Adopting a Growth Mindset for IBS Management
Can the way we think about ourselves and our capabilities affect our lives? Absolutely! How we think about ourselves affects how we feel, what we achieve, whether we stick to new habits, and if we can develop different skills.
When it comes to how we think, this can also affect our health. Today, I will explore the difference between fixed and growth mindsets and how this relates to IBS management.
Fixed vs. growth mindset
People with fixed mindsets believe their abilities are fixed. In other words, they think they are born with specific abilities and have a certain level of natural skill and intelligence. Their goals and behaviors often involve avoiding looking like they don't know what they're doing.
In contrast, people with a growth mindset believe their abilities can improve through effort and learning. They understand that not knowing things or not being good at something is temporary and that skills can be learned.
People with a growth mindset don't feel ashamed when they're not good at something and are not afraid to mess up while learning a new skill. They know setbacks are a normal part of the learning process and embrace them.
How can a growth mindset help my IBS?
While growth and fixed mindsets are typically applied to learning and intelligence, they can also be used in IBS management.
One of the ways people might have a fixed mindset with IBS is their belief in their ability to manage their symptoms. If someone has a fixed mindset, they may believe their symptom management will never improve. If they're asked to follow the low FODMAP diet as a symptom management tool, they might think they must do it perfectly right away to be effective.
On the other hand, someone with a growth mindset might see there are many ways to manage IBS symptoms. A person with a growth mindset might realize that learning the low FODMAP diet is just one way to help manage their symptoms. By having a growth mindset and accepting that they won't immediately know everything about the low FODMAP diet, they give themselves grace and space to mess up as they learn. People with a growth mindset around IBS see learning about their triggers as a journey, not a pass-or-fail situation.
Tips for developing a growth mindset
One of the best ways to develop a growth mindset is to nurture growth mindset self-talk. For example, if someone is struggling to implement the low FODMAP diet, instead of saying, "This is hard because I'm stupid" (a fixed mindset thought), they could switch to growth mindset self-talk and say, "This is hard because I'm still learning the ins and outs of the low FODMAP diet. I don't have to do it perfectly the first time. I need to keep growing my understanding and making changes as I can."
Another important aspect of developing a growth mindset is accepting that failure is part of the learning process. If we apply this to the low FODMAP diet, we can see that it's not important to always eat low FODMAP or always identify low FODMAP foods. Instead, it's important to continue learning about the low FODMAP diet and other IBS triggers and implement these changes as we can.
IBS can be unpredictable, and what works for managing your symptoms one day may not work on another day. Adopting a growth mindset and accepting that symptom management doesn't have to be perfect allows you to learn and experiment with which symptom management techniques work best for you.
How have you adopted a growth mindset with IBS management? Let us know in the comments below!
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