Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own

And What to do About It

Energy is REAL. 

 That can mean many things. And one of those is that we are always projecting information about ourselves whether we want to or not. Don’t believe me? Think this is woo woo? Check out this science website if you’re skeptical.

But let’s assume you go along with my claims. What does that mean about what you’re communicating? What private information do people glean from you that you are NOT saying? Think about it, it’s almost as if your mind is being read and that is not a situation any of us want.

 And the kicker is that we say worse things to our self than to anyone else. Negative self talk is rampant in all of us and it does absolutely no good for our self-image or the opinion others have of us. Not fair.

So, what can you do about all your negative self talk?

For one thing, begin to be more aware of what you are saying to yourself and stop it. Humans default to negativity because it’s a protective reaction from the primitive brain. You have to be ready in case there’s a saber-toothed tiger in the bush ahead, right?

When you catch that negative self talk in midair, change it by utilizing one of the exercises below. By doing that you will begin to break down your negative default. Will this leave you unprotected? No. There are plenty of other negatives which we are bombarded with daily. However, you will pull away from bringing yourself down and your self image will improve more and more. Believe me, people will notice that you are changing.

1) Bilateral Stimulation  

Here’s something you can do that’s so simple but so effective and works so well to calm a negative moment. It’s called Bilateral Stimulation.

When you become aware of negative self talk…

Say STOP! and put your hand out. Then shake your hands to get rid of it.

Now pass a ball, a water bottle or anything gripable back and forth and pass the midline for one minute. 

Stop. Take a deep breath. Check in.

Repeat until anxiety is diffused.

What we are doing is activating both hemispheres of the brain and spreading blood and electrical impulses throughout the brain and this floods that anxious area of association and diffuses it. 

This is so easy, quick and emerged from discoveries in neuroscience.

2) Assets You Have

Take a pad and list some of your learned skills and abilities; include people skills, personal charm, curiosity, desire for lifelong learning and other intangibles that you already have. Got it? Take 30 seconds.

Now also make a list of the things that may be currently holding you back. Just write them down. The action of writing them down dissociates you from them. You’re pulling these conflicts out of the unconscious mind and putting them on paper in front of you. These can be the mean things that you tell yourself all day. 

Simply looking at them objectively can often change your perspective. 

And changing perspective is one of the things that will help decrease negativity.

OK, 30 seconds again if needed.

3) The 17-Second Rule
It’s an exercise from Dr. Kelly Brogan. She’s a Psychiatrist who put down her prescription pad in 2010 and has had enormous success treating her patients using techniques like this. She wrote an amazing book called: Own Your Self.

This technique makes it easier to shift your thoughts when you’re in a negative head space. So once your thoughts are more positive, your emotions follow suit and your overall vibration starts lifting.

It takes practice, but once you have the hang of it, the 17-Second Rule can help you shift your mindset from one that blocks you from receiving what you want, to one that’s open to it.
You can use the 17-Second Rule mentally, by speaking aloud to yourself or someone else, or by writing it down.

The important point—and what makes it work—is not to contradict your positive thought during that 17 second period.

ACTION: Think of something wonderful that happened to you in your life at any age. Now keep track of the 17 seconds and focus on that thought, bring it to life again in bright color and think of details that make the memory more present. (Count 17 seconds on a watch)

4) Belly Breathing

It can be done anywhere and it always works to calm and bring your mind back to peace. I just wish I had known this when I was in college at exam time. There are many patterns people use but I happened to adapt the 4-2-7 technique. What that means is that you breathe into your belly for 4 seconds, hold 2, then slowly let out for 7. Use it when something upsets you during the day or for wanting to induce sleep. (belly breathing 4X)

Belly Breathing is something that you can easily take for granted but it can help clear your mind to think or drift into a peaceful sleep. 

5) Amy Cuddy – Power Posing

Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TED talk about body language is the second most popular ever.

Want some power? OK please stand up and I will show you what Amy Cuddy was talking about. Put your hands on your hips, feet apart Wonder Woman style and just let the hormonal changes flow through you. Feeling that testosterone? Part of the studies involved taking saliva samples so they could actually see a rise in testosterone. Hold for 2 minutes. Notice.

 Tiny tweaks – can lead to big changes. – Amy Cuddy

Jane Hernandez CCHT
Jane Hernandez CCHT

Jane Hernandez practices in El Cerrito and Mt. View, CA. After getting certified in hypnosis she learned EFT and teaches it to all her clients in the first session. Her interest in hypnosis and EFT has turned to helping women at midlife reorient their focus as career and family life changes.

