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Here’s How to Achieve a ‘Mind Over Matter’ Lifestyle

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

9:05 pm 

I’m having a moment right now — I’m stuck thinking about him and I’m wondering if he’s with her. By her, I mean some girl he’s probably seen once or twice, which doesn’t come close to matching the dozens of times he’s been with me. I started thinking deeper into it, analyzing his profile, her profile, which, before you come at me, remember we’ve all done it at some point or another. Regardless of the possibility, I knew they probably weren’t together and that I had better things to do than sit in my bed worrying on a Friday night. 

9:15 pm

By now, my stomach is in my throat and my hands feel clammy, sticking to my phone as I keep repeating the same finger patterns over and over: scroll, click, scroll, click. You’ve been fine all day, I try to tell myself. The odds of them actually being together right now are slim to none, and you don’t even want him around anymore, anyway. You should feel sorry for her, rather than being worried about him and what he’s doing. 

9:30 pm

Thirty minutes after I had my breakdown, I was as good as new. Heck, an outsider looking in wouldn’t have even known that I had been in hysterics just moments before. I sat calmly in my bed, working on a news story that was due the following day. I looked and seemed normal, and my cell phone had been silenced in an effort to reduce my anxiety over the situation. When I finally was ready to turn over and go to bed, I unlocked my phone and clicked on a text thread with my friend. “Okay, I can confirm: She’s downtown Toronto and he’s in a different city, you have literally nothing to worry about, go to bed Madison.” she had said. I knew I didn’t need to be worried. I knew him and I knew myself, so why did I let it get to that point? And how did I recover so quickly, like I had never had an outburst? 

This, my friends, is the ‘mind over matter’ technique, a method I owe credit to when I speak about my success, for most of what I’ve accomplished wouldn’t have gone so smoothly if I didn’t learn how to discipline myself along the way. 

The Secret Stages of Success 

For the most part, the concept of ‘mind over matter’ can be broken down into three different subsections and is far more powerful than people give it credit for. The key to your mental state is turning the focus to now and slowing down. Believe me, I know how hard it is for that to become a possibility in the minds of many. However, with determination, mindfulness and confidence, it’s completely possible.

Determination is strongly related to self-discipline, though not synonymous. While determination involves the pursuit of a goal, discipline is the ability to remain controlled in the presence of distractions. For instance, self-discipline could show itself like my situation above where I needed to force myself to focus on my article rather than worry about a boy because I knew that the completion of the article would further my success while being bothered over a boy and his whereabouts had no positive outcome. 

Discipline begins with understanding our weaknesses in the situation and working to strengthen them or eliminate them as a whole. Committing to completing tasks only related to your priorities is the best way to conquer self-discipline. For those of you who know me on a personal level, you know I’d never let anything get in my way, whether personally or academically, which is why this method has always worked. Shortly after I get into a funk––whenever that may be––I remember how well I’m doing and I combine my feelings of self-discipline with determination in an attempt to drag myself out of any sad or upsetting situation. 

Determination, for many, comes partly from being fuelled with failure. For me, this looks a little different. I grew up with the pressures of needing to be successful and I was often harder on myself than my own parents were, though they played a huge role in how I portray myself to date. I’ve always had a strong belief that we’re put on this Earth for a purpose, and mine is to break through the business journalism industry with my writing abilities. For that, every step I’ve taken has led me in the direction of doing just that. Determination is attending to the actions that lead to your success and persevering even when the going gets tough. Trust me – when you start focusing on yourself, you’ll notice a huge difference in any success you achieve.

Mindfulness is the next step in achieving a ‘mind over matter’ thought process and is defined as the awareness that emerges when we slow ourselves down, bringing our attention to present-moment experiences and meeting them with acceptance. Mindfulness is strongly exhibited through meditation and can prove beneficial with both structural and functional challenges within the brain. By practicing mindful meditation, our cognitive levels may change, enhancing our ability to stay focused on a task for longer periods of time or working to regulate emotions. When I’m working on something, if I begin to feel frustrated, I have to step away from my desk immediately. I’m conscious of the fact that if I work when I’m frustrated, I get more anxious. Similarly, when I’m grumpy, I know that I need to take a minute to breathe and put my phone down. I don’t want to lash out on anyone, so I wait until I’ve calmed down to begin a new conversation or assignment. Knowing yourself and understanding what makes you tick is an important part of mindfulness, and after some time, you’ll be able to handle stressful situations. 

Confidence is the last stage of the three-step process to achieving a ‘mind over matter’ outlook on life. Regardless of how well you succeed at the other two steps listed above, confidence is key for nearly everything in life, especially success. I wouldn’t consider myself an insecure person, except for those nights here and there when my thoughts get the best of me. Even when they do, I’ve always had the mindset that I was the best. As dangerous as this can be, to some degree, it’s helped me enormously, in situations both big and small. Whether it’s flirting with boys, talking to customers at work or even just putting myself out there, I do it with ease and complete confidence knowing that I trust myself to do well and get what I want, when I want it. In order to achieve self-confidence, one must learn self-acceptance. This can be difficult if you suffer from a lot of negative thoughts, however, over time, the more you focus on being your best self, the more attainable confidence will be. As forward thinking as that seems, it’s a method that has never failed me and at 22-years-old, I’m not about to let it. 

What I’ve learned from this 

Over time, I’ve learned that the most important thing is putting yourself first. Your success, your goals and your future are all fuelled by who you are as a person and the values that you identify with. When it comes to my confidence, my ability to get things done and my way of life, I’m often asked what my secret is and how I manage to do it all. Although it may come easier to me, this is the best way to approach the method; to face it head on in hopes that you too will be able to live the same way, with the ability to say goodbye to overthinking for good or, at least, learn how to properly manage it. By combining all three steps I’ve mentioned above, you’ll achieve the ‘mind over matter’ outlook on life in no time.

Madison was born in Toronto, ON. Her addiction to online shopping is best fuelled by a high daily caffeine intake. Fluent in both French and Spanish, Madison spends the majority of her time keeping busy by juggling a school, work and social life, all while making time to write/edit for HC- Ryerson! Often seen sporting Aritzia clothing, her knack for perfect grammar and love for Prison Break are what makes her "unique", but her articles are pretty cool, too.
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