, but this belief may lead to interpersonal issues at a later stage of life.
Having a fixed or growth mindset affects your worldview.
Mindsets can impact your outcomes by determining the way you think, feel and even physiologically respond to some situations. A 2007 study revealed that increased awareness of physical activity resulted in health benefits like weight loss and decreased blood pressure. To further investigate this phenomenon, a 2011 study was conducted to test physiological satiation in relationship to mindset around certain foods. The study revealed that participants’ satiety aligned with their mindset around the food they were consuming more than the food’s nutritional content.
Science is just beginning to validate the power of the mind-body relationship. Mindset matters, so it is important to pay attention to your belief systems—where they come from, how valid they are, and how they impact your quality of life.
You can change your mindset.
Although your mindset about topics like appearance and success are largely influenced by outside factors, the brain is neuroplastic, meaning neural networks can continue to grow, change and reorganize throughout the lifespan. By challenging yourself with new experiences and perspectives, you can form new neural connections — or mindsets — at any point in life.
Even a fixed mindset is not set in stone. You can change your mindset by learning and consciously choosing to believe that your characteristics are not predetermined and that you can continue to grow over time.