Have you ever thought about the environment of your mind? We tend to think about our physical environment quite a bit. We think about the aspects of our home that we want to change, the vacations we’d like to take, and the office environment we’d like to create. But our mind is an environment too, and unfortunately we don’t spend enough time working to change our mental environment.
What do I mean by that? Well, think about some of the beliefs that you’ve had for many years. Maybe you believe that you will never be able to invest money. Maybe you believe that you will never have a family of your own. Or maybe you believe that people just don’t like you. You’re creating a mental environment with those thoughts! They hold a lot of power over your life.
So, in the spirit of talking about change, I’m here to tell you that you can change the environment of your mind. Changing your mental environment is mostly about problem-solving. It involves asking yourself what you believe, trusting that you have the ability to change, and taking the steps to do so.
Here are several questions that can help you solve problems and change your mental environment.
Questions to Change the Environment of Your Mind:
1) “What is good in this problem?”
This may seem like a strange question to ask. You will most likely want to answer, “Nothing! There is nothing good about this problem!” But you can always find a seed of advantage in any given situation, regardless of how negative it appears to be.
I once knew a woman (we’ll call her Sally) with an extremely crippling mental environment. She lived with the belief that she would never amount to more than her mother – a woman riddled with addiction, money issues, and the inability to maintain a healthy relationship. Sally functioned in her day-to-day life just fine, but she was tormented by the belief that she would inevitably end up like her mother. This made her depressed and anxious.
What could possibly have been good about Sally’s mental environment? Well, her fears made her motivated to work hard and maintain a stable job. Her thoughts forced her to create a budget and stick with it. She also developed a compassion for those who grew up in a home with addicts. She understood the emotional toll it took on her life.
2) “What answer am I not seeing right now?”
This question implies that there is an answer. And, let me encourage you, there is always an answer. It may take some digging to find it, but I promise that some answer is there. You can then follow up this question by asking another (question 3 below).
What answer was Sally not seeing? She wrongly believed that she would never be able to rid of her fear. But she wasn’t considering counseling, a church support group, or the fact that she was a middle-aged woman who had not become her mother!
3) “What am I willing to do to find the answer?”
So you’ve discovered that there is an answer to your problematic mindset. Now it’s time to determine what you’re willing to do to correct the problem. This is probably the most important step. If you skip it, you will find yourself frustrated by the same problem again and again.
What was Sally willing to do to find the answer? Eventually she realized that without social support she would never heal. So she agreed to invest time and money into weekly therapy. She also agreed to join a study group at her church. She also made a deal with herself that she would invest the mental energy and the emotion necessary to truly heal.
4) What am I thankful for in my life right now?
Or you can ask, what am I excited about in my life right now? This question helps you to change your perspective. No longer is your focus solely on your problematic mental environment, but it helps you realize that good is happening all around you. Thankfulness is life-changing. I encourage you to spend a few minutes each day to simply be thankful.
Sally was thankful for her job and her coworkers. She was also thankful for her dogs, her love for hiking, food on her table each night, and some great friends. She was also thankful that her mother was alive and that she was able to communicate with her regularly, even though it was hard.
5) What am I committed to in my life right now?
This is probably my favorite question. What are you committed to in your life? Your family? Church? Hobbies? Business? I hope that your answer isn’t only good things or bad things. It’s healthy to have a mix of both the good and the problematic.
For example, if Sally was only committed to destroying the emotional strongholds plaguing her, she would burn out and feel defeated. But she was also committed to her job, her friends, her love for hiking, and her desire to be financially successful.
Locate your crippling beliefs so that you can experience true and lasting change. The environment of your mind is influenced by the questions you ask. To change your mental environment, you must ask yourself the right questions—questions that will help you think correctly and lead you to change. Thank the Lord that there are other questions besides, “Why me?”
Determine to change the environment in which your wrong beliefs are growing by making a commitment to ask yourself the right questions.