6 Mindset Shifts That Have Changed My Life for the Better


Looking into a sitting room and a dining room beyond it. The sitting room is painted a creamy white color and has a stained-glass ceiling.

Last month, I wrote about my flexible daily routine and wellness pillars that support my mental and emotional well-being. Today I wanted to share some of the mindset shifts that support those daily habits. These are the internal practices that sustain me from within.

Finding the Routines and Practices That Work for *You*

Before we get into it, I have realized through writing and sharing these posts that most of us need less advice, less information, and less pressure to have our lives look and feel like someone we view through a screen. I know this deep in my bones, so deeply that it felt counterintuitive to show up and share it in this medium.

The biggest realization I had last year was that I didn’t have to fix myself. I needed to see myself and accept what I saw. I used to trust books and experts more than myself, sometimes so much so that I couldn’t even trust my own reflection. And you cannot build self-trust by following someone else’s path. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting yourself out of a rut, a crisis of self, or a dip in your confidence. You have to look inside yourself for the clues that point you in the right direction.

The biggest realization I had last year was that I didn’t have to fix myself. I needed to see myself and accept what I saw.

Only you know what you need. It’s really easy when you’re confused to look for a label to slap onto what you’re feeling. We’re much more complicated than that. Perspective is so important here. Leave room for unanswered questions, mixed emotions, and the bittersweetness of living, of growing older, of pruning back what’s lost and loving yourself enough to tend to what’s ready to grow back in.  

6 Mindset Shifts I Return to Every Day

The practices and mindset shifts I’m sharing below are my North stars when I feel lost. Often, the tell-tale signs of this feeling are the familiar drum of an inner sense of low self-worth, or old maladaptive perfectionistic qualities trying to protect me from public humiliation (thank you, internet). I treat these as pillars of awareness that help me trust I will be okay no matter what happens.

1. Get my thoughts straight.

I try to notice whenever I get caught up in old patterns of thinking. When I’m ruminating or beginning to self-sabotage, I do a quick body scan and take a few deep breaths, then get back to what I was doing. The key for me is not to get swept away or attached to catastrophic thinking; to be kind to myself when I do (and I do it often) and believe I’ll be more comfortable letting it pass with practice. Trying to stop these thoughts altogether kept me stuck. Accepting them as part of becoming fully myself was a massive step in the right direction for me.  

2. Be realistic with what I can give.

I want to do all the things. Realizing I cannot do all the things without consequence (e.g., mentally, emotionally, financially) was a devastating realization I came to last year, but also an incredibly freeing one. What do I want to do? What do I even want out of life? I’ve been paralyzed by these questions, thinking the answers would come to me like a bolt of lightning if I would just will them hard enough.

I am not waiting for purpose to strike me all at once. I don’t know yet what to do about my desire to overfill my plate, just that it isn’t helping. So now when I take something off my list or delegate a task, I see it not as an act of waving the white flag, but as shifting inch by inch toward what really matters to me. 

3. Practice radical acceptance.

Sometimes, we get caught up in wishing our circumstances were different. Just as I thought I could juggle a full plate and commit to every idea that popped into my head, I have, at times, thought I could protect myself by worrying. There have been times I thought I could simply manifest the future I wanted by wishing my current situation was different. That’s not how it works.

4. Embrace discomfort. 

Discomfort tends to point me in the direction I need to focus my energy; it points me in a direction that helps me grow. I disconnected from this wisdom after my first few years in therapy, thinking discomfort was the key to where I needed to heal. My self-awareness increased while my confidence plummeted. I couldn’t figure it out.

It has taken a lot of time to relearn how to push myself for growth and not self-punishment. If you’ve had a big setback in your career or a relationship, it’s hard to get out there again. It’s scary to know how far we can fall, and what it can take to pick up the pieces. But I can tell you from experience that wallowing in self-pity takes its toll. 

5. Practice self-respect.

For me, this most often means doing what I say I’ll do. They say procrastination isn’t a time management issue, but a way of deflecting what we fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the discomfort of facing them both, just to name a few. They also say it is a way of controlling those outcomes, and when we don’t do the thing we need to do, we can anticipate the result. I’m pretty sure that’s what it feels like to self-sabotage.

I started looking at procrastination as a form of disrespect to myself. This mindset shift has helped me push when I need to just get started. It has also helped me identify where I can be clear about what I cannot do. I fail at this every day, but I keep trying. Inch by inch, I’m learning to trust myself again. 

6. Live in gratitude.

I’m not sure we can access gratitude until we accept ourselves as we are—and that who we are is fundamentally worthy of safety, love, and connection. The most uncomfortable moments of the past eighteen months have been reckoning with my relationship with myself. No one else was going to give me what I needed. I had to sit with how I truly felt about myself, my life, and the choices I’ve made. It was uncomfortable and disorienting, and then came a gift: I realized just about everything I need is right here, inside me.

BY Kate Arends - March 5, 2024


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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

Hi, I'm Kate. Welcome to my happy place.











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