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What’s the difference between mindset, mindfulness, and positive thinking? They all work – and feel great. But there’s a big difference and only one can be managed for life long benefits. 

Master certified life and mindset coach Andrea W. Hanson is getting clear on what mindset really is, the difference between mindset and positive thinking, and the myths about each. 

In this episode, Andrea discusses-

  • The difference between mindset, mindfulness, and positive thinking
  • When focusing on positive thinking isn’t actually helpful
  • Debunking the myths about “staying positive”

Guest Spotlight: Andrea W. Hanson

Andrea W. Hanson is a motivational speaker and the author of two books about having a positive mindset while living with a diagnosis; “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis” and “Stop Carrying The Weight of Your MS”.

She’s also a master certified life & mindset coach who’s lived with multiple sclerosis for over two decades. Her podcast, “Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis™” features conversations with people who are creating extraordinary lives while living with chronic illness.

Andrea teaches people how to tune out the noise of their inner critic and listen to their authentic voice so they can feel confident in their ability to make changes and create the life they want.

Her online course teaches the Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis™ blueprint to help people living with a chronic illness to create self-care, deeper confidence, and helps them get back to feeling like themselves again. Get more information and join the waitlist at

Andrea loves to hike in the mountains with her Blue Heeler — and sometimes other humans, too. She’s happiest when traveling with her husband and exploring new things — or simply sitting poolside with a good book.

Connect with Andrea W. Hanson

Get the FREE guide, “The No BS Guide to a Positive Mindset” here


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Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

“It is refreshing to have a book that fosters hope and promotes self-healing. This book is an excellent resource for those looking for ways to be proactive….and ways to find hope.”

“It is a true guide on how to listen to our bodies, connect to them, nurture ourselves and understand the power of our mindset.”

“I will be recommending Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis widely to all my patients when dealing with a diagnosis or setback!”

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis – The Book!

