As I mentioned last time, I’m now a fully qualified Coach and NLP Practitioner! I feel I’ve both learned a whole mass of new skills as well as personally up-levelling in so many ways. Apart from anything, I used the training for the “Like to Dislike” technique to “dislike” Diet Coke!
Before last Sunday, I used to drink about 2 litres every day, and definitely had addictive behaviours around it. If there was no Diet Coke in my house or at work, it was a International Diet Coke Crisis (IDCC), and I would actively feel discomfort until I could obtain my “addiction juice” (As an Ex- of mine called it). So my not having had any at all since last Sunday is a massive change for me. I now simply don’t want it. It has no power over me. Which is very strange, but very cool.
As I didn’t want to detox from both the sweetener and the Caffeine at once, I’ve been taking Caffeine tablets. My previous consumption was ~ 200mg a day, I’m down to 50mg and looking to go every other day with the tablets this week and knock it on the head totally over next weekend.
The change itself was such a simple procedure, took 15 minutes in all, and if I had not experienced the change, I would not have believed it possible to deal with an issue so quickly!
So, one of my main tasks is integrating the new tools and techniques I have into what I offer. However, something I wanted to share from the training is a very simple but powerful mnemonic about how the unconscious mind works – The unconscious mind is a DRAGON!
D – Drives all behaviours
R – Responds to repetition
A – Archive for emotions and memory
G – Governs all body systems
O – Only takes the path of least resistance
N – Negative commands are not processed – ensure positive commands are given
I talk a great deal in my body oriented eCourse – The hunger free way to a slimmer you: Ten easy shifts to a low carb way of life (currently in “pre-launch” phase) – about the unconscious, behaviours and resistance, because a change in diet has to also be accompanied by a mindset change for success. This lovely and simple way of thinking about the unconscious will very much help me to give the learning I’m creating good focus, especially in the parts where it’s been being difficult to get the concepts in my head out of my fingers in a cogent way!
Training our DRAGON is a vital thing, what are you going to do today to train yours? Maybe a Mantra? Some yoga? A walk in nature? Drop a comment below with that you are going to get up to, and we can start working on connecting those dots.
I really like EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique.) aka “Tapping”. It lives under the umbrella of “Energy Psychology” techniques, and it looks so dumb (especially when you are tapping under your arm and on the top of your head) that you may well feel that it’s a bunch of hooey – but what you can achieve with it really is awesome.
As you know, I’m all about the science, and most double blind reputable studies point to EFT simply using “The Power of the Placebo” to affect change in a person. Now, I’m 100% with Tim Minchin on science and “Alternative Medicine” (Homeopathic Sugar pills in particular), and that “Modern Medicine” is something that should always be matched and used appropriately to an individual’s health circumstances – but I also feel that Placebology, where the patient affects their own change because they believe that the placebo they are using will change them for the better definitely has a place in the therapeutic process.
I feel it works because it allows a person to be 100% honest with themselves, as tapping out the various issues and free-flow verbalising around them will make us make intuitive perspective leaps that we could never make in a flat state with a conscious mind. When I tap on issues myself, I’m always surprised by something I say that “just falls out of my brain via my mouth” as I’m associating.
The Founder of EFT, Gary Craig, discovered that in persons with anxiety or fear, that by tapping on 9 specific meridian points and using a set of very specific “set-up phrases” and then talking honestly, openly, and usually in negatively phrased statements about issues through the tapping process, that the issues can be reduced to a place where they have little to no on-going effect, very quickly, and with much less stress to the patient than via traditional psychological methods . He believes that the tapping mechanisms of EFT operate in the same way as Acupuncture – activating specific meridian points stimulates them to assist the body in releasing the negative energy feedback loops to remove dis-ease.
There have been studies that show the tapping has a calming effect on the amygdala. I’m sure that you know by now that the amygdala gets activated either for pleasure in the now, or in an amygdala hijack, in a response to a perceived danger, either real or imaginary.
