The mind, too, is a muscle. Like the opening and closing of the palm, every thought is electrical currents, a physical reaction—one that is immediate, the style of which is determined by usage and habit, like the habitual sloucher versus the sloucher who tries to sit up versus the athlete who’s developed good posture through training.
The mind, too, is a muscle, so with workouts and rest and consistency, it can grow strong, strong in any number of ways, strong like the hulking bodybuilder, the adept martial artist, the determined endurance runner, et cetera, et cetera…
When I’m reminded that the mind runs on physical reactions, I become fascinated and scared. Just living is a big responsibility, right? To be happy, we must strive to always think positive and always defeat the negative. We aren’t robots; we can’t code optimism software and let a program solve everything; it gets easier, but we must always do the work. Otherwise, the brain will turn to alternative thoughts.
In my nonfiction story, These Are Lessons To Be Relearned: Self-Love And Running, I said a classmate showed me a video of a soldier’s head coming off. He laughed. I backed away. How could someone watch something so cruel?
Think of slouching. I used to slouch, but I never realized it: my back always felt normal. Once I saw a video of myself, I realized how I had walked through the world. I began working out and my posture improved. Some people are unaware of negative influences. If they start thinking positive and practicing self-forgiveness, the currents in their brain will run differently; their mind state will improve.
I clear space in my room when I need to reflect. I take deep breaths, recall negative thoughts I had earlier in the day, and overwrite them. I said X in my head earlier, but that’s because I felt Y. I know Y doesn’t define me. Then I look for reasons to smile. Practicing self-love is work, but it gets easier. Easier in the same way that exercising does with consistency. Eventually, it’ll become a habit.