Think about the last time you watched a thriller where someone was being followed down a dark alley and you felt anxious and terrified even though you weren’t there and even though you knew it wasn’t real.
Think about the last time you had an unpleasant confrontation with someone and whilst replaying it to a friend or partner you experienced the same anxiety, the same anger that you felt at the time.
Did you know that your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined?
If you replay in your mind an unpleasant encounter, experience or memory you feel all of the same feelings that you did at the time.
And replaying something over and over in your mind creates habit in the same way as when you do it for real.
What if you could use this to your advantage?
What if you practiced (by starting to replay over and over in your mind) the habits that you want rather than the ones you don't?
Would you be interested to know how?
There is often a disconnection between what we consciously know we should be doing and our body automatically doing that old habit that we're trying to get rid of.
Take overeating for example,
Overeating because we’ve been taught not to waste food.
Finishing off food on other family members’ plates.
Stuffing biscuits down when we’re feeling stressed, lonely, bored, upset (because there was that one time it made us feel slightly better and our brain has remembered it).
And when it comes to trying to lose weight, our brains will eventually start to imagine ourselves doing these old habits because that's what it's used to and finds it easy to revert back.
One of the very best ways to break an old habit is to VIVIDLY imagine yourself doing what you want instead.
Here's an example of how it might go (imagine it as VIVIDLY as you can):
As each piece of food enters your mouth, you savour the taste and texture (this will allow yourself time to recognise when you've eaten enough to feel full and satisfied).
When you're full, you feel the knife and fork in your hands.
You set the knife and fork down on the plate and hear the 'clink' as the cutlery touches the plate.
You recognise that 'clink' as permission to leave food on the plate.
You can feel your hands as they grasp either side of the plate.
You pick up the plate and move towards the waste bin.
You use the knife and fork to scrape the leftover food in the bin.
You hear the uneaten food fall into the bin.
You feel calm.
You feel in control.
You are changing the habit.
You are teaching your brain what it is that you want instead.
Of course, this is just an example and the best changes will come from imagining a scenario, such as the one above, but in a way that is appropriate for a habit that YOU want to change.
The more time you spend imagining these new ways, new positive behaviours, the easier you will find that doing it for real comes naturally.
Go on! Just Imagine!
Click here to receive more advice, tools and techniques direct to your inbox