In a fear situation, the amygdala causes adrenaline and cortisol to be released to prepare our body for action (i.e. to fight or to run). Where a “potentially harmful” situation is perceived, the amygdala works with the hippocampus to enforce its previously learned “stay safe” feed-back loop. For instance, if a person has been in a road accident, the experienced fear gets stored away and then every time a car journey is needed, anxiety levels irrationally increase.
During his development work, Gary discovered that EFT isn’t just for “fear calming” situations, it can be used on pretty much any occurring issue:
Personal Performance Boosters
Achieving personal and professional goals
Fat reduction & body composition
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
NB: While EFT has produced remarkable results for many people, it must still be considered to be in the experimental stage and people and the therapists that advise clients to use EFT must take complete responsibility for their own use of the technique. If you try it, give it a good go, and find that it doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it. Just try another self help technique. Never let using EFT or any other self-help technique that I or anyone else might talk about get in the way of seeking professional medical help where required.
So, why am I particularly talking about EFT this week? Well, there’s been more ISIS terrorist activity in a few places around the world in the last few weeks (Baghdad, Ankara and Brussels) and so, in an effort to help us all combat Hate I wanted to share this Brad Yates Tapping video with you: Clearing Hatred – Tapping with Brad Yates
NB: if you have never viewed Brad’s Channel before, before you start tapping away, you must watch these two videos first – as Brad is very clear that you know what you are doing, and that you take full responsibility for your own well being.
I’m connecting my own dots on this one, as I’m currently training to be able to use EFT with you in our coaching practice. I first discovered EFT around 2000, and I’ve used it off and on since then (I’ll admit more off than on!).
I got sharply reminded about using it way more often, and in combination with Forgiveness work as part of my working through Denise Duffield Thomas’ Lucky Bitch Money BootCamp – and it’s now happily part of my daily routine again.
So, what are you going to try and use EFT on? My advice is to try it on everything :-). Pick a topic and drop me a comment below. Then we can start working to connect your dots!
As I’m sure you can guess from what I’ve keep banging on about ( 🙂 ), a huge part of Self-Change is re-framing our Mindset and the decluttering process is not just about clearing physical space, it’s about mental decluttering also.
“Don’t let it rent your head” is something my Mum said to me a long time ago, and what’s happened to us in our past can very literally “hold us back” in that past and that story. When I spoke about simply observing feelings in the letting it go meditation, the emotions we feel are often driven by our stories, and the top tactic for dealing with the ones that linger is forgiveness.
Mental de-cluttering can be very difficult – Lifting the memories and beliefs that shaped our current thoughts into the light of objectivity, feeling them and then asking “Does holding onto this experience serve me and my higher good?” can be very hard indeed, as our amygdala is usually telling us (very loudly) that holding on to the memory and all that entails is the “safe” thing to do.
However, as Anaïs Nin said: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
Mental de-cluttering is something that we do again and again – yes, there are big pieces of the past that come up when we think about this the first time we do it, but mental decluttering and forgiveness is like an onion – it has layers. There is always more to de-clutter, always more to forgive, and we always feel better for working through the (very easy) process. After all, hanging on to the more toxic memories that drive our lives through pain, resentment or anger is like “eating poison and harming ourselves, yet expecting the other person to die.”
In the same way as when we physically de-clutter our stuff (and I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo – an excellent physical de-cluttering system ) we de-clutter memories and experiences by topic, with a focus on “Love”, “Money”, “Work”, “Siblings”,”Parents” or any other life topic that we feel is “renting our head” – naturally there is always cross-over, but don’t let that stall you. If you don’t think a memory would fit in where you want to do the work right now, then leave it for later.
The actual process is easy – Allow yourself some time, pick your topic, grab pen and paper (because writing activates both sides of the brain) and start writing out emotional memories on the chosen topic. Include anything that still has an emotional charge – anger, resentment, embarrassment, shame, etc and write a short paragraph on each memory as it comes up. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else, aiming for between 20-100 memories.
Don’t get stuck or over think it, you may end up with pages and pages, or just a few lines. The memories that are “missed” this time aren’t yet ready to be forgiven. Just like cleaning out the wardrobe usually takes more than one go, emotionally charged memories that are driving current behaviours often hide behind each other.
