The 7-Day Mental Diet
A powerful tool that can reduce the time to transform to a stress-free life.
THE 7-DAY MENTAL DIET
The 7-Day Mental Diet is a powerful tool, one that can greatly reduce the time required to transform to a stress-free state-of-being—in as little as 7-days. This tool helps the individual overcome the main obstacle in transitioning to your natural (true) state-of-being, quieting the voices in the head in order to become fully aware.
“Living in stress is living in a primitive state of survival common to most species. When we live in survival, we limit our evolution, because the chemicals of stress will always drive our big-thinking brain to act equal to its chemical substrates. In effect, we become more animal-like and less divine.”
Joe Dispenza, author of Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind.
It is surreal watching what is happening in the world today during this coronavirus pandemic. It is as if the world is slowing down, grinding to a stop, and, in turn, slowing us all down. All of a sudden, the “busyness” that we have been so used to has gone from our lives. It feels like Universal Intelligence (whatever name we give it) is giving us an opportunity to self-reflect and reconnect with ourselves, that is if we can manage to go beyond our fears, anxieties, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
You see, there are two ways to live in this world; either
- In moments of anxiety, fear, loneliness, and unhappiness—in other words, living in a stress and survival mode, or
- in moments of happiness, clarity, and creativity—when there is no stress, and the mind is calm and resilient.
Either one of these two states can be the driving force behind our every choice and action. We cannot think of thought “A” and expect an outcome based on thought “B.” And, so, our lives unfold according to the choices we make. Nothing happens by chance. But for most of us, our choices are made unconsciously based on our programming, because if we were cognizant of our choice, we would not consciously choose to be stressed or unhappy.
Our well-being depends on how well we adjust to our ever-changing and shifting environment, like what we are currently facing, or how well we meet the daily challenges of life. Which, in turn, depends on a calm, clear, and alert mind. We run into problems when the voice of our reactive, conditioned thinking, which I call the voice in the head (mind chatter), tries to pre-empt and influence the natural unfolding of life. The problem is that as long as we have the voice in the head and we are not integrated, and in sync with our true self, we will be unconscious of our actions. This is because of our established and memorized habits, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors will generate automatic and unconscious responses. Our failure to adapt results in the daily stresses and struggles that we experience. The triple heads of anxiety, fear, and loneliness, the key ingredients of stress, then become our default state of mind, gnawing at us throughout our lives.
For many of us, this is our default state. There is no new thinking or creativity—because we are in the protective/survival/regressive “same old, same old” way of living, with all its imagined stressors, and all the stress-related, automatic responses that it entails.
We think that this way of living is normal because we see and believe that everyone is living the same way. Happiness becomes elusive as we depend more and more on the external world to survive. The only things that we are concerned with are our welfare and our personal safety. We don’t trust anyone, and we fear everything and everybody. We become hyper-alert, super-vigilant, and paranoid, always waiting for something to go wrong—or, for something to “attack” us. We are primed to be in the fight/flight mode, always looking over our shoulders and worrying about the potential threats that the future holds. Everything then becomes urgent and a priority. We become completely engrossed in trying to survive with only one option left—struggle.
The only solution to our problems is self-transformation, not an incremental change, but rather, a transformation of our consciousness. In order to proceed, we need first to understand how our mind works. Then we can learn to quiet or silence the voice in the head and bring about a dimensional shift in the way that we see the world and meet life’s challenges. This way of perceiving comes from a different state of mind (an expanded consciousness). It is not a new way of living, but rather our normal, natural state-of-being. We access this state on an occasional basis, but we are unable to sustain it and drop back down to our unnatural, stressful way of living. This inability to get in touch with the normal state-of-being creates the conditions for stress within us, causing all our mental distress and suffering.
Adversities like COVID-19, or to a lesser extent, the many challenges we have faced in our lives, give us a lot of opportunities to recalibrate, regroup, and change our priorities—if we want to. They can lift us out of our everyday wandering, anxious, and fearful, all about “me” mind… which neuroscientists call our neural brain Default Mode Network (or DMN for short). Transcending the “noise of our depressive past and our anxious future” creates a state of present moment awareness (mindfulness)—our natural state-of-being. This natural state-of-being then becomes our new default mode of operation… but we have to work on it. Shifting to a new default state-of-being is one of the important benefits of daily meditation. I will write more on this subject in a future post. But we can get a head start reaping the benefits with a mental diet.