Ready To Burst Your Bubble?

In 2014, Max Hawkins started an experiment that many people would find insane. At the time, Max lived in San Francisco and worked as a software engineer at Google. He got to eat wonderful food, drink artisanal coffee, and work in a place he loved, with interesting people and engaging projects that challenged his creativity. And then, one day, Max was hit by a thought. He realized that we live in loops and habits, and we continue to run those loops and structure our lives around what came before. Max was living in a reality bubble, and every repetition of what he’d done before reinforced that bubble’s edges. It had been a great bubble, but the awareness of it, for Max, began to feel confining, stifling. It was time for a change.

Max used Facebook’s Graph Search feature to seek out public activities that had been posted in San Francisco, whether those were business meeting, social meetups, classes, or parties. He used his computer knowledge to build an app that would randomly select an item from the list of events pulled from Graph Search, and wherever the app said, he would go. The selections were truly random, in that the app was not coded to prefer one event over another, or one group over another. Max found himself at networking events for Russian young professionals, acro yoga, salsa dancing, open houses, a breakfast club for gay and bisexual men in Iowa. At every event, he knew no one present, and when asked how he found that event, he told his story. Sometimes he was met with confusion, but more often with amusement and delight. That first Christmas, Max did not go home to visit with family, but found welcome with strangers, singing holiday songs. One of the random places the app sent him to was a bar in an industrial neighborhood, where there was a decidedly hostile atmosphere. Nonplussed, Max began speaking with one of the patrons about casual topics, like music and relationships. An hour and a half later, Max had a new friend, and invitation to hang out if he found himself in the area again. 

In leaving his reality bubble behind, Max was able to find new experiences and encounters with others that challenged and stretched his ways of thinking, the habits that had run him into a rut. If you find yourself on a new patch of ground, with no pathways carved into it, it becomes easier to avoid the patterns that ran you into learning problems in the past. Now, you don’t need a fancy application to manage your life, telling you where to eat, sleep, or live. You can begin to extend the boundaries of your bubble by breaking those rigid habits and routines. Where is a restaurant you would never normally go? Or a class you wouldn’t normally take? Success breeds success, and the act of intentionally breaking those patterns, habits, beliefs will tune your mind to find new ways to approach old problems.

What opportunities will I find awaiting me by taking just a half step outside my bubble? 

Elizabeth Oing
Elizabeth Oing

The guest author of this blog, Elizabeth Oing, uses principles and techniques from mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis, story-telling, NLP, and other influences to help teens and adults shape their lives by changing personal mindsets. She is located in San Jose, CA and coaches online with people all over the world.

Rain

by Angela Brooks-Reese

Inspired by Morty Lefkoe & Byron Katie

When you are reading a book, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

When you are a farmer during drought, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

When you are having an outdoor wedding, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

How does the rain MAKE you feel?  

Can the rain MAKE you feel?  How exactly does it, does it grab your lips and pull them up or down?  Does it reach into your heart and warm it or make it cold?  Does it reach into that invisible place of feelings and stir it around?

If the rain can’t MAKE you feel…  Then who or what DOES MAKE you feel?

When you are reading a book are you ignoring the rain, not thinking about it at all?  Does it not like you?  Does it think bad things about you for ignoring it?  Why are you ignoring the rain like that?  How could you?

Can you MAKE the rain feel?

When you are a farmer needing rain, and it MAKES you happy, is the rain doing you a favor?  Does the rain like you better than others?  Is the rain showing its approval of you?

When you are having an outdoor wedding, is the rain out to get you?  Does it have something against you?  Is it plotting against you?

Is the rain doing anything at all to MAKE you feel?  Is the rain MAKING you feel a certain way?  Can the rain actually MAKE you feel anything at all?

Or is the rain just doing what rain does… rain?  

And are you just doing what people do before they realize they have a choice?  Making meanings out of absolutely everything, even when they don’t have to.  And before they know there is almost always more than one explanation of what they are interpreting to be the TRUTH?  

Maybe it IS truth.  Maybe it is FALSE.  If thinking it causes you to feel bad, then why not CHOOSE to think something that causes you feel good?  

If you CAN’T KNOW for sure you are right, then be right about what works best for you without consideration of GUESSING what is going on inside another person when they are just doing what they do, like rain, irrespective of you.  