Once you have the list formed, and you are ready to start forgiving (It’s perfectly fine to write the list and then leave it to one side for a short while if you need to do so) read the first memory, then take a breath and say out loud “I forgive you, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you.” and then physically cross the memory out with your pen. Repeat the mantra for each item on the list, crossing them off until you reach then end. You can then discard the list in whatever way you see fit; rip it up, shred it, burn it or just chuck it in the recycling.
Why these words? Because they release you from carrying the emotions – it’s not at all about the cause of the memory, be that a person, organisation or circumstance. And whilst remaining engaged in the exercise, you don’t even have to mean the words that you are saying all that much. Remember, the Limbic brain doesn’t have “words” it has “feels”
Energetically, “I forgive you” is acknowledging the memory and the emotion, “I’m Sorry” covers forgiving ourselves for carrying the emotion for so long and clears any residual entanglements around the event (It’s not about “apologising to the other person”, there is no condoning of past grievances or victim blaming here), “Thank you” is about appreciating the lesson it taught you, even if that lesson was hard to carry or had negative consequences at the time, and “I love you” seals the deal, wrapping up the experience and energies with love and releasing them.
You may well feel some resistance to doing this (I know I have in the past) because letting it go is very, very scary. However, know that doing forgiveness work on the past will change your future life, so leave me a comment about what you are forgiving, and we can start working on connecting those dots!
Following on from the thoughts in my previous post “Crap in = Crap out“, I wanted to write a little more on what I feel is the best nutrition, and, even if you don’t agree with me 100%, some guidelines how to choose foods that are good for the body generally.
So, what do I view as good nutrition?
I base my food choices around Optimal, Sub-optimal and Non-optimal. I personally ban nothing, I just chose to avoid things that I know are non-optimal. After all when something is “banned” or “bad” then, by that nice twist of human psychology, we generally want it all the more.
Broadly speaking, the foods I eat are:
Optimal (eat freely and with gusto!):
Plentiful amounts of meat, fish, fowl, green veg (brassica), eggs, cheese, cream, butter, olive oil, herbs, spices.
Sub-optimal (Eat with care, enjoy the tastes):
Moderate amounts of all other non root tuberous vegetables (peas & corn are not vegetables, they are beans & grains respectively), veg from the onion & garlic family, seeds, nuts (peanuts & cashews are beans), berry fruits (inc tomatoes.)
Little bits of non potato roots (swede, turnip, sweet potato, carrots etc), 70% dark chocolate, cocoa powder, red wine. Beans are a borderline case, extra care advised.
Non-Optimal (really not good for the body, enjoyed without guilt once in a blue moon, if at all):
Sugar, all grains (rice, bread, pasta, cake, biscuits, crackers) & white potatoes.
However, even if you don’t agree with me on the above, there are still a few factors that I’m sure that we can agree on.
Choose and prepare actual food.
This is really a cornerstone of self-care. And usually, knocking up a nutritionally valid meal takes just as long as one that is devoid of nutrient value. Why stint yourself? It takes me 15-20 mins to prep and cook most of the meals I eat, and I know exactly what went into every mouthful I then take.If you are choosing “ready-meals” (let’s face it, everyone does once in a while!) a good thing to bear in mind is the ingredient list – Does it have ingredients in it that you wouldn’t cook with/couldn’t find as a home cook?
Check that label, 6 ingredients or less is a good start. If there are more, ensure that these ingredients that are not chemical “Fillers” “Flavours” or “Enhancers”
Never choose “diet” products – They are usually sugar and chemical laden monstrosities!
Look at the ingredients for two well known brands of “Diet shake” (low-fat then low-carb)
Atkins Ready To Drink Vanilla Shake 330Ml
Ingredients: Water, Dairy Protein Blend (Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate), Sunflower Oil, Stabilisers (Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan, Potassium Phosphate), Acidity Regulator (Potassium Citrate), Flavourings, Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame-K), Salt, Colour (Riboflavin)
I am sure you will agree with me, neither of these are at all real food… Consuming these types of product do no honour to your body at all. Remember, Crap in=Crap out!
