Transform your critical self, transform your life-Part 1
“My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone.” —-Anne Lamott
Pretty much sums it up, right?
It’s exhausting sometimes listening to my mind. She can be quite harsh, let me tell ya’!
If you’re human, you can relate. The most critical voice in your life is usually your own.
Changing this voice is critical.
All of your cells are listening…All darn day.
Let me lay out the science for you. Believe you me, this isn’t any woo-woo talk. (Even though I can get down with woo-woo any day of the week!)
Consider the placebo effect. This is where in carefully designed studies, researchers use a control, “neutral” test like a sugar pill for example to compare the effects of a treatment to doing “nothing” so to speak.
Here’s the thing. Placebo has shown to be at least 30% effective across studies. At least 30% effect for “doing nothing,” and why?
‘Cause there’s no such thing as doing nothing, my friend. If you think you are taking a medication that will help, this thought is enough to drive biochemical and cellular change.
Think about that. I’m going to say it again in a different way because this is so BIG, my friend. So big.
If you think you are going to get better, you have a good chance of getting better with no perceived intervention at all. Aah, but that’s where the secret is…
The intervention is your hope and optimism, your thoughts.
The field of epigenetics teaches us that our health is determined by how we live, by how we think. Consider the neurochemical cascade that occurs when we practice gratitude. We secrete dopamine and serotonin that make us feel good. We secrete oxytocin that helps us connect to others.
How we think shifts our biochemistry.
In fact, one study showed that six weeks of gratitude journaling improved left ventricular function in individuals with congestive heart failure! Ok, think about that, practicing gratitude made their hearts pump stronger and better!
This is no joke, what we tell our cells about our lives impacts how they function.
Why would you doubt that thinking negatively about ourselves would not shift your biochemistry in the opposite direction?
So, if you believe in preventive medicine, in exercising and eating right as ways to be healthier, consider this. How you think, matters.
Some have called it the “Immunology of Joy” which I love. And if you read Candace Pert’s groundbreaking classic work, The Molecules of Emotion, you can geek out all day about how this science can shift your entire being.
And the best part? Changing your thoughts is free. No gym, no fancy nutrition plan, just good old you and your thoughts alone to work it out.
It’s estimated that you have up to 60000 thoughts a day and that more than 80% of them are negative! I would take a guess that the majority of those are negative thoughts about yourself even though I’ve never seen an estimate of that.
So, I need you to join me in this health revolution!
I need you to do the most radical self-care and preventive medicine there is!
Change your thoughts and you can rewrite your story.
And when you rewrite your story, you bathe your cells in a new kind of medicine…a medicine of love, hope and faith.
So let’s get to it, you ask?!
Alright, this is gonna take a bit of work so I’m dishing this out over a few weeks. I really want you to soak in this process and have it stick in a new way.
First step? Good ol’ noticing (If I was being more fancy and needed to impress you, I’d call it mindfulness.) Pick your language, it’s the same darn thing.
#1 This first week, your job is to just notice your thoughts.
Yep, just take note of them. ‘Cause the truth is that we can’t work on this until you notice this.
Notice them and accept they’re happening. It’s like managing an addiction. The first step is acceptance there’s a problem.
Let me let you in on a BIG BIG secret: You don’t have to listen to or believe all of your thoughts. THey’re just thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s why you start by just noticing them. And the more you notice them, the more you realize they’re not you!
You don’t have to go off into a spiral in response to your thoughts (although I know how easy that is). You just need to notice they’re there. Deal?
#2 The next step is to start reframing your relationship to these thoughts.
So, do me a favor. Everytime you hear your critical voice, take an intentional breath and imagine breathing in love and compassion to your heart and mind for that voice. She’s going to need it as we work on this. But more importantly, you’re rewiring your response to these thoughts. Instead of listening to them or getting upset you’re having them, send love to them. Like you would to a friend in need.
Trust me on this one. This step may be the most critical.
Step#3: Repeat #1 and #2 all day.
I know, this can sound hard but trust me, it’s harder to live with that mean girl voice. Next week, we’'ll dive into some practical tools but this foundation is so so important that we’re not going anywhere yet.
Get ready for the next few weeks, it’s gonna be good!