Reframe & Rewire
Life can change for you when you re-frame your approach to it. Those corny phrases like, “be positive," "don’t focus on the negative," or "it will pass, sound cliché but come from a fundamentally important perspective.
You choose what you focus on in life and how you interpret things
Easier said than done right. It takes small steps and it takes a lot of practice to rewire your brain to function in this way. Clients often ask how long it will take and I never give them a timeline because I don’t lie to my clients.
There is not an exact time that your brain will make the switch. Even after it generally does there will be times when it feels like less effort to fall back into old habits of thinking.
For example, focusing on what you don’t have versus what you do have. Obsessing over the idea of being happy as if it’s a permanent state one can reach. Allowing fear to keep you from doing what you know you are capable of.
Sure we know that there are a lot of physical steps we can take to feel better:
- Sleep Well
- Be apart of a community
- Make plans
- Eat foods that give us energy and nutrients
It’s hard to feel good mentally if you don’t feel good physically. Some would argue you couldn’t maximize either one without the other. So let's talk about three easy mental exercises you can do to achieve the emotional part:
1. Wake up in the morning and make the switch to a positive thought (not “shit I overslept" or "ugh another day”). Replace this thought with the idea that it’s a new day, new outlook and a new opportunity to succeed. A positive thought can even be looking forward to using your new coffee machine or heading out to your favorite coffee shop once you are dressed. So, don’t forget, one positive thought when you wake up, catch yourself if you begin to go into the negative and make the switch.
2. Self talk. We all do it, it’s just that most of the time it’s negative. Clients in the past have talked about “this voice” they constantly hear. It’s intrusive and negative and constantly makes one question their decisions and competence. Self-talk can be positive but this is where we must have self-compassion. Make a list of all the things you are good at and like about yourself.
For example, a client in the past said that one thing she likes about herself is that she has really supportive friends. So we added "good judge of character" to her list and that she protects/values her space with whom she lets in it. It was hard to make it about a positive thing about her instead of a positive thing just about her friends, but I think we all do that. Challenge your thought, “What does this say about me?” Recognize the positive qualities about yourself and be a champion for them. Your brain will eventually start doing it on it’s own, but you have to put in the work first.
3. Practice gratitude. This will help you focus on what you have and what is good. So much research out there now talks about the gratitude effect simply because it gets you focusing on what you already have. You feel better and over time your initial instinct will be to recognize the positive instead of what’s missing.
I promise, it works.
Once you practice these exercises enough your brain will make a mental shift and it will start to happen naturally. You will attract more good in your life and create more space for it. You will notice one day that your brain is effortlessly practicing these things and that you have felt better and happier.
You will make the connection and it will feel good!
For some great tips and research on gratitude reference This Harvard Medical School article: