Mindset – High Vs Low

Hopefully by now people are starting to get my schtick.

Yep Nutrition and Exercise are important.

Yes energy balance is a part of the equation (even if counting calories sucks…).

Most people instantly gravitate towards Exercise as a weight loss change because it appears easiest.

Three to six times a week, burn some calories and essentially hope that your energy balance reverts to less in and more out, right?

Next on the list, and more typically ignored or forgotten, is Nutrition; Almost always harder to manipulate towards long-term change than exercise because it’s three to six times a day, rather than once a day or a few times per week.

The reason you get almost 80,000 returns on Amazon for the term ‘Diet Book’ is evidence that a lot of people try to completely overhaul their diets to lose weight again and again and again; As opposed to re-iterate it.

Do you really want to lose weight?

Then focus on Mindset…

Mindset  is a constant factor, during all of your waking hours, and therefore, bar-none, the hardest thing to change, but you can in fact change it.

*That’s a shout-out to nay-sayers who say things like, ‘that’s just how my mind works!’ No actually, unlike the colour of you skin, eyes, the length of your arms or legs, your mindset is NOT genetically determined and you can in fact change it.

This is the reason that it has the greatest impact on the process of weight loss, because it has more of a cascade effect into nutrition and exercise, which are less frequent requirements of success.

Especially when we have our own perceptions of our experiences that we have to combat.

So how can we make it easier?

State of Mind

In a previous post about mindset, I talked about the basic two ‘types‘ of mindset.

In this post I want to discuss more of an abstract concept — largely coming from the work of Garret Kramer and his book ‘Stillpower — that has a little more to do with your current state of mind and less to do with a constant mindset or perception of the world ala that last mindset post.

Unlike the broader statements I made in that post about whether or not you have a growth or fixed mindset, your ‘state of mind’ is actually constantly in flux.

Your mind is constantly in flux between low states of mindset and high states of mindset.

For our intents and purposes a low state of mind is generally associated with the following:

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Hatred
  • Depression
  • Etc…

Although we like to think that our experiences and/or others are ‘the cause’ of a low or high state of mind (or any of the emotions you see above), a low or high state of mind is actually dictated by our own perceptions and consequent thinking about a particular situation; They come from within.

i.e. More of like a self-fulfilling prophecy, than the result of an external circumstance.

We feel bad because our thinking turns to the negative, and ramps up.

In essence, our own thoughts, and the mere act of thinking about various negative emotions, experiences, circumstances and others, are actually the cause of a low or high state of mind, NOT the emotions, experiences, circumstances, etc… themselves.

Though we generally believe that external sources are the cause.

Enter Stillpower

Garret defines Stillpower as:

the clarity of mind to live with freedom and ease; the inner source of excellence.

My interpretation of it is slightly different, though I like this definition, so I’ll elaborate.

Stillpower is the opposite of Willpower.

It’s effectively realizing your state of mind returns to it’s natural default setting if you let it — it’s natural default setting is a ‘high or neutral state of mind’.

Too often we try to will our thinking into a positive direction when our thoughts are in the gutter.

This ramped up thinking actually functions more like a backhoe, than a viable solution, and we end up digging ourselves deeper and deeper into a lower and lower state of mind.

In trying to alter our thinking about a situation, we actually make it worse, and therefore the best thing we can do is try to be mindfully still and/or emotionally still, when we feel our mind drift into overdrive.

Stillness allows the human mind to return to it’s natural default setting more quickly than trying to out-think it.

The natural default of the human mind is free and at ease.

A high state of mind is more associated with the following:

  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Happiness
  • Glee
  • Freedom
  • Excitement
  • The Zone…

Action Is Dictated By State of Mind

Why this matters…

Whether or not you act on something, should be first dictated by your state of mind.

i.e. You come home from a rough day and act on the impulse of consuming sugary candy, milk chocolate, chips, or others processed emotional foods.

The lower the state of mind you’re in, the worse actions you’ll probably take.

The higher the state of mind that you’re in, the better actions you’ll probably take.

i.e. practicing stillpower can help you avoid diet pitfalls; Rather than taking action from a low-state of mind, allow your mind to default back to it’s neutral state before you make a bad nutrition decision.

We’ve all made decisions, done things, or talked with people when we’re in a low state of mind, and regretted it right?

You will make better decisions, acting from a higher state of consciousness.

Lesson #1

Never force important decisions about life, business, health, nutrition, physical activity, etc… while you’re operating in a low state of mind.

Most people have a tendency to be ‘reactive‘ — this is, we wait until things happen to us before we take action, and often make bad decisions as a result of a low state of mind — rather than proactive.

EVERYBODY experiences low states of mind, even the world’s most successful individuals from Oprah to Richard Branson or Bill Gates.

Sometimes low states of mind will last for days, maybe weeks or more.

Typically a low state of mind will last longer the more you try to think your way out of it.

Lesson #2

When you know you’re in a low state of mind, aim to be still.

You will recover from that low state of mind faster, by making this choice.

Getting, staying and being in a higher state of mind, more often, will yield better weight loss outcomes for yourself.

However, like everything else, being still when in a low state of mind will require a certain amount of deliberate practice too.

If you want a little extra help, leave a comment.

If you want more information on Stillpower, and it’s use, I highly recommend that you check out Garret’s Site and read his book.

Very simple, somewhat abstract, perhaps even ‘intermediate,’ yet very powerful concept to learn in your weight loss pursuit.


3 thoughts on “Mindset – High Vs Low”

  1. I do have a question! My low states of mind tend to occur when I get home from work (I work in food service and am RAVENOUS after dieting all day and handling food that I can’t eat), tired, exhausted, and hungry. To keep in the spirit of stillpower, should I just refrain from eating at all in such a state, settle down a bit, then have my meal? Thoughts or recommendations?

  2. First I think it’s important to know that your thoughts are not the result of your work environment, try not to play the blame game. How you feel is based on your thinking/perception, not your work situation. Second, I think the easiest way out of your particular situation is to plan in advance a little bit better. If you can identify the trigger, then plan to have most of a healthy meal planned the night before, so when you get home, a healthy option is the quicker and thus easier option for you to take. i.e. cut all your veggies, and maybe even cook your protein the night before. This way you remove the need for Stillpower to overcome your temptations, and you can still execute on your diet with relative ease, rather than struggle. Being tired, exhausted, lowers your level of willpower, but you can manipulate your environment so that at times when you know you will have a low state of mind, you have an easy option for handling it. Removing items from your home that are easy to cook (and thus generally not great to eat), can reduce that temptation to eat something a little less healthy as well by removing any additional convenience. Thanks for your comment Michelle, hope that helps.

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