Now that we’ve discovered some of the thoughts you have around your activity last year, let’s dig in and see what we can uncover about those juicy bits of information we have!
FIRST – let me ask...
How was the experience??
Did it feel great pouring out the entire year and looking at it?
Maybe it looked a little frustrating or maybe it was exhilarating. It could be either. Remember, you are just noticing, not judging.
I usually feel better because I’ve reminded myself of some areas I’ve grown in and rediscover accomplishments I seemed to have pushed aside and am not still celebrating. I also find it helpful to really dig in to the places I didn’t do so hot! Places I missed it, places I missed it AGAIN. And I get to ask myself, “How many times are you going to fall in that hole Patsy? Isn’t it time you take a different path?” It’s the best self-awareness exercise you can do.
What about you?
Are there places you’re thinking that it’s time to take a different path?
Well, that’s exactly where we are going with this. We’re going to get a better result, to get somewhere else instead of the same place you always end up. To Release and Retrain your brain to go a different way and get a better outcome, we need to take a minute to visit your brain and how it works. Understanding the brain helps us know exactly how to let go of what we don’t want and get what we do want.
Here’s how the brain works.
The brain is constantly receiving information. It gathers information in the womb, through birth and by the time we are 5, 6, and 7 years old, we have enough information to be pretty dangerous!
Your brain also has a filtering system that sifts and sorts all the hundreds of thousands of bits of information we receive every second! Of the information it decides to keep, it sorts it all into files, kind of like a librarian or secretary. When you need that information, that secretary is kind enough to pull the file for you. I’ve often thought that senility might just be our secretary getting old along with us!
By this time in our short little lives, we have laid the foundation for how we see the world. Our perception of people, ourselves, the world around us is formed. I know you’re thinking, "Oh gosh, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad." The answer to that question is, it’s not good or bad, it’s just what it is…but it could answer some questions for you about why you’re not getting the outcome you want year after year.
Stay with me on this.
Here’s an example...
I have a friend whose mother was bipolar. 60 years ago, they didn’t have the bipolar diagnosis and treatment options were time spent in a mental hospital. There were happy times with her mom but there were also times of mania, screaming and throwing things. When these events would happen, my friend decided that hiding would be the safe thing to do. Brilliant! It was a very safe thing to do. She’d hide under the bed or the blankets, anywhere she felt safe until her dad got home.
She likely also made the decision about her mother, women, or others in authority. She may have made a decision that they’re not trustworthy; that they could turn on you at any time. She may have decided her mom needed help and learned codependent behavior. And she may have very likely decided it was all her fault… that if she were a better little girl, her mommy wouldn’t have to be angry.
This is called linking. We link a situation with the result.
In a simpler example, how many of you put your hand on a hot stove as a kid? You have a situation, you have an emotionally or physically charged result. You link the two together. Fire = burns.
Unfortunately, for all of us, we are still operating from that 5 or 6 year old brain well into our adult life. Something makes you feel just like you did back then and your brain opens the file and screams DANGER! And in my friends case, she would run and hide…. as a 20, 30, and 40 year old.
Operating from a 5-year old brain doesn’t serve you today.
Let's take a minute and look back at your worksheet. Can you see how some of the answers from the worksheet could be responses that are automatic? ….from a 5 year old?
Not doing the work,
Not following through,
Not taking the risk,
Always needing to be in control?
Your answers from the worksheet are just a habitual response from your brain, the bad ones, but yes, the good ones too.
HERE’S THE EXCITING PART!!! (Finally, we’re getting to the good stuff)
Once you know how your brain works – you can make it work FOR you!
You have positive answers on that worksheet too! (And you should take the time to celebrate those again and again.) The positive got there EXACTLY the same way as the negative. You linked a positive experience / emotion with a result. That’s how some people can make cold calls, or talk to anyone on the street, or sell anything, or jump out of an airplane, or have a calm but confrontational conversation – it’s a positive experience for them because that’s what their brain linked together!
Are you getting it???
You can CHANGE a thought by LINKING A NEW ONE!
And if you can change a thought, you can change anything!
RELEASE & RETRAIN is the answer.
There are many tools to accomplish this, but I like these:
Breathe – anytime you recognize a negative thought, the first thing to do is stop and deal with it right then. Breathing is a great way to interrupt the autopilot of your brain from continuing the same thought process. STOP and take 3 BIG BREATHS. I like to close my eyes, but most importantly make them big breaths and repeat three times. I don’t think there’s a special magic about the number three. I think it’s simple physiology. You gain oxygen, you blow out carbon dioxide, you sat still for 15 seconds. That will bring your blood pressure down right there!
Write it out – write out the negative thought you just had... Or the whole list of them. Then write why you don’t want it anymore or the harm it brings you. But here’s the BEST part! Start writing on the other side of the paper THE TRUTH instead. If you’re not sure that you can come up with anything positive, try just writing down the opposite word to get you started. Another trick I use is asking myself what others say about me? What do they say I’m good at? What do others ask me advice about? What do others ask me to help them with? Soon, you’ll have built an entire list of how brilliant you and your gifts are.
– one of the easiest and fastest ways to replace thoughts is through what you listen to. Think about all the garbage that swirls around us every day! What you intentionally listen to can change your life forever. They say to change a thought to a new one takes 10,000 repetitions so audio is a great way to accomplish that. Just play it anywhere, you don’t have to pay close attention to it, you can even be asleep; your brain will pick it up!
There are many great affirmation audio's out there. Start with the Play Tall Affirmation download
, find others you like, but just do it!
Visualization – for you visual people out there, this may be better than writing but I advise everyone to do both writing and visual work; it a full-circle approach, catching all working elements of your brain. Take a minute to close your eyes, not while driving, and try to see the turmoil that habitual thought patterns have built up inside you physically. Feel it rumbling around. Then simply allow it to go; hear yourself say, “Thank you for your input all these years, but you’re not needed anymore, today, I release you to go” and then visualize it leaving your body in a form such as smoke, or sludge, or chains dropping off. See it over and over. Replace the space by seeing new, clean, truthful thoughts that serve you. It might feel odd doing this at first but in conjunction with writing those new helpful replacement thoughts, you’ll start seeing a change immediately.
We have about 70,000 thoughts a day. And scientists now know that 80% of those thoughts are negative. And they have found out that 85% of those thoughts are repetitive!! You think the same thoughts day after day after day. Let’s CHOOSE the thoughts in your autopilot brain. Let’s intentionally change what we put in and we will get an amazing new outcome this year.
Begin this work today and we’ll talk again next week. For more…