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Master your mind: A challenge from WELL for Life

This challenge asks participants to recognize when negative thoughts are occurring and try to diffuse them when they turn worrisome or distracting.

It's natural to think about the parts of life that bother you — maybe you missed a deadline or had a fight with a friend. Letting go of negative thoughts is not an easy task, but now, Stanford's WELL for Life initiative is offering to help.

For the next several weeks, WELL for Life — which aims to make well-being accessible to all — is looking for people who want to practice the art of positivity and participate in the Mastering Your Mind challenge. The challenge asks participants to recognize when negative thoughts are occurring and try to diffuse them when they turn worrisome or distracting.

In this challenge, there are three main goals:

  • To practice recognizing negative thoughts
  • To actively record these thoughts and reflect on them to understand why they happen
  • To show compassion to yourself, turn the negative thoughts positive and develop coping skills when faced with either acute or chronic hardships

During the challenge, which lasts one week (you pick the start date), participants will be asked to follow a day-by-day set of guidelines. First, participants are helped to become aware of negative thoughts. The next step is to challenge and assess these thoughts. Finally, participants are coached to replace the troublesome thoughts with positive ones.

The program provides suggestions and tactics to manage the negative thoughts. For example, in a big traffic jam, you might start to feel irritated or anxious — but instead of letting those feelings take over, you could recognize that the situation is out of your control, and heavier-than-normal traffic means you have more time to listen to your favorite podcast.

For every step of the challenge, study participants will record their progress and submit daily surveys about how it is or is not influencing their well-being.

The challenge will run until March 22.

Photo by Indian Yogi (Yogi Madhav)

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