The Magic Medicine for Your Mind
Happy Sunday, friend. How are you today, really really? 🌱
Over here, I'm feeling like the universe delivered the goods this week.
As soon as I let go of the toxic job—bam!—opportunities started popping up left and right. It's wild. Dare I say I’m feeling as cheery as Nicolas? Because this child sets a high bar:
I've officially started training in mental health and NLP, which means this newsletter and the self-work strategies I share will get 10x better.
Which leads me to a question that landed in my email inbox earlier this week:
I've been feeling so upset lately. How can I shift my mindset and change my emotions?
Before I jump in, let's take a moment to discuss: Huberman Lab. This neuroscience podcast brings the evidence-backed heat, and I'm just so grateful it exists. Do yourself a favor and listen, to any episode. The one on alcohol will change your life.
On another note, it would make my day if you shared my newsie with a friend who's interested in working on themselves. Go ahead, forward them this email. 👏
Alright, let's get into it.
If I offered you a "magic medicine" guaranteed to make you healthier, happier, sleep better, and more creative, would you want it?
Well, the good news is you already have it—you just don't know it yet. Let me explain.
I've always wondered, do people want to:
- feel better in their everyday life, or
- perform better in their work?
Turns out they're linked, but feeling better will always come first. Performing doesn't mean much if you feel like crap. Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right?
Recent studies, like the one published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, have shown that employees with higher levels of well-being perform better at work. But it's not just about work. When you improve your well-being, it cascades into every nook and cranny of your life, from relationships to physical health.
But how do we access that well-being? The person who emailed me isn't alone—so many of us feel upset pretty often. What are some ways to improve how we feel?
Scrolling the internet, I came across this phrase and frantically jotted it down to share with you:
Life is full of ups and downs, from the little things like getting cut off in traffic to the big stuff like losing a loved one. It's a fact of life that we all have to deal with "little t" and "big T" traumas. But, it's not just the obstacles themselves that can bring us down, it's also the way we think about them. The difference is how we choose to face our challenges, and it all comes down to our thoughts.
Our thoughts create the difficult emotions we experience on the daily.
- If we have positive thoughts, our emotions will follow suit toward joy, contentment, and peace.
- If we have negative thoughts, our emotions will trend toward sadness, anger, frustration, envy, etc.
But here's the thing: our constant chatter and self-talk make up a big part of who we are. We can’t survive without thinking.
Our inner dialogue helps us organize our lives, strive toward big work goals, steer clear of dangerous situations, have meaningful relationships, make sense of what we learn, and more.
We need our self-talk to function, but it can also really affect our mood if we aren't careful. (Let's be honest, nobody is.)
Enter the magic medicine: distance from our thoughts.
Gaining a healthy distance from our thoughts is the ability to take a step back and observe your thoughts, instead of getting caught up in them or identifying with them. It's like watching a movie—you can see it happening but you know you're not actually in it.
When you have distance from your thoughts, you can edit them more easily, swapping out negative, unproductive thought patterns for a more positive approach.
It's not always a walk in the park, but there are ways to make it happen. Let's break it down.
First up, you guessed it: meditation.
You've probably read tons about meditation before, and maybe you've tried it, but here's a new approach.
Meditation is an effective way to observe our thoughts without getting caught up in them. Each time you let go of a thought, you complete one rep in a workout for your mind.
As Sam Harris, a well-known author and speaker on meditation and mindfulness, was recently on the Huberman Lab podcast and said this:
This is a great way to describe the state of mind that we aim to achieve through meditation. The more you practice becoming aware of your thoughts, the closer you get to embodying your true self.
I'm not suggesting you ghost your thoughts, at least not at first.
Instead, the goal is to gain the ability to know what you're thinking, so you can observe it objectively without getting caught up in it emotionally. This allows you to identify negative patterns of thinking, and address them in a more efficient way—like swapping them out completely for something that makes you feel good.
Do this effectively and you'll gain access to greater emotional regulation, improved focus, and reduced stress.
Or, try self-talking in the third person.
Talking to yourself (in your mind) in the third person is a strange effective strategy to gain perspective and not get consumed by irrational thoughts.
Have you ever tried talking to yourself in the third person? It might sound weird, but it's like watching yourself from the outside, instead of being in the middle of the chaos in your own mind.
I've come across tons of articles saying you should talk to yourself like you would talk to a dear friend. But let's be real, it's hard to remember to do that all the time.
You know what's easier to remember? "Marcella is feeling _____."
Instead of saying "I feel _____", try using your first name. It's a small change, but it can make a big difference. It helps to distance yourself from your thoughts and emotions, so you can observe them objectively. That's why this "third person" approach can be a game-changer.
Next time you find yourself getting caught up in a spiral of negative thoughts, try talking to yourself in the third person. It might feel odd at first, but it can be a powerful tool to help you stay calm, focused and in control of your emotions. And, I don't know about you, but I'll take feeling "odd" over "upset" any day.
So, there you have it. My "magic medicine" isn't magic at all; it's science.
But gaining distance from your thoughts feels like a "magic medicine" that treats your entire body: from heart health to sleep, from serenity to creativity.
It's not a quick fix, but with practice, you'll be able to edit your thoughts, improve your emotional regulation, and make better decisions. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.
Most people aren't careful about the contents of their thoughts, but you're different. You're taking control of your mind, training in meditation and changing your inner dialogue to the third-person when things get spicy.
As you do your reps, you'll be amazed at the difference it can make in your life.
You already have the power to improve your well-being, you just have to know how to use it. Try out these strategies to navigate life's obstacles like a pro while feeling 10/10.
Report back how it goes?
And that’s a wrap for this edition.
If there’s a topic in particular you’d like to hear about, drop me a reply.
Remember: I’m no expert (yet), just a voracious student of all things psychology and mental health. I may not have all the answers, but I can share my own experience — and do a ton of research, too. 😉
I’ll be back next week with more self-work strategies to make life better, for yourself and everyone around you.
Sending you all the best vibes ✨
— Marcella ✌️
A penny for your thoughts…
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I appreciate your honest feedback to make each edition better than the last. ❤️🔥