Change Is Easier Than You Think
(Please Note: this exercise should be carried out when in a safe relaxing space with a few moments to yourself and one that does not require your concentration and attention)
Did you know ...
...you already have everything inside you that you need to succeed!
Now it's time to use it ...
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 even 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.
Your unconscious 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 that keeps coming back into your mind, your unconscious mind doesn't know that it's not really happening at that time so, you feel all of the same feelings that you did when it was actually real.
Now, imagine that you could turn this around and have this work to your advantage.
Whatever you can imagine, your unconscious mind thinks that this is what you want to happen and therefore goes about to make it a reality.
So, think for a moment about what you want to change.
Is there an aspect of your life where you would like to be more confident? Perhaps this is in your job. Maybe you find socialising quite overwhelming and would like to feel calmer, more in control. Or maybe you're a parent and want to feel less triggered by a child's behaviour and respond in a calm and controlled way.
Whatever it is that is important in your life and you want to react differently that is what you can base this exercise on.
Just some considerations first:
Remember that this is about you, about your response.
If you imagine a usually rude work colleague instead being kind and speaking respectfully or you imagine your teenager not giving the usual backchat then this would be their response you are trying to control.
The only control we have is over our own response to a situation.
Also, it must be realistic.
If you want to change how you usually feel in social situations and instead of feeling anxious you imagine becoming the life and soul of the party then that might not be a realistic change and your unconscious mind may not accept this. Of course, it is possible you can progress onto this but take one step at a time. For example, first imagine feeling calm and easily making conversation with people at the party.
Now, imagine that situation where you want to change.
Make it as clear and vivid in your mind as possible.
For the moment just allow all of the feelings that you would usually feel in that situation to come and notice whereabouts in your body the feeling is. It might be in your head, your stomach, your chest or somewhere else.
Just be there in that moment, as if the situation is playing out again and you're actually part of it.
Now, here is where the change happens.
Right at the point where you would have responded in that old way, pause for a moment.
Take a couple of deep breaths. Breath in for the count of 7, hold for a moment and breath out to the count of 11.
(You can read more about the 7/11 breathing technique here)
Now, imagine responding in the way you would prefer.
Make this new response even more vivid and real than that old behaviour.
Notice whereabouts in your body this new response is coming from, your head, your chest, your stomach or somewhere else and make this feeling more vivid.
Notice how much better it feels than that old behaviour.
Then just let that scene fade and take a moment to relax.
Practice this as much as possible.
Each time you practice this you will notice how much easier that new response comes to you.
Each time, you are showing your unconscious mind how you want to behave.
As you create these new positive behaviours you’re creating new neural pathways in your brain.
You’re literally showing your unconscious mind how you want to be.
You’re changing old habits for new ones and believe me, your unconscious mind is only too happy to oblige.