Did you know you can change your story? The particular story that is causing stress and feelings you wish would go away. The one you keep trying to change but don’t know how because you are stuck? One of the best things you can do to create a new story and change your life is to make friends with your mind so it works with you, rather than against you. You can harness the amazing power of your mind to help you get what you want by reprograming and training your thoughts!
Repetition of confident thoughts is the key to reprogramming your mind to get results, and makes it possible for you to change your story. Essentially your brain contains nerve cells called neurons that are connected through synapses. This is how thoughts are formed. These neural pathways are strengthened by repetition which creates our beliefs. To build a new belief, form a thought that creates a positive feeling and repeat this throughout the day. Do this every single day until this becomes a part of your story.
As we work on building our new beliefs and stories, there are “brain drains” to be aware of. These leave us overwhelmed, resentful or burnt out. They affect how we view ourselves and those around us. For 15 years my story was “I’m so busy and I never have enough time to do everything I want to do.” This was what I told myself over and over. I tried throughout the years to find the magic solution to not feel overwhelmed. I read self-help books on time management and feeling better emotionally. I minimized and sought out information on organizing. Two years ago I found life coaching and discovered the true reason I was overwhelmed was due to my story of “I’m so busy” and “I never have enough time”. My feelings were coming from my thoughts, not my long list of things to do.
Here are five “brain drains” that keep you stuck and stop you from being your best self and how you can avoid falling prey to their trap.
The false yes. Saying yes to something or someone even though inside you are really saying no results in being overwhelmed, resentful, and burnt out. Next time you are asked to do something or wish to add an item to your to-do list, stop and ask yourself if you really want to do this. You don’t have to do it all. It’s ok to say no. From the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown - “Don’t ever say yes unless you can say heck yes!”
Not verbalizing or recognizing your needs. When you don’t recognize what your needs are, you may start feeling sorry for yourself and your thoughts start going down that rabbit hole. Recognize when you need to eat, take a nap, need some downtime, etc. When you ignore yourself, you send the message that you don’t matter. You do matter. Speak up for yourself even if it feels uncomfortable. You can’t help others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.
Busyness being a badge of honor. We are constantly telling ourselves and others “I’m so busy”. In reality, we don’t get as much done, we’re not focused, and we aren’t as efficient as we think we are. We keep adding things to our to-do list which results in being overwhelmed. You have a choice in everything you do and you don’t have to do it all. Only schedule the most important priorities for each day, and enjoy the moment of each activity. Make sure you schedule time for yourself.
Cognitive dissonance. Tension arises when we think one way but act another way, or when we hold two opposing views at the same time. You want to lose weight, but you “cheat” and eat a chocolate doughnut. You feel embarrassed or ashamed about something you’ve done and try to hide your actions from other people. You do things because of social pressure or a fear of missing out even if it wasn’t something you wanted to do. This leads to conflict with ourselves which adds to our stress and keeps us stuck and unhappy. You can lessen the chances of cognitive dissonance by being mindful. When conflict or tension arise, try not to act impulsively. Take the time to pause and think through your situation and your feelings. Find out why you feel a certain way before you act. Be aware of what you are telling yourself and whether that aligns with the true you.
People pleasing. A people pleaser is someone who tries hard to make others happy due to a strong desire for approval and external validation. People pleasing feels good in the moment, provides a little adrenaline hit, and is typically at your own expense. It can turn into resentment, feel like an obligation, and it drains your self respect. When you spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what other people think of you and try to get them to like you by doing what you think they want, you feel resentful and frustrated when people don’t do the same or appreciate the sacrifices you are making. The truth is, we can’t control what others think, even when we try. They will always get to choose what they want to believe. What they believe is about them, not us. When we show up in a way that is authentic, we experience a new found freedom and relax into being our best selves.
If you want your life to be better, start by managing your thoughts. Awareness of how the five “brain drains” restrict your ability to construct the life you want, can free you into controlling your thoughts and feelings. We all need mind management if we want to live a life that we desire. You don’t have to stay stuck in your current story. Wayne W. Dyer said, “The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.”