“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”
Welcome to my autumn blog. As promised this is a follow up to last month’s Happy Brain blog post exploring the 3’Ps – Positive Thoughts, Positive Actions and Positive Interactions.
Where does the time go?
At the moment I am experiencing a sense of “Where has this month gone?” For example, I had planned to write this blog at the beginning of the month but for some reason that has not happened! Does this resonate with you?
I’ve been thinking hard recently about how to make the most of each month, how to achieve my objectives and how to stop that feeling of “Oh where did all that time go?!”
I love this time of year, a time when I engross myself in new challenges – I’m training towards a half marathon next month, I’ve just began a new coaching course and I’m volunteering every Sunday at junior Parkrun, and cheering on my young daughter! I also had a wonderful experience this month delivering a Solution Focused Hypnotherapy workshop to the Redhill NHS Community Trust for Mental Health Awareness week.
Take the Brakes Off!
And, this weekend I indulged myself in two hours of spellbinding television, watching Eliud Kipchoge achieve one of the greatest athletic feats of all time. Becoming the first man to run a sub 2 hour marathon! This achievement is amazing, but very far away from the things that we are trying to achieve!
Kipchige’s motivation is extraordinary, but what resonated with me most was his hope of inspiring others to:
‘Take the brakes off their heads and believe the impossible is possible.’
As I said last month, a key question I always ask my new clients is ‘What do you do for you?’
- Do you have hobbies or interests?
- Do you exercise?
It’s amazing how many people struggle to answer this question!
The reasons of course make perfect sense. Busy lives with work and family commitments, and often health issues too. Some clients are not sure about what they could do “for themselves.” Their lives are so taken over by “busyness” that they’ve lost sight of ther own needs.
Positive Action – Taking You Beyond Positive Thinking
Over the years, I have become convinced of the benefits of positive thinking. And how we need to use it to overcome anxiety, low mood, confidence and motivation issues etc. Sometimes, however it’s just not enough to think positive and we need to go a step further and in Eliud Kipchoge’s words “take the brakes off our own heads” and start taking positive action.
Taking positive action means doing things that are good for you. Doing things that:
- Lift your mood
- Make you feel better about yourself
- Benefit your body
You don’t have to go out and break a world record but you can do something!
Positive Action – Your Rational Brain and Your Primitive Brain See It Differently!
Our brains work in a very complex manner but to understand it simply – we have two minds – rational and primitive. Each has a very different concept of what ‘positive action’ is.
The rational, decision-making part of your brain has intellect and an ability to see the bigger picture. It knows the rewards and benefits of going for a run, or going back to your dance class. It knows the advantages of clearing out the garden shed or getting your assignments in on time. And when we operate from this part of our brain we generally get a positive outcome.
The primitive part of our brain mind encourages procrastination. It doesn’t have intellect and it can’t see the bigger picture. Its role is all about survival and if you’re not taking positive action but still surviving your primitive mind will probably encourage you to continue in that way.
We all know that feeling of putting it off until tomorrow. And that’s when we find ourselves stuck in a rut.
Positive Action – Breaking the Cycle of Negativity and Inaction
So why are so many of us caught in a cycle of ‘I know what I should do but I’m still not doing it?’ And how can we break that pattern?
You have the power to break out of it! You simply need to make full use of your rational brain. You can tap into your rational mind, your brain’s ‘powerhouse’, and change your thoughts and your actions at any time.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What have you enjoyed?
- What are you good at?
- When you did have time for yourself, what did you do?
- What have you done in the past that proved to be useful or valuable?
- What have you always wanted to do but not had a chance to do…. yet?
- Can you do less of something else to allow time for something else instead?
Choose something, knowing that wanting to make a change in your life is the first step. Whether, it’s losing weight, starting a new career, achieving sporting success, forming new relationships or learning a new skill, you need to find a start point. And having made your choice take one positive action towards it.
The best part of my role as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist is seeing my clients take their first steps on their positive action journey. It can be a simple thing to start with – writing a CV, going for a walk at lunch time, taking a packed lunch to work, reading instead of watching TV.
Small Steps – Creating a Ripple Effect
It’s not just reaching a milestone that will change the way you feel. The process of getting there can be just as significant. Creating a ripple effect in the way you think and act.
Starting with a small positive action, and continuing to take small positive actions regularly, gradually becomes easier. Eventually, taking small positive actions becomes automatic, effortless. And we start to notice that we are more confident in our abilities and more positive in our outlook.
Our brains and bodies are constantly undergoing complex chemical processes. We can influence these processes by thinking and acting positively. Once we notice the benefits and rewards of positive thoughts and actions, it becomes easier to produce our ‘happy chemicals.’ Our experience changes from a sense of wasted time and failure to feeling confident and happy.
Take your first step towards a happier, more confident future today!