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Andrea W. Hanson

Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free. Listener discretion is advised Hey there. Thank you for joining me this week. I am sharing about something that is very near and dear to my heart. Something that I love talking about. I could talk about it. All day long and it's one of the most powerful tools that we all have access to. Right now. It's also something that I see misrepresented.
All the time. our mindset.
What made me want to talk about this? Is I love mindset.
I believe that learning how to direct my mindset and how to manage my mindset saved my life. And anyone can do it. Anybody can improve their mindset. Just by listening to this right now, you're ahead of the game. And I'm going to tell you why that is in just a second. But mindset has become a very popular topic and I love that.
And I don't love it. I love the awareness. I love that people are talking about it, and I believe that the world is just going to be a better place when people pay attention. To their mindset. But what I don't love is that mindset is becoming a buzzword. There's a lot of articles and tips and advice out there right now about how to get a better mindset. Their tips that you've totally heard, like just be positive and always be grateful. And don't think about the negative, positive vibes only. It's all that kind of stuff. First off saying these things kind of misses. The power. That our mindset has. Just saying. Think this positive, that is kind of like saying, just do this quick quad stretch. And you can now master yoga. All right. Granted, it feels good in the moment. And it works in the moment, but it's not going to do anything for your longterm benefit.
saying things like this, like you should always be grateful. It creates almost this impossible standard to live up to. So when we're faced by these impossible standards, that standard said, it seems like others are living up to like, I'm always positive and I'm always looking on the bright side.
It can make us kind of beat ourselves up. But it can make us say, like, why can't I always see the positive in every single situation.
So I don't love that. There's a lot of this quick fix advice. That create almost impossible standards, because I feel like it's almost burying the lead of just how much power your mindset and managing your mindset really does have. So let's just, let's start at the beginning. I want to get very clear on what we're talking about.
So before I get into the rest of the episode, talking about mindset. I do want to define a couple of other things that are mind based practices. One is meditation. Meditation is a practice. And it's used to primarily calm. Our mind.
Meditation has a ton of benefits. They're all pretty well known. I don't feel like I need to go into those right now. Meditation is amazing. I like it there's a lot of different types of meditation. That you can do. My favorite thing is that you can pick a type of meditation practice that works for you and get amazing benefits.
Meditation can be part of a strong mindset practice.
Mindfulness. Is a state of being. Mindfulness is another one of those words. That you hear a lot of when it, when people are talking about mindset, It's it's a state of being it's about staying in the present. Being mindful is not thinking about the past. Not thinking about the future. No judgment on what's going on. It's just experiencing and observing what's around you and maybe what you're doing. So for example, mindful eating.
Is a big thing and it's a big way that you can better your nutrition and better your wellness. Um, something like mindful walking is something that you can do to further de-stress. While you're moving your body. So mindfulness is a state of being when you meditate. You are in that state of mindfulness.
So. That's all I'm going to say about those things. Both of those are pretty big topics on their own, but I did just want to clarify. And define that because I see. Mindfulness mistakenly intertwined with meditation and mindset and positive thinking. And, and they're all definitely different from each other. So coming to mindset. What is mindset? The technical definition. Of mindset is what you believe about yourself. And what you believe about the world?
Carol Dweck is an American psychologist and she was really one of the first to research it and look at mindset as a predictor of success. So when Carol Dweck was looking at this, she found two types of mindset, the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
Growth mindset is characterized by somebody believing that they can grow. That they can learn that they can get better. That they can increase their intelligence. And when you believe this, it's going to. Spark the desire to learn more. To try more, to achieve more kind of makes sense. Right. So in other words, this is more of a quote unquote positive mindset.
The fixed mindset is you can imagine characterized by somebody believing that their intelligence level and what they've learned is fixed. It can't change. I am where I am. I can't really learn anything. I'm not going to grow. This is who I am as a person. that obviously sparks them to not really learn anything else. Not really strive to achieve.
More not really strive to understand. Anything else? So in other words, this can be more of a negative mindset.
Positive thinking is something else that you hear a lot about. And it gets intertwined with things like mindset and mindfulness, positive thinking is a part. Of your overall mindset. But it's not the entire mindset. So, if you think of it, mindset is kind of this umbrella. Underneath this umbrella is positive. Thinking underneath this umbrella is mindfulness.
Underneath this umbrella is meditation.
So underneath this umbrella of mindset is a lot of other factors that can help you manage your mindset as a whole. And positive thinking is a part of it, but it is not the entire thing. And it's great. I love positive thinking. I'm going to talk about the benefits of that in a minute, but I want to stress.
That it's not the only good part of mindset. There's many, many other parts of a strong mindset. That have nothing to do with being positive. And it's important to know this because I think there's a lot of pressure these days. To stay positive. To the point where you feel like if you're not being positive,
You're doing something wrong or you're not going to gain the benefits or you're going to, just spiral out of control. And that is completely not true.
So, what are the benefits of that growth mindset and positive thinking? Well, there's a ton of them. You can lower your stress levels. You can have better mental recovery. You have less reactivity. You have increased resilience. Lower rates of depression. It can increase your overall physical health. It can improve your does wellness and immunity. At can increase your ability to problem solve. I mean, there's so many, like that's a tiny, tiny fraction of how much goodness can come out of having.
This growth mindset and doing things like positive thinking. Very well-documented. I don't think I need to go on. Cause I think, you know, But you can see how people really want these things, especially if you're living with a chronic illness. These benefits are huge. And they are much needed benefits to boost our overall health.
And so here's the good news. If you're listening to this podcast, chances are you already have a growth mindset? You're listening because you want to be inspired. Or you want to grow and change and you believe you can you believe that you can use the tips and tools and stories that you hear? In this podcast to make life maybe a little bit easier for you, even if it's just giving yourself.
Hope. That belief looking for this. Is a factor of a growth mindset. So it means you're already getting the benefits of a growth mindset. Here's where it gets tricky. It gets tricky because you can move between growth and fixed mindsets. Which is great if you're going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, but maybe not so good. If we're going from a growth mindset to a fixed mindset.
And depending on what the circumstance is, you can lean a little bit more in one direction or the other. So, just as an example, you may believe that you can improve your vocabulary. In your native language. But maybe you believe that there's no way that you could ever be fluent in another language.
And so just because you have a growth mindset doesn't mean that there aren't places where you still feel stuck. Which can cause those negative thoughts to tick back up. So, for example, maybe you want to find time for yourself
but. You're stuck seeing where all of that is going to fit into an already busy day or how that's going to play with maybe your family or your job or your friends. Or you might feel like you need boundaries. Maybe you feel like you need boundaries at work so you can leave on time. But you're stuck because you can't see how you can do that without creating friction between you and your boss or you and your coworkers.
Or even, you can feel like you want to be more adventurous in your career or in your personal life. And you believe that you can do this. But you're stuck because you're anxious on how to do that without creating a flare. With your chronic illness.
So you can see how, even though you have this overall growth mindset, there are places where you can feel stuck and you can't really see the solution and you don't even. Maybe feel like there is a solution to try to get to that area of growth. And while being positive. Has a lot of benefits. Spiraling into the negative thoughts that can affect us as well.
Just not in the way that we want.
So when we have a lot of this negative thinking of, I can't figure out how to do this, I can't do this without someone being mad at me. We can get stuck and it can be really hard to see a solution to our problem. We get tunnel vision. And it can increase our stress. It can affect our sleep. It can.
You know, depending on how dug in we are, it can affect us emotionally. And it can affect us in our health, in our relationships. There's a lot of effects. That having this more dug in negative thinking can give us.
And you might be aware of some of this negative thinking in your life. You might see how maybe you're super hard on yourself. And you wish you were a little kinder and a little more supportive. Or you may see that you're pretty reactive to bad news or annoying people. In your life and you want to be less reactive to that. So there's ways that you can see that this fixed negative thinking is kind of creeping into some places.
So you can see how, even if overall you have this growth mindset and you do believe that you can learn and grow and get better. There are areas. There's pockets of places where you just can't see around that corner, or you just can't envision yourself getting over that roadblock. And that's okay. That's totally human and it doesn't mean all is lost.
So there are positives to positive thinking and negatives to negative thinking. But here's where we get tripped up. Our minds. Are not meant to be rosy happy unicorns all the time. We have this whole spectrum of emotions and thoughts. And it's a hundred percent normal. Nothing has gone wrong. If you're thinking negatively about someone.
Nothing has gone wrong. If you're even maybe spiraling about something that you can't figure out.