Make time to eat, and eat mindfully and conscientiously.
Eating food is something that most of us tend to “fit in” to a busy life – we grab a quick sandwich between meetings, or mindlessly grab “something” to eat whilst doing other things. We also graze on “snacks” as we work or watch telly… And again, none of this values your body.
Eating mindlessly means that you are not paying attention to the signals your body will send you about being satisfied. Grazing especially, where you are constantly chewing and “topping up” your stomach, and hence suppressing natural signals, is not at all how we evolved to eat.
Myself, I always ensure that I take my lunch break and take my time over eating. I’m slightly less mindful than I might be, in that I read my book whilst I eat. However, taking that break from my day re-energises my brain for a good afternoon of productivity!
When I cook my dinner, I enjoy eating it. Again, I’m generally watching something as I eat, but I’m also taking my time and enjoying my food, and not just stuffing it into my face as fast as I can.Thinking about what I’m eating also allows me to listen to my stomach – if I’ve cooked too much, I’ll know it. I will then stop (no fake imperative to “clean the plate” for me!) and (generally) fridge what I’ve left over, for consumption later or more often the next day.
So, my challenge for this week: At work next week, when you eat lunch, do nothing but eat lunch. For the period that your food lasts; no books, no chatter and definitely no work! Enjoy the food, and indulge in the sensations it gives. Revel in how it tastes, it’s smell, how it feels in your mouth. After you finish eating, read a book for the rest of your lunch hour, or if your lunch room is more social, chat with colleagues about anything but your day-job – do not dash back to your work. Take time to breathe and digest.
Commit to doing this at least once next week and leave me a comment below about how this experiment works for you, and especially how it feels, even if those feelings are negative. Because negatives are as valid as positives for self-learning, as all “feels” are generated by the Limbic brain in the now. Then, we can start working on connecting those dots!
One of Resistance‘s biggest allies is our fear of “doing it wrong”; In western culture (and a couple of others also, most notably Japan), we are taught from the get go that everything has to be perfect at first creation, and that failure is something to be avoided at all costs.
Thinking mindfully however, where we learn that All life experiences teach you, these days I’m not afraid to fail. Some of the best things I’ve learned in life have been through monumental cock-ups.
For instance, in my day-job, in my early days of working with Group Policy Admin, I learned how the system worked through a huge error – I didn’t realise that unless you saved the policy work done a certain way, the system didn’t retain the security filters placed on it – and so I hid everyone’s C:\ drive, rather than just the C:\ of the intended group of computers.
This mistake was easily undone, and the cock-up I made here, along with the lesson I learned from making it, saved me from doing something with the system at some point down the line that would have been an million times worse!
I have a very healthy attitude to failure now – I approach all things in a state of playfulness – which is the state that the limbic brain likes the best. Yes, making mistakes is disruptive, so learning, testing and planning before hitting the go button is the way I do things now, knowing that I have the skills to ensure success, so it will probably be OK, but also knowing that if I do break it, I also very much have the capability to fix it again.
It’s that pushing through to ensure that things do work out OK if they do go wrong that is the key. For instance, as an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked him, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
There is also another dimension to ‘You can’t do it wrong’ however, which is all about second guessing oneself. This is more the “will I make the wrong choice” type of doing it wrong than anything else – and it’s again firmly rooted in resistance as your amygdala feeds past experience feeling/memory into your current choice giving fear for the future outcome.
Combating that one is a mixture of being present in the now and trusting your gut feeling to instinctively make the right choice. A choice made in the now will always be the right one, as you will have collected enough information about the issue for your subconcious to know what is right, even if your concious mind hasn’t caught up yet. You just need to be still and listen to yourself.
However, listening to the fear feedback loop caused by your amygdala’s need for stasis will lead to procrastination and inaction. Unfortunately, your Amygdala has a loud voice, and so learning how to reach past that and get out of your own way whilst making a choice is an art in itself.