The biggest challenge in trying to shift our mindset is that the mind has a negative bias. Its focus is on our survival, not our happiness. There is always a tendency to entertain negative thoughts because we tend to gravitate towards this type of information. We only tend to notice the sadness and misery, but not times, we are happy or at peace. Most of us focus on the misery that we feel (most of the time), and ask, “How can we make ourselves less miserable, less stressful?” We assume there is no way out of this and suffering. We never ask, “How can I extend the positive experience of joy, happiness, or the calmness that I experience?” So we move towards misery and away from contentment and happiness. Overcoming this tendency requires that we focus more on our positive experiences and learn to gravitate towards positive information.
Numerous studies have shown that our outlook on life (positive and negative that it may be), affects not only the structure and the function of our brain but also our gene expressions and our immune system. This makes it all the more important that we work on changing our mindset. The more that we focus on the positive experiences, the stronger our positive neural connections become and the weaker our negative neural structures get.
I’ve compressed some of the teachings from my book, “Calm Brain | Powerful Mind: Abolish Stress to Unleash Your True Potential,” and created a seven-day mental diet. Mental diets have been around for a long time, but not many people use them because they are very difficult to do, and this one is no exception. It is the most difficult thing that you will do or have ever done in your life—but the most rewarding. It will change your life because when we change our minds, our lives begin to change… and everything in it. The mental diet is designed to break the unconscious, habitual ways of thinking, in order to cultivate our attention and bring us into “present moment awareness.” With this shift in consciousness, our minds become calm… and therefore alert. This higher state-of-consciousness is our natural state-of-being—a state that is fully alert, creative, resilient, and stress-free. This way of perceiving ourselves, and our environment, finally brings an end to our suffering.
THE 7-DAY MENTAL DIET: WHAT TO DO…
- Set an intention that you will devote a full week to building a completely new habit of thought, a new way of seeing the world. Make that your only priority for the week.
- For the next seven days, try to imagine that you have stepped out of your body and have started to observe your mind with vigilance—with complete awareness (mindfulness).
- The mental diet is difficult to do because we are perpetually distracted, especially when our mind chatter highjacks our awareness. We have to learn to step back and become a witness to our thoughts. So, I suggest that for a couple of days before you start, assume you are two people—one is the Witness, and the other is the Doer. Just observe your thoughts and actions. Become familiar and reacquainted with what is happening in your head—your inner world of thoughts, ideas, concepts, beliefs, and emotions.
- It is the nature of the mind to create thoughts. But it is not the stream of thoughts that matter. It is the thoughts that you choose to engage in that really matters. Thoughts will keep coming, but they will just drift in and out of the mind if you do not entertain them.
- Do not engage negative thoughts or emotions; just let them go. Examples of negative thought patterns include gossip, resentment, regrets, anger, self-doubt, anxiety, fear, judgment and criticism of you and others, self-pity, pessimism, thoughts of limitation, or disempowerment, and negative thoughts of the possible future outcomes.
- If you do happen to get caught in a negative thought, let it go immediately.
- When you have positive, optimistic, constructive, or good thoughts, stay with those experiences as long as possible. Try and fully enjoy these experiences.
- Remember, it has to be seven days without a break. It’s okay if you are unable to maintain your vigilance after the second or third day. Take a break for a day or two and then start again with the intention of completing the seven days of complete awareness.
- This mental diet is not just a positive, everything-is-going-to-be-fine thinking exercise. It’s not about repeating positive affirmations. The idea is to understand the workings of the mind—the how and why of your thoughts. Without understanding, the exercise of repeating positive affirmations will not work. That’s because the underlying problems (the voices in the head) are still there. When you observe the stream of thoughts that come to you, and you realize that they are not real (not factual) but simply conjectures of the mind (either the mistakes of the past or the “what ifs” of the future), then you can deal with these thoughts one at a time, and let them drift away or die rather than trying to solve the imaginary problems of the voices in your head.
This is an extremely powerful tool because this alone can help you cross that threshold
Within the first 2-3 days, you will start changing how you look at life and realize what you are thinking and saying
You can begin the process of transformation in just seven days.
Ready to Transform?
CALM BRAIN | POWERFUL MIND is a comprehensive tool and reference book to help you eliminate stress, once and for all.