My New Year’s diet has nothing to do with eating, drinking or exercising.
I tried it last year and it made a huge difference in my life. I am happier, calmer and enjoy life more.
My diet was developed by Emmet Fox, a friend of “The Power of Positive Thinking” author Norman Vincent Peale. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gave me one of his books: “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings.”
When I got to December 29, I found his “seven-day mental diet.”
Instead of fat or carbs, Fox cuts out negative thinking—any thought of failure, disappointment or trouble; any thought of criticism, spite, jealousy or condemnation of others or yourself; any thought of sickness or accident. In short, any kind of limitation.
“You shall not dwell upon negative things,” Fox wrote. “It is not the thoughts that come to you that matter, but only such of them as you choose to entertain and dwell upon.”
Personally, this diet couldn’t come at a better time for me. For one thing, I am beside myself with the direction our society and this country is taking. A mother, I tend to worry about my kids (in their 40s). Even my kitten is driving me crazy, delighting in yanking leaves off my beloved African violets. You should see the barricades I’ve set up.
The diet forces you to take stock of your thinking. I couldn’t believe how much time I spent obsessing, projecting, judging and scaring my own socks off.
Tricks for sticking to a mental diet
- Stop, look and listen. I envision a large red stop sign, then look at my surroundings and listen.
- Take deep breaths and let them out slowly. A yoga teacher I used to know often said, “Change your breathing and you change your thoughts!”
- Do something physical—take the dog for a walk, shovel snow, bake a cake, snowshoe
- Write or draw
- Think of tranquil scenes—the snow on Mt. Garfield and the Bookcliffs
- Remember a helpful slogan: “Keep calm and carry on” or “Let go and let God”
- Do some yoga poses, including bending from the waist (known as rag-doll pose) or spreading your feet wide and resting your head on a block. Both poses bring blood to the brain
- Look out the window, then meditate
- Say a prayer (or more than one) for the people who are really bugging you
I hope you try this diet. It certainly helped me see that the world has enough bad stuff already. I don’t need to contribute more.