If you think it all sounds like a great deal of effort, you are not wrong. And Resistance will try and make you not learn the skill at every turn. It is well worth being persistent however, and even though it took me a couple of years to even begin to get the trick of getting out of my own way, learn to find the quiet in the now and make that choice, the only time I ever receive a bad outcome is when I’ve second guessed myself. I’m still on the journey with this one, but every time I practise the skill, the easier it is to exercise it. And life is just so much easier as a result!
Are you ready to join me? Make a commitment now to be present. Leave me a comment below about your experiences in this area, and we can start working on connecting those dots.
The brain is a funny thing – I know that you are here, reading this, because in some way, you want to improve yourself. I’m here writing it because I want to do the same, improve myself and our world by shining a light to help others improve themselves and the world around them.
But we all suffer from “Resistance” – the negative force inside all of us that wants to maintain the status quo, wants to not “feel the fear” but to “stay safe” and to hide away from change and growth. Because change could harm us right? Best not do that then, just stay here in our nice little world and be secure, even if we rationally hate it and want, even need to change it…
The need to “stay safe” comes direct from the Amygdala, AKA the “reptile” brain, which operates as a part of the Limbic brain, but at an even lower level – Evolutionary studies show that this is the part of the brain system that we have now that evolved first. One of its jobs is to be in charge of the part of “fight or fight” (our instinctual decision making and emotional response) that is based on previous emotional memory patterns.
So, why is our learning to discern when this little nugget of our brain is activated important to our progress? When the Amygdala is activated, it makes our gut feelings on something not quite so trustworthy as usual, as it is basing its reaction on past emotional memory patterns, usually formed when we are very young.
Like the limbic brain, it has no language or sense of time, it acts in the now to keep us alive and safe, and will always point towards short term satisfaction and pleasure over long term gain. (As an aside, it’s also the part of your brain responsible for weird and irrational snap decisions around instant gratification – that sweet sticky doughnut you ate cos it tastes nice, or those lovely new shoes that you have no idea why you bought for instance! Marketers play heavily to this instinctual behaviours as they lay out shops, they know how to make your Amygdala give you a short term gain “happy”!)
This “short term view” can make us freeze in our tracks or even run away when a “big unknown” comes up; something that we’ve never encountered before may well be harmful! This can very much rob us of the want to act for our own greater good. Where the Neocortex knows that progress towards “a long term change towards greater good” will improve us and our world, the Amygdala puts up “stay safe, be happy in your now, don’t change” signals.
Nite that when the Amygdala signals, these are taken by the brain as a whole to be the appropriate reaction response to the situation – Limbic reacts faster than rational Neocortex. And so the Neocortex gets overruled and we feel Resistance.
Resistance takes many shapes: fear, self-doubt, procrastination, distraction, addiction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing and perfectionism, to name a few. I’m sure that you’ve feel these come up in your lives, I know I have in mine! (Procrastination is the main way my resistance shows itself. I’ve learned ways to turn it to my advantage, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!)
Knowledge is power however, now you know why you are feeling resistance, and because we can actively gauge and use the strength of the Resistance we feel against “the good thing that we want to do” we can use that as a compass.
After all, as Steve Pressman says in “Do the work”: Resistance wants us to not move away from our current state of mind; it’s a negative, repelling force. It will outright lie to us, fabricate reason after reason for us not to act, and cajole, seduce or bully us into not moving forward.
However, Resistance, being negative, is always lying, and it is totally full of bullshit.
The fact that resistance is always a liar means that when we are feeling the most resistance to an new idea or change, that is when we most need to act, using the feelings of resistance to guide us towards the calling or purpose that we know that we must follow. The more important that work is to us, however much we want to achieve our goals towards “greater good”, as the “greater good” grows so does the resistance we will feel towards our perusing them.
The work (your ideas, dreams and goals) can be anything: Writing a book, dropping your excess body fat, lifting weights to gain muscle, learning how something works so that you are more able to support yourself in using it, designing and launching a website to share your ideas, painting, creating or drawing something and then showing it to people or embarking on a 6-month around the world adventure – all these things have long-term gain for the good in common. They all pretty much require short-term pain of some form: planning, organising, potential financial shortfalls or simple courage of convictions to press on.
