Everything changed for me when I learned how to be more mindful and intentional with how my brain spends its time. When I took charge of this and directed it more, I started to see my hopes and dreams come true.
So I specifically want to ask you…..who is running your life?
I am sure you are thinking, well that would be me Carisa, I am running my own life. But I want to ask you again, who is deciding what you think about and how you spend your time? It is part of you, sure. But I have a hunch it is the primitive part of your brain making most of the decisions on what you think about the majority of your day. 95% of the time, that is where our brain works from.
I am not really talking about the tasks that you must do for your household or work. I am referring to that endless chatter that is going on inside of your head nearly every hour while you are awake. That background noise. You know what I am talking about right? You wake up with it, you go to sleep with it.
How do I know this? Because I have the same brain components as you and I had that same inner voice inside my head offering me all sorts of demotivating, worrisome thoughts. I still have it…but I decide when I open the door to it.
You know, most of us would be very strict on who we let walk into our homes. We feel that is a safe place for us and we must know the person pretty well to let them into our safe space. But let’s say what if you did know this person well, but every time they come they cause a major disruption to your household, your family. How likely are you to allow them back without some boundaries and ground rules? You would protect yourself and your family and make the hard decisions that had to be made. It seems so obvious. Right?
But what I want to offer you is. Do you guard your brain the same way? Are you particular about who you let in? Who you let take up space, talk your ears off and then just walk away when they are done being a negative drain on you in your own private space? What do you let in?
I think if you are like me the answer is no…because sometimes that inner chatter is in fact you. Your own primitive brain and inner critic speaking to you. I used to think I needed to listen to every word this voice said. I used to think I have a pretty smart brain and I think this is wisdom and experience speaking to me. So listen up Carisa, there may be something useful here.
But I was never taught that the primitive part of our brain has a purpose to seek pleasure, comfort and to exert as little energy as possible. Oh and it wants to keep you safe too. So what does it do, it is constantly scanning for danger. Looking for threats and circumstances that could mean trouble.
So we get pulled into this patterning. We listen to it. We go with it and sit with these thoughts too long. And when we do that we are most certainly going to have a feeling about it and then based on those vibrations in our body which is what feelings are, we are going to take some sort of action. It all happens so fast.
What I am suggesting is that we truly must become more mindful of what is happening inside our brain. We must look at it as a contributor not an authority. We must decide when to open the door, when to listen intently to what it has to say. And then we must make a decision as to whether this visitor is helpful to us or not.
So what can we do to become more mindful?
We must overcome our brain’s desire for efficiency. Our brain loves patterning. This is not great news for all the thought loops and belief systems that are no longer serving us but they are so unconscious they visit us each and every day.
So what I do is a mindfulness practice.
I do thought downloads daily. Which is me spending 5-10 minutes dumping all the stuff in my head. Anything and everything floating around. No matter how random or stupid it may seem. I don’t judge it. If I am thinking it, I get it out. I look at the thoughts on paper and I start to question them. Which ones are stories not facts and I can call bullcrap on it right away. I use the self coaching tool called the model that I teach to work through thoughts that I want to get curious about. Ultimately if I don’t like what results I am seeing due to what these thoughts are creating for me, then I will do some intentional models to try on new thoughts that could also be true that I can begin to believe. In this process I will decide what I want to feel, create and do. I will decide what thoughts I need to believe in order for me to create and feel what is needed for what I want to accomplish. (Side note, I previously made a list where I write down 25 things I want more of in my life (they may be things, accomplishments, experiences, improvements) I always keep these top of mind. My thoughts need to match up to these goals. I make a list of these thoughts that can keep me moving towards my goals and I begin to pump them into my brain. I have used several approaches to do this. I have written the new thoughts on note cards, kept them by my bed and when I wake up I flip through them. Before I do anything else. I pump these motivating thoughts into my brain.
Mornings have the most energy. So use your brain power to reprogram.
I have used affirmations or mantras. This can be very helpful for planting these new thoughts and ideas in your brain. It can be extremely powerful. For example when I was beginning my life coaching certification and I was so unsure of myself and my primitive brain had so much negative chatter to offer me, I practiced the affirmation, people need help and I can help people. I would repeat this phrase several times in the morning and when I would notice self doubt coming in I would repeat it. It was just enough of a pause and redirection that I was able to continue moving forward without getting stuck in the negative emotion that would have come up otherwise.
With new thoughts and affirmations I have used post it notes on my bathroom mirror, on my desk, and on the computer. Currently I use a free app call YAPP and I enter in a few intentional thoughts I want to make more common in my brain and I set it to pop up on my phone and watch several times a day. The constant reminder throughout the day is helpful so when I see it I repeat it a couple times out loud to myself. I am retraining my brain. Just like if I lift weights and work to strengthen my muscles, I am doing that with my brain. So much of what we think about and do is because of the neural pathways we have built up. So two things need to happen to create a new neural pathway. 1. We need to learn the new behavior or thoughts. 2. We need to practice it. You have to do it enough to replace the old. So repeat, repeat repeat.
The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. You decide what you want to think about and focus on. If you do not give your brain a direction, it will take over and decide for you. We can be certain that it is going to come from the primitive brain with negativity, scarcity and repetitiveness because that is what the primitive brain does and you are using that portion of your brain 95% of the time.
My brain used to think about all sorts of things. Whatever it was focused on it was providing me with all sorts of chatter about it. Sometimes the voices were so constant it was exhausting.
But once I learned how my brain works and what I need to do if I want to be more intentional and go after what I want more of in life, it all changed for me. I am still a work in progress but I am definitely much more mindful than I ever have been in my life and it shows because I am going after more of what I want in my life, managing my thoughts and feelings and taking proactive massive action. AND…I AM SEEING RESULTS.
So if this feels familiar. The incessant chatter inside your head that never stops. Please know there is nothing wrong with you. You have a human brain and someone needs to manage it. That person has to be you.
“You either control your mind, or it controls you.”– Napoleon Hill