You can’t MAKE them act a certain way, they CHOOSE to act a certain way.  How they act, they act. Whether it’s with you or someone or something else.  How they act has NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with them and you CAN’T guess or CHANGE what that is.  

You can only work with WHAT IS.  You observe a behavior, an action or an event and then you CHOOSE how you will interpret and respond to it KNOWING that those things have nothing to do with you and all you KNOW for CERTAIN is what you OBSERVED (without meaning). 

Someone stood up.  Someone looked at you.  Someone didn’t look at you.  Someone said words while looking in your direction.  Someone said words while looking in another direction.

And isn’t that interesting?  

And isn’t it wonderful that you can choose how and IF you respond to any of these things because you realize you have a rainbow of choices, and you have the CHOICE to choose anything which creates a feeling inside of you that works FOR you.  

Maybe that feeling is not to be around that person.  Maybe that feeling is create a different interpretation.  Maybe that feeling is curiosity.  You get to choose.  

Not out of spite (which is a reaction to an interpretation), but simply because it makes you feel good about you, having to do with the event, behavior or action that you happened to witness and can’t really KNOW.  

Can you choose how you respond to a sunrise, or a thunderstorm?  Aren’t we all really just a force of nature, just like the sunrise or the thunderstorm?  Can’t we see a person as a flower blooming… or as a tornado careening?  Maybe we can stand and observe, get closer or maybe we need to seek protection, but we don’t take any of it personally.  A sunrise, flower, thunderstorm, tornado or person will do what they do.  With us or without us.  We don’t MAKE them feel anything and they don’t MAKE us feel anything.  It’s always a choice.  

We may choose to enjoy their company and they may choose to enjoy ours.  Or not.

Some times we are afraid to release a long held belief because it creates a vacuum.  If that is gone, what will we replace it with?  Don’t I need to protect myself from getting hurt?  

When you are remembering something after it is over and choosing to feel “hurt” by it… WHO is hurting you?  

At the moment something is said or done, you can realize you are interpreting an action, behavior or event on the spot.  In that moment you CAN make a choice.  Does this action, behavior or event REALLY have anything to do with me?  Is there any point in involving myself in it?  Would I like to stay or like when a tornado is coming, should I seek protection? It is going to happen whether I am here or not so I respond sensibly for what seems right to me. I GET to make that choice.

Nothing personal.

What would Byron Katie do right now?  Is it true?  Can you absolutely know that it’s true?  How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?  Who would you be without the thought? Turn the thought around.  

What can I choose instead?

What power that gives us over our own lives and the peace therein.

Old habits formed just because “That’s the way I have always done it” don’t mean that those old habits are right for you anymore.  We can outgrow an unwanted habit and change it.

If you can trust that, even though you don’t know what that change is going to look like yet, you may just find your answer to the question about how to enjoy your new found freedom.

“Byron Kathleen Reid became severely depressed while in her thirties. Over a ten-year period her depression deepened, and for the last two years Katie (as she is called) was seldom able to leave her bedroom. Then one morning, from the depths of despair, she experienced a life-changing realization. Katie saw that when she believed her thoughts she suffered, and that when she didn’t believe her thoughts she didn’t suffer. What had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but what she believed about the world around her. In a flash of insight, she saw that our attempt to find happiness was backward—instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match our thoughts about how it “should” be, we can question these thoughts and, by meeting reality as it is, experience unimaginable freedom and joy. As a result, a bedridden, suicidal woman became filled with love for everything life brings.”

The Work of Byron Katie

“The Work” of Byron Katie is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It is a way to find peace with yourself and with the world. Anyone with an open mind can do this Work. 

Link to “The Work” worksheet:

https://thework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/obaat_en_mod_6feb2019-r.pdf

Enjoy the Rain!

Enjoy the Rain!

Blog Posts

The Healing Journey of Gratitude

by Angela Brooks-Reese

My friend Dougie sent me the article linked below and I am sharing it because the article and especially the excellent links it includes are pure gold in my opinion.

Almost 20 years ago I lost everything, at 36 years old I lost my family, my home, my cars, I lost my business and buried deeply in debt, I lost my pride (the “what will the neighbors think” type of pride).

I was completely lost for awhile to a crippling depression that left me in a pit so deep I couldn’t see daylight. I finally consented to anti-depressants (effexor) for about 6 months because I could literally no longer function. I couldn’t make myself get up to take a shower so I could go to work. My body completely rebelled and I felt like a steamroller had gone over the top of me leaving me flat in the road after struggling for 2 years to try to save everything.