There are a few ways to combat the Amygdala, and so, armed with this new knowledge, what are you feeling resistance against doing in your life? What goal in your life are you procrastinating around doing, or fussing over “because it has to be perfect”? Leave me a comment below about what your resisting, and we can start working on connecting those dots.
When I was in my teens and early twenties, I never kept a diary/calendar and I remembered all the phone numbers that I needed (about 20 at that point in my life). I prided myself on remembering everything I needed rather than having to write it down. (I learned the periodic table, both order and atomic number/weights for instance)
Whilst my memory is still something I take a pride in, and I’m well known as having “the elephant brain” in my team (I remember everything I do generally, and when prompted, can easily recall detail level (or where to look to get it), I acknowledge that life back them was rather more simple in terms of happenings and events than it is now.
Ironically, but unsurprisingly, one thing I was never good at when I was younger was being on time or prepared for things. Although I knew where I was supposed to be, I never planned enough time to get everything done before arriving. I never honoured the space that appointments take, and I realise now that this is because I didn’t schedule anything.
I now live and die by my Google Calendar. It’s awash with colour-coded goodness and copious event notes. I now know where I need to be and when, what I need to do to prepare, I get it to send me text messages to prompt me and can therefore show up fully committed and raring to go!
For instance, I’m a B-School Alumni from 2011, but this is the first year I’ve done the entire course. Previously the time I needed to commit was just swamped in the tide of life & I faded out after the first week. So why success this year? Because I scheduled it! I carved out the time to do it in my GCal, told my partners that I was “DND”during this time and therefore I was fully engaged in the process.
Recently, I’ve also been popping in physical things that I want to achieve/own as well as the things I need to do/places I am planning to be at.
If it’s in my schedule, I will put time and effort into making it happen.
I’ve given my brain permission to act on an external ordered list, rather than juggle and procrastinate over an internal mess.
By reducing that internal mess, I gain clarity, and so actually have space to get other “to-do” tasks done along side my scheduled events! I’ve finally found a round tuit 😉
Also, by making space in my life for “a thing”, I tell my limbic brain and so the universe that I’m open to receiving said thing. Being open to receive means that either “the thing” will just turn up, or the means to obtain “the thing” will happen in my life.
So, have I inspired you? I know that I inspired myself and I’ll be carrying on in this theme next week; as I wrote this piece, another ‘blog post focusing specifically on Money Scheduling fell out of my brain and onto the page as well! *new post, cut-paste*
Meanwhile, take action today & get your schedule out of your head and either write it down or GCal it. Come back and leave me a comment below about what you are “scheduling to reality” around, then we can start working toward connecting those dots.
I feel that finding your particular creative “thing” is very important – because creating is all about focusing in the now.
Being creative talks directly to your Limbic brain. This the part of your brain that has no language, no sense of time, and can put no context to anything you experience. It’s where your gut reactions, your “feels” originate.
When you say “That doesn’t feel right, but I don’t know why” about something, that’s your Neocortex (or Rational/Cognative brain) trying to rationalise and contextualise the emotion being passed to it by your limbic brain in that moment – and failing. Because you can’t rationalise gut feelings. They just are.
The Limbic brain responds to images, colours, smells and textures – It’s working with the information your senses provide it in that moment, and only in that moment. Which is why mindful/positive thinking and creativity are so powerful.
The limbic brain responds to creativity by producing a state of happiness, a “this feels right” vibe – As a result, these positive vibes translate into your “this is how life is now” vibes, rippling and manifest themselves through your whole life.
By doing your chosen act of creativity – painting, cooking, dyeing, knitting, origami, bonsai, decoupage, etc. etc. – you are being fully committed to the moment. Consequently, this creates “good feels” in your Limbic brain. Which ripple wonderfully out into your life.
Me? I get my creative on by dyeing and by knitting. I love playing with colour, feeling the textures of the fibres, creating wearable art.
So, how do you get creative? Has my video peeked your interest? Do you now want to throw colour at things? Or do you get your art on in a totally different way to me? Leave me a comment below and we can start working toward connecting those dots.