So it's actually more of a growth mindset move to be able to acknowledge and notice. Different thoughts and emotions, even the negative ones. When we stopped judging and fearing negative thoughts, because we think it's going to bring this avalanche of bad things on us.
We're able to process them. And send them on the way more easily. When we fixate and try to push against negative thinking and negative emotions all the time, because we think the only way forward can be with positive vibes only. Then we're really feeling the effects of negativity and a more fixed mindset.
And I'm going to say that again, pushing positivity all the time. To the extent that we're ignoring what we really think and feel. Is keeping us fixed in one lane. It doesn't allow us to explore our entire range of emotions. Process our emotions and it keeps us in that tunnel vision mode. Because pushing against what we really think and trying to tell ourselves that we really believe something else.
Does that even feel good? We don't like it when other people tell us that what we think isn't real. Why would we want to tell ourselves and what we think isn't real, just because we're afraid that it's going to be a negative thought.
Actually allowing those thoughts. Giving those thoughts, some space realizing we're having those. Feels better. Again, think about it when other people acknowledge. And accept what we're saying. No matter what it is. That feels better. Right. It's no different than how we treat ourselves and how we talk to ourselves.
So these are all aspects of our mindset that can take a step beyond simply growth or fixed. Or simply positive thoughts. Right. And look at the, the whole picture in the real world. And how we want to exist in the world. And they can all absolutely be worked on. Your mindset. Absolutely can shift. You can get unstuck.
You can improve your health, you can improve your relationships.
But not by forcing yourself to see the good in a crappy situation. Sometimes we just need to feel. Those negative thoughts. Remember, it's that whole spectrum of emotions. Sometimes we need to be angry. Sometimes we need to cry. Sometimes we need to be frustrated and pissed off and upset. And that's okay.
So you feel like this makes total sense? And you want to stop feeling like you are white knuckling, the positivity in your life. I've got a free guide that you can check out. It's called the no BS guide to a positive mindset and it goes way deeper into the subject. Then I've, I've kind of scratched the surface here. This goes way deeper in the link is in the podcast description of this episode. You can also pick it up at Andrea Hanson.
In the guide, I outline the pitfalls. Where we can get stuck in when we're trying to be more positive. I talk about the popular tools. That sound great. But focus on just that narrow. Part of what your whole mindset management can be.

I talk about. The quick fixes. They don't really address the underlying issue. That is going to leave you feeling like it's always an effort. To be positive and that you're always starting from square one, trying to look for tools or replacement thoughts.
My no BS mindset tools that help you build the real foundation of a stronger mindset. Are outlined in this free guide. And it sets you up to making those bigger mindset shifts. The ones that exist beyond just staying positive. So that you can stop being so hard on yourself and you can create an even keep. Things like those life-changing boundaries that I know you are already thinking about.
And deepen your confidence and relationships with others. Mindset goes, way farther beyond just staying positive or staying mindful. And there's so much that you can gain. When you have a really strong mindset.
The biggest issue that I see all the time with the people that I work with is they're feeling like they're not doing positivity and the mindset. Right. And they're beating up on themselves even further. And the last thing I want is for you to beat yourself up for not having a positive mindset. So, if you want to learn more, check out my free guide, the no BS guide to a positive mindset. You can get it through the link in the description. For this episode, you can get it on my website at Andrea Hanson. And you're going to be surprised to find that. The no BS tools to use. Are actually so much easier than policing yourself all the time for negative thoughts and trying to convince yourself.
That you really believe a more positive thought.
And I just want to add something quickly. If you are listening to this, and you're saying, I hear you, Andrea, but I feel like these negative emotions are just too big. If you're afraid that your negative thoughts. Or just too big and might even be rooted in a traumatic event in your life. There is no shame in reaching out to a therapist for help.
I love therapy. I do therapy. I talk about the benefits of therapy all the time. It's one of the best things I did for myself. And if you're feeling like you just can't allow all your negative emotions, because you're truly afraid. Therapy might be an amazing thing for you. So no judgment, no shame.
I do what's best for you. Always.
One of the things Carol Dweck proved in her research. Is that our minds are moldable our entire lives. We can learn. We can change perspective. We can create more neural connections in our brains.
So we can stay in that stronger mindset longer. You're never too old. You're never too stuck. There's never too big of a hurdle in front of you. You just need a little boost. One of which is to stop following not so great advice. So if you want to learn more. Get the free no BS guide to a positive mindset. Go to Andrea Hanson, Click the link that's in this episode, description, start learning how to build a true strong mindset. An all-encompassing mindset without the
pressure of trying to be positive all the time I hope this helps Clarify what mindset really is and everything that goes into it and gives you a little bit of relief If you've been stuck On how to make your mindset more positive Thank you for joining me i hope you have a great day And I will talk to you next week If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit Thank you for joining me And until next time take care

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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