Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Mind Over Matter: Train Your Brain and Transform Your Life

Ila Bonczek
Ila lives in the Garden State with her family and four chickens. She has been growing produce and perennials for 20 years, and recommends gardening for food and fun, but not for fortune.
Published: May 6, 2024
When we shift our thinking to align with universal values, miracles can manifest. (Image: Tara Winstead via pexels)

We have all heard the phrase “mind over matter,” in reference to overcoming trying situations. Similar to “where there’s a will there’s a way,” it suggests that when we maintain the right frame of mind, we can do anything. This simple idea has profound significance, and, spiritually speaking, it can transform your life. 

What is the right frame of mind, then, and how do we get there? It could be described as a combination of positive focus and determination. Like anything worthwhile, it takes hard work, but it gets easier with practice. 

Many of us stumble through life “putting out fires,” so to speak. We react to and deal with all sorts of situations without considering the thought patterns that shaped our reactions, let alone those that shape our reality. We conflate our thoughts with ourselves, never realizing the potential we have for changing them; and that potential is considerable.

Thinking about our thoughts

(Image: Cornelia Kopp via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

Spiritual teachings often suggest that we create our own reality — we came here precisely to perfect ourselves by cultivating through hardships. Thus, every situation we face serves a purpose, and an opportunity for spiritual growth.

If we react to these situations by feeling angry, anxious, envious or embarrassed, these emotions offer an important clue to the notions that aren’t serving us well. 

If you are able to dig back into your memory and recall the moment you formed each of those notions (e.g. “I am afraid to take chances ever since that one time I failed miserably,” or “Unfairness makes me so angry ever since I learned about such and such..”), that will greatly facilitate the process of transformation; although it may be painful. 

You will need to make peace with the past, summoning all the forgiveness, acceptance, and generosity you can muster. By letting go of your limiting mindset, you open up countless possibilities.

If your memory is not cooperating, no worries. You can also tackle your negative notions from another angle. Working in the present, look at your life and tally up what you feel is wrong with it. Most of us have a long list of self-criticism: “too fat,” “not enough money,” “not attractive,” “no job satisfaction,” “bad relationships,” “powerlessness,” and general feelings of worthlessness are not uncommon. 

Psychological research has shown that we are what we believe. For each item that you see as a problem, reshape your beliefs about them to create a new self image. 

You can be beautiful in your own, unique way. (Image: Ila Bonczek/Vision Times)

For example, say you don’t look the way you think you ought to. Who are you comparing yourself to, and why? Do you realize that our differences are what make us special? If everyone looked like Barbie and Ken, life would be incredibly dull. Look for your assets and treasure them, without comparing or competing with others. 

If you don’t like your job, why not? Being stuck is entirely a product of your thoughts. Take the initiative to improve relationships with kindness, improve work conditions with innovation, and improve job satisfaction with creativity. Worse comes to worst, take a chance and discover your dream job. 

If you have health issues, remember that a holistic approach will address the root of the problem, rather than just the symptoms. A pure heart and a clear mind can work wonders on the body. 

In any case, whether you’re working with the past or the present, you’ll need to start paying close attention to your thoughts. Even though they come in a swift and steady flow, they can be managed. In actuality, we make unconscious choices about what to believe every day. If we put forth the effort to examine our thinking, we can determine whether our thoughts are based on reality or some faulty notions from the past. 

One of the biggest misconceptions some people have is that they can’t change. They use “That’s just the way I am” as an excuse for not making the effort. If you feel powerless, who took away your power other than you, yourself? Your thoughts are the most powerful tool you have. Train them to conform with the universal laws of virtue, and you will find that the whole Universe supports you.

Recognize that you have the option to reject and reshape all the notions that are hindering your progress. Although they may seem true (since you have entertained them for as long as you can remember) with time and perseverance, you can be guided by a new set of concepts that are both rational and constructive. One of the most accessible tools for such self improvement is the regular use of affirmations.

Affirmations: replace harmful with helpful 

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Affirmations are the foundation of many motivational programs, and they serve to reshape our thinking. Affirmations differ for each person according to their own circumstances. Most start out short and rather general, but as you incorporate them into your thoughts, they can evolve to be more specific, and thus more powerful.

A good affirmation will reject the old, damaging mindset, while introducing and reinforcing a new, supportive mindset. Try working with some of the following examples of affirmations in dealing with these common, negative thought patterns: 


“I am ready and willing to release the past. I let go of all anger and resentment, and fill my heart with loving kindness and forgiveness.”


“I am grateful for everything I have, and I have everything I need. I banish all jealousy and selfish thoughts. Everything is perfectly arranged by the Creator and I don’t want what is not mine.”

Resistance to change

“I welcome change. I let go of all limiting resistance and hesitation so that I can realize my full potential. I am flexible and resilient.”


“The past is over and cannot hurt me. I can relax and release all fear and anxiety. With faith and confidence in the Creator, I follow the course of nature.”


“While I cannot undo mistakes, I can do better in the future. I am ready to put down my burden of guilt and shame so that I can move forward. It is time to stop punishing myself. I am loved, I am accepted and I am forgiven.”

Low self-worth

“I approve of myself and recognize my value in this world. My self-worth is not determined by others’ opinions. Imperfection, even though it is universal, makes me unique and interesting.”

Transform your life

(Image: Omar Reyes via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Set aside some time to develop your personalized affirmations. Learn them by heart and recite them as part of your morning routine to start your day right. As soon as you catch yourself falling into old thought patterns, recite them again. With consistent repetition, these new thoughts will become your natural frame of mind. 

Mind over matter can foster change not only in your social and financial circumstances, but also impact your physical and mental well-being. A new and improved you awaits, so what are you waiting for?