As part of my ongoing personal development, I regularly listen to the free Chopra Meditation Series (link). Last month, that coincided with my personal work on RELEASE (my WOTY – previous blog link) and reading a book on Journaling the Chakras (link). What a whirlwind of ideas! This blog post is the one of two that captures some of those ideas.
I have not blogged for a few weeks as the big-move details have taken a lot of mind-space. And now, with local recommendations on social-distancing shifting routines and creating anxiety, I think I need to focus on my own words here!
The recent Chopra Series reiterated the concept of mind-body connection. The messages in our minds become our reality! What we do, think and say influences our physical body; negative begets negative and positive begets positive. Anxiety, fear, and worry, even if only thinking about them, can negatively impact the body’s stress reactions. Self-limiting beliefs can prevent us from doing the things we think we want. As Henry Ford was known to have said:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Chopra encourages us to invite our minds to be an ally in releasing self-limiting beliefs and envisioning new self-empowering beliefs, thereby creating new pathways in the brain. He encourages us to use our minds to make life-affirming choices and thereby live more vibrantly. Basically, it is to embrace a positive mindset to enable a positive life.
How have I started to do this in reality? How am I thinking more positively? I actively monitor my self-talk.
In every moment, I have the choice on how to respond – positive messages to self, healthy responses to inputs. Becoming aware of my patterns of thought and behavior allows me to shift from self-limiting beliefs and negative responses to positive messaging and response I have learned that mindfulness of your own thinking is not that easy!
- It’s becoming aware of when I think ,“I can’t” or “I’m not” and flipping that with reality of “I have” or the belief that “I can/I am”. I took time to capture in my journal many of my self-limiting beliefs, how they began, what emotions they elicit, what value I gain by holding onto them, and whether they were really truth. [This was the approach I created in my Release Workbook.]
A great question I put to myself: “What real life experiences prove that these mental constructs (beliefs) are false? “ By making the self-limiting beliefs more concrete, it’s allowed me to become more aware of when I think them. Some of mine: I believe I’m not athletic, not a good friend, not creative, and was simply “lucky” in my career (not competent). I am not a “real” cancer survivor. I am not good enough in doing most anything, and I am not doing the “right” things for a retiree. Yeah, a few self-limiting beliefs!
I also created an “Authentic Me” statement and placed it in my daily journal to read on a regular basis. This statement incorporates descriptions of my strengths/talents, my new self-empowering belief statements, and elements of my retirement lifestyle vision.
- It’s noticing when small things start to frustrate me and consciously thinking, “I choose to release this frustration.” And, yes, sometimes I need to say that repeatedly and incorporate deep breathing.
- It’s also becoming aware of when I am doing the “Compare and Despair”, which is a form of societal expectation. It’s becoming aware of when I perceive criticism or judgment. Then after awareness comes saying to myself, “I have chosen the activities that are right for my life” or “I am hearing judgement when it is not really there.” As someone who lived her life “meeting or exceeding expectations”, this is a continual work in progress!
This shift into thinking positively is part of actively working on my WOTY – RELEASE. I have noticed a difference in myself of being more aware of my negative self-talk. I’ve found myself less likely to think or verbalize my self-limiting belief statements. I am doing the Compare & Despair less often. I’m more aware of the source of my anxiety and trying to mitigate my thinking (less planning of multiple scenarios).
I am more content every day…whether it’s a busy activity full day or a quiet contemplative reading day. And right now, that is helpful as there are many days of quiet contemplation ahead!
I’ve also become more aware of when others use negative self-talk as well. I am not sure yet what to do when I notice it. I think my being open and honest with my own approach is one way I’m dealing with it – perhaps others can utilize my approach on shifting their own self-limiting beliefs to self-empowering beliefs.