If I’d been told, as a young woman, that I was able to influence my own beliefs, leading to mood enhancement, I would have been all over it. The idea of self reliance was always appealing to me but life and it’s workings felt so entirely random – like I had zero control.
I know for sure that what we believe is who we become.Oprah Winfrey
I believed opportunities either came my way or not because of luck, being in the right place at the right time or with the right people. Without all of that, I didn’t believe that I had any influence. Which is why knowing a bit about the brain, how it affects what we see and what we don’t, comes in very handy.
The more you think about something, the easier it is for you to think it again. What starts off as a thought, due to something that greatly affected you, can end up becoming a belief system. Your personality is, simply speaking, the volume of beliefs that you’ve thought over and over again, often for many years.
Your brain is bombarded by stimuli on a daily basis, like sounds, conversations, colours, impressions, smells and so on. Due to the sheer amount of input your brain has to figure out a way to filter all that information based on priority. So how does it prioritise what you pay attention to and what you don’t? By choosing the thoughts and beliefs you think most often. So if you have a predominately negative mindset – expecting the worst – your mind focuses on seeing only that in your day to day existence. Any sign to the contrary will simply go unnoticed.
Starting to become mindful of your inner dialogue is one of the most useful things you can do to begin the journey to inner calm. Habitual thinking is just that, habitual, and when you start to challenge the thoughts based on your knowledge that they may not necessary be true, you have interrupted the trajectory your limiting beliefs normally take.
Not only that, you have also begun to change the type of hormones you release based on your new thinking. When you worry and catastrophise, you release cortisol and adrenaline, your stress hormones, which are great when you are in danger but not designed to be pumped out on a daily basis as they can cause inflammation, weight gain, insomnia and anxiety.
- Challenge your thoughts and ask yourself ‘Is it true?’
- When did you start to believe this way? Be curious. Were you a child? A teen? At work? What were the circumstances? Often it can be traced back to one uncomfortable event.
- Did you inherit the belief from a family member or close friend? We are 100% influenced by those closest to us.
- Decide what you’d rather feel? Is it calm, peace, love, safety?
- Remember a time when you felt this way and go back to feel the feeling again. Where do you notice it in your body? Use this as a regular go to practice to familiarise your nervous system what this can feel like physically.
- Spend at least 10 minutes each day in a safe, calm place and think about happy memories, or someone you love, what you are proud of and why. It is not only uplifting but also soothing as you are activating the feel good hormones in your body such as serotonin, endorphins and dopamine which we need to feel content, happy, motivated and safe.
You and your thoughts hold the keys to your own chemical factory – use it often and let me know how you get on.