So here in the US, we know we are in it for the long haul. I know for me, here in NYC and being next to Central Park, with the turn of the weather there is a great desire to go outside.
So this past weekend, mask on and gloves in my pocket, just in case I decided to go anywhere after my run, I ventured outside. There were dozens of people out and about, probably having the same thoughts and feelings as I had and needing to simply get out of the house. Running with a mask on is not that easy, but I do it to protect others. Heaven forbid I am that a-symptomatic individual and there I am breathing heavily from running, just spreading it all over the place.
But I had to cut my outdoor adventure short. Too many people without masks, cycling, walking, running and the best was the person who set up an entire circuit training gym in the park, no masks, no gloves. Not judging anyone, but I decided to err on the side of caution and just go home.
But this got me thinking, how are people handling being cupped up for days or weeks at a time? Someone said earlier today, “while we might all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.” I have been practicing mindfulness, meditation, mindset strategy, positive psychology, NLP, Strategic Intervention, Self-Hypnosis and so much more for years.
I almost feel bad when people are all disheveled and stressed, ask me how I am doing and I answer, “great” and mean it. But then again, I have taken the time to build my life to my specific design and I did write the book, Becoming Unfu*kwithable so I would hope I live up to that at some level.
While everyone feels and reacts to stress differently, I wanted to write about things anyone can do, to help them learn how to master their mindset. The mindset being those mostly subconscious, core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that dictate how we see the world and interpret our reality.
I have engaged in reframing, one of the very first NLP/Positive Psychology techniques I learned almost a decade ago. It is one of the easiest things we can do, yet many of us will “try” then quit. Why? It is too simple, too easy and we don’t see the exponential results, immediately. But I promise if you do this and stick to it you will see massive results.
Let’s start by understanding that our brains see the negative first. It is what they are made to do. Find everything wrong with a situation and quickly determine if it is a threat to our existence. So don’t be overly concerned that you happen to always see what is wrong with something. You are supposed to. But, with our minds constantly seeking out what is wrong, over time, we create a subconscious or conscious automatic negative thought. A knee-jerk reaction if you will. For example, you trip over the carpet and laugh, “I am always so clumsy, what is wrong with me?” You take the wrong turn and say, “ugh why am I such an idiot” and you quickly move on. You think it has no impact on you, but what it subtly demonstrates is that your subconscious, thinks this negative statement first. This is your go-to thought.
Whether you laugh it off or not, your brain just called you clumsy, reinforced the idea that something is wrong with you, or that you are an idiot. In a split second that was the knee-jerk reaction. Somewhere in your belief system, you deeply believe this to be true, even if only in instances where you trip or miss a turn. But, more likely this idea leeches way more into your every day than you consciously realize.
But what if you could begin to identify and change these beliefs? What if by changing these automatic negative thoughts you could actually change your everyday reality, make it more loving, fun and joyful. Have less stress and become less reactive? All by simply changing an automatic thought in your mind from negative to positive?
So here goes. Monitor yourself all day today. Write down all of the negative thoughts you have. Ugh my kids annoy me; I wish x was more like X; why do I have to do x; x is the worst; I hate having to x; why do I always get bills; I hate the mail all it is is bills; rent is stupid since I can never pay it…. go on, what are your thoughts, gripes, etc.? Write them all down.
Now, take one. Just one. And write out the automatic positive statement that you will say every time that thought pops into your head. Ugh I hate that my kids wake me up before 8 vs. I love that I have kids vibrant enough to be able to wake me from their joy; I hate having to do x vs. I get to do x; I hate the mail all it is is bills vs. glad I am even able to get mail or I love getting mail especially when it is checks.
Now for all of my over achievers, STOP! Just pick one. Oh, ok go ahead and write out the automatic positive thought to all of them, but promise that you will be consistent with only one. If you do too much too soon if becomes overwhelming.
Tiny consistent steps = your greatest success.
Once you have written your automatic positive thought down. Practice saying it. Out loud. carry it on a piece of paper so you remember to say it all the time.
Before you start this practice if you want to note down your actual improvement, grade your feelings before you start. On a scale of 1 to 10, how annoying is this thought about this person, place, action or thing? Then after a week of doing it consistently, score it again. After each week write down your score. Now after one month, see how the negative emotional impact of that person, place, action or thing has improved. Oh and don’t stop just because it got a little better. Keep doing it until you no longer think about doing it. Most likely then you have created a new and lasting subconscious habit. And you can move on to the next thing on your list.