One of the most important tools to my recovery was gratitude. I saw nothing to be grateful for at first. Sometimes I had to mouth the words with no feeling behind them. I dutifully wrote at least 3 things to be grateful for each night, even if it was as simple as ‘I’m grateful I breathed today’, not really meaning it.

Somewhere along the way something started to change.

At first I noticed the medicine was helping because I started taking a shower again. I slowly found myself coming back to life. After 3 months I was ready to go back to work and discovered that going off the meds was not as easy as going on them. I gradually decreased the dosage until I was free of the pills but everything still felt so flat. I felt like I was wading in cement to get through my days.

I continued the gratitude journal and discovered that as it became a habit, it was starting to get easier and I was finding more to write about. I started writing paragraphs instead of short sentences. Even through the depression (lighter now but still there) I began to notice the beauty around me, looking for things to include in my journal.

Today it is simply a way of life, I find the joy in everything around me, I am so grateful every day for the incredible life I have.

It is actually horrifying to think I almost ended it, I would have missed so much and it is so sad to remember at the time it felt like it was easier than trying to move forward. Everything just seemed so damn hard.

10 years ago, everybodies world was turned upside down and all around me people were losing everything when the economy tanked in Nevada.

This is when the deepest gratitude kicked in. The gratitude for what I had experienced 10 years earlier.

I completely understood how lost these people felt and by this time I was doing well, I owned a business, owned my home and drove a nice car so I could also offer hope for them. I was able to use my experience to help people understand they were not alone and they would recover from their losses. I knew that the shame and feeling alone were the worst part of the experience so I could honestly relate and give people hope from a perspective I never would have been able to had I not been there myself.

It took years for all of the depression to leave and I am not sure when it finally left for good because the funny thing about losing something so negative is that you don’t notice it’s gone until something draws your attention to it. Then you look back, scratch your head and wonder when it disappeared completely!

Here is the link to a fantastic article, be sure to look at the linked articles (there are 4 of them):


Trauma – It May Not be as Traumatic as You Think

Transformation Hypnosis – Angela Brooks-Reese

Definition of Trauma: The PERCEPTION of threat while in a state of HELPLESSNESS.

-Wendie Webber

Using this definition to understand the emotional impact of where a child develops beliefs makes you realize that to a child there are many traumatic experiences that an adult wouldn’t even blink at. We think we are looking for the big, bad Monsters (and sometimes we are) but most often instead begin to understand that it is things that as an adult, we would consider ordinary. We forget that the adult has experience to draw from and for a child this is a total surprise and they have no reference point to understand it, or the mental capacity to interpret it.

For instance when the giants you rely on to survive leave you in the care of a strange giant (that just might eat you for all you know) it can be traumatic to the child’s mind. The child might believe he is abandoned and may die based on his instinctual response. These are the strange things that form our beliefs and cement into our truths with no real understanding of where they were formed.

Marissa Peers tells the perfect story to put this in perspective. A businessman came to her for help to discover why he kept failing at business on his own. He had been VERY successful in several partnerships and was well versed in running a business. Yet he kept failing on his own.

She regressed him to his childhood and discovered that when he got his first bike his father had taken him out to the driveway to try it out. It was a beautiful day, all the neighbors were out and his father started chatting with one of them. He was impatient to try his bike so he got on and crashed at the bottom of the driveway. Everybody came running and several voices including his father were all standing around him yelling “Are you alright?” “You could have killed yourself!” “What were you thinking trying that ALONE?” ” NEVER, NEVER try something like that on your own, wait until you have someone to help you!!” All these giants circling an extremely embarrassed and frightened kid telling him to “Always wait for help, NEVER do new things on YOUR OWN!” Now you can imagine these adults never thought twice about any of this, they were scared he had hurt himself so I imagine they might have been yelling in their fear for him. They certainly wanted to make sure he didn’t try to ride his bike without help, I think they succeeded far more than they realized. Far more than the child realized. The subconscious, who’s job it is to protect him, took every word literally and created a belief that turned into his truth. As an adult he had no idea why he “couldn’t” do things on his own.

He had experienced a strong emotional response (embarrassment/fear) to a perceived threat (was he going to die from his injuries?/giants surrounding him yelling) in a state of helplessness (he was laying on the ground trapped by his bike). All the components were there: new, surprise/shock, fear, helplessness.

His response to this revelation? Are you kidding me??? That’s it???? He was a little pissed that something so SEEMINGLY insignificant had so strongly altered the course of his life!