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bump in the night – change your self talk

No, not trick or treaters knocking on your door tonight. No, I mean that little voice you hear when you’re alone with your thoughts. You know the one.

That negative soundtrack on repeat, saying you’re not good enough or you’ll never do it or tells you what a fool you are. Self talk can be a great regulator of your behaviours, but when the negative one switches on, it can become a complete blocker to your change.

Our soundtracks are learnt as we move through life with its ups and downs. When you’re feeling great, you control the volume. However during times of change, uncertainty or when you’re in unchartered waters, it can go out of control.

As you stretch into your new life, don’t let this hold you back. When your negative soundtrack shouts out, you need to reach out for a new tune, a positive self-talk soundtrack. By reframing, you’re effectively editing and re-recording your soundtrack.

Next time you hear that familiar old tune, reframe and start listening to something new:

  1. Pause it – stop the sound and breathe into the silence.
  2. Review it – chat with your self talk, ask why it’s doing what it’s doing.
  3. Remix it – get specific, what would enable you, support you and motivate you?
  4. Record it – create a series of positive statements.
  5. Play it – listen hard and often to your new soundtrack.

Want to make it more powerful? Add reminders for your other senses. For example, create an album cover aka a suitable picture, cartoon or quote and stick it somewhere you look often (back of your front door, inside your notebook or your phone’s home screen – I like this for a quick boost!). Try anchoring, an NLP technique that helps create a physical trigger for your desired outcome. And don’t forget to share it with your friends, mentors and supporters – we all love a good tune and want to dance along with you.

Tell me below: what self talk goes bump in the night for you? And how are you putting it to bed? (Oh and don’t forget to check underneath your bed first – boo!)

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you need to move it, move it – body and mind in action

You all know I’m passionate about how your body and mind work – especially how one can support the other’s change.

Two of my favourite experts are Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Social Psychologist and Doctor Dance aka Peter Lovatt of the Dance Psychology lab. Both work to learn how moving our bodies affects our brains – in Cuddy’s case to see how hormones change our peformance and Peter uses dance to change our abilities and mood.

Your self-perception of your abilities to do something can creep out into your body language – if you’re unsure or lacking confidence, your body posture will typically become smaller. You might cross your arms, avoid eye contact or fidget with your hands. However, feeling great about yourself makes you stand a touch taller, smile more and exude more warmth.

Amy and her team started to measure 2 hormone changes, testosterone and cortisol. The first you’ll know is the “male” hormone and affects our risk taking and the second is the “stress” hormone. Her research focused on hormonal changes in students as they were interviewed. Prior to the interview, some were asked to “power pose” – large, open body postures – and others to adopt low status poses – ie hunched over to make themselves smaller with limbs crossed.

The results? Power posing tricks the brain into increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol: students relaxed and felt more confident. Importantly, they performed better in their interviews.

The Dance Psychology lab is seeking to understand why dancing changes the way we feel. I saw Doctor Dance at a School of Life Sunday Sermon and did some curvy belly dancing and line dancing. Shoulder shimmying and swirling arms open up our creative thinking; whilst the squarer steps gave our logic problem solving skills a boost. WOW! You can watch the sermon here on his next School of Life event page, a dance night in October. I’ll be there and hope you’ll join me.

I use a combination of these to raise my game, increase my personal impact and inspiration. With teams, I’ve incorporated power posing to presentation and influencing skills training and worked with individuals to increase their confidence ahead of difficult situations. By changing body position, posture, gestures and so on, you can make your brain function better, change your mood and open up opportunities. Bringing your body and mind into harmony

Do you consider your body when approaching a situation where you want to be at your best or when your mood needs an uplift? Let us know in the comments; what you do and any favourite tracks to get you moving!

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comfortably uncomfortable – your brain’s reaction to change

This was a phrase I’ve picked up from an innovation trainer. He said, “to unlearn old ways of thinking and learn new ones, you need to get comfortably uncomfortable.” I had to ponder this one. We’ve all heard the statement about when you step outside your comfort zone, that’s where you really grow. Yet we rarely hear about how that can make us feel. Somehow this new description really grabs me – doing something new or different to your norms can really make you feel a touch anxious or scared.

Why does this happen? The part of your brain for complex thinking is called the prefrontal cortex and sits just behind your forehead. It is accessed via the amygdala, the emotional centre. Let’s look at an example – you decide to try a new fitness plan or start a new course or take a new job (that’s the complex thinking bit of the brain working) and you feel really chuffed to have made a decision, but then you get that uncomfortable feeling about getting started, the energy required to succeed or what you have to sacrifice along the road (that’s the emotional centre getting heard!).

Hang in there. I’ve got a brain-friendly fix to help your amygdala feel heard and help you move forward with being comfortably uncomfortable.

Take 2 minutes out from whatever you’re doing and just be still. Now focus your attention on your feelings. List them out one by one, either in your head, out loud or jot them down – whatever suits you. Simply acknowledge each of them like the face of an old friend passing by the window. You’ll notice how you can now concentrate on the action or task in hand, without further energy going to dealing with your emotions.

Getting comfortably uncomfortable is a key skill to acquire if you are going to make the shift you want in your life.  Try this technique out whenever you need to move past your emotions, to focus on whatever you’re doing.

Right before you go, answer these 2 for me in the comments:

  1. What’s your way to deal with feeling uncomfortable? (Biscuits or chocolate? Long runs? Call a mate?)
  2. How did your brain react to this acknowledgement technique?

If you’d like to try out more brain-friendly techniques to help you explore and achieve real change in your life, book a coaching session with me.

  • Grace

    1. Unnecessary banter/chat/noise. 2. Uh-oh…

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