Let me introduce you to the amygdala - two almond shape sets of neurons within each side of our brain. The brain which is wired to respond more strongly to negative thoughts, two thirds in fact. It’s a hangover from the primal development of our species when we were essentially learning to survive as early man. Alas we learn more quickly through pain than pleasure. In today’s world we can become stuck in running repeating negative thought patterns, because in theory they keep us alive. Or they used to when we dealing with impending doom on a daily basis and foraging for survival. Not quite the same as a lunchtime trip to your local deli or high street.
Add to this propensity for negative chatter that we only use 4-5% of our mind and we can begin to understand why sometimes it can feel like we’re having a very difficult day or phase. We now know a couple of key things - we are predisposed for negative thought and we have 96% of untapped subconscious resource to play with. Illuminating, right?
When we understand we have a brain wired for survival our own behaviours can begin to make more sense. Mastering the mind is possible. Today we want to encourage a reframe, what would life be like if I learned how to work with my available subconscious? What would be possible if I could shift my mind chatter to reframe my feelings, thoughts and actions towards myself and others, my choices, my decisions? What would that be like?
Running a series of negative self talk is a habit and this self talk scuttles through our brain. Enter ego gleefully clutching said messages and we begin to see why we might spend time feeling disconnected, anxious, sad or lost. As if we’re not in control of ourselves. Growth can be uncomfortable especially if you don’t have tools to help you out. We can say positive mantras and write gratitude journals till the next year passes, but the truth is - you and I, we’re all ready for an upeveled approach to evolving and that’s going to take a little more discipline and boldness. We’re going to have to get to know our subconscious habits and transform them into conscious choices.
A small step towards mastering more of your own mind begins with acknowledging how you speak to yourself, what phrases do you repeat daily, particularly when you include the words I am... Check in with yourself and catalogue how often you say unhelpful, unkind or things you would never allow another to say to you. Are you telling yourself over and over that you are unhappy, really tired, will always be single, broke, out of work or ideas? Are you telling yourself - I am unlovable, unworthy, helpless? What stories are you running? This is an important part of increasing self awareness. Essentially it’s data gathering on yourself. Observe your habits. Keep a note and watch what patterns unfurl. No judgement needed, this is simply an invitation to discover more about you.
Part of learning how to master our own mind is to incorporate different practices into our lives, leading to sustainable mastery over time and it will take time. It’s important to know this. This work isn’t about quick fixes, it is about inspiring long term practice leading to a healthier, happier you. With two thirds of our brain focusing on the negative it’s safe to say some of us aren’t primed for joy. We’re not used to feeling or holding onto safety, happiness, wealth or health. From today let’s begin a straightforward practice which will take us closer to knowing ourselves and living from joy whilst understanding all the emotions we spend time with.
Spend a few days observing yourself and jot down what you notice. This is the doorway, if you want you can open the door and ask yourself - what’s underneath this feeling I’m having? What does this story give me? If I was running a different set of stories, what would they be? Explore your habits.
Once you’ve got an initial handle on some of what you’re telling yourself, spend a week running a positive set of messages pre slumber, let’s see what is possible to shift whilst you’re sleeping. Inspired by Wayne Dyer and his book Wishes Fulfilled take a moment or two before you fall asleep to run a positive I am programme. For example saying I AM nourished, I AM loved, I AM abundant, I AM happy, I AM safe, I AM nurtured and one of my favourites I AM wise. Include positive language you are comfortable with. We can subconsciously reprogramme the brain during sleep by using the I AM wording. Wild, right? Mind shifts can be noted within days of this practice. Meaning even within a few attempts we’ll begin to wake feeling more resourced, connected, stronger, different. This is a step towards mastering the self. It might sound improbable that by simply changing the phrasing of the I AM’s we use we will see deep and sustainable change in the self, but if you’re willing to play with 96% of untapped resource you might be surprised. You very well might master your own mind. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting?