Rewiring our plastic brains to get rid of nasty self-talk
Recently I talked about that critical and limiting inner script many of us have running in our heads. The voice that reminds us we're not 'enough' in some way. Not slim enough, tall enough, young enough, old enough, bright enough, funny enough, sociable enough, intellectual enough. And on and on!
This video by Ruby Wax has some interesting insights on the topic, if you fancy a watch?
In particular I liked her point that we ALL have a mean voice inside our heads, and her observation that none of us have an inner commentary saying ‘I’m doing a wonderful job, and by the way, may I tell you how attractive you look today!?’
Rewiring our brain
Her humour might not be everyone’s cup of tea (but it is mine) and irrespective of this I think she does a fantastic job of demystifying mindfulness. She also does a great job of explaining ‘neuroplasticity’, or the notion that we can change our brain’s structure.
In relation to neuroplasticity, research is revealing that it is possible to break out of negative ‘brain habits’ or thinking patterns if we keep making an active decision to
Notice the script (rather than react to it, or run away from it). At this point it’s important not to judge or criticise the script, but just to accept it for what it is.
Establish an ‘anchor’ to root you in the present moment (rather than getting caught in a cycle of thoughts about the past or future)
Challenge the script
Consider whether you want to replace it with something else
Anchoring into the present moment
There’s some really useful information in the video about how when we ‘get into our bodies’, through focusing on one of our senses, it can anchor us in the present moment, which essentially gives us the space to choose our response. This is the essence of mindfulness. Even if the voice in our head persists, becoming aware of it through mindfulness (or in other words, just becoming fully here in the present moment) can offer us the choice about how to respond.
So my challenge to you today is, what negative thinking pattern would you like to break out of today and how are you going to start to do that? Which 'you're not .........enough' message are you done with?
I’d love to hear from you, so please post your feedback below. Sharing our stories can be really therapeutic, and also it's often super helpful to other people.
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