We all want to live a positive and happy life. There are a million and one articles out there telling us how to do this. Eating that food, doing this type of exercise, saying these affirmations. The options for self improvement are as wide and varied as the human race itself. However with all of these proven possibilities out there often people drop their new “way” because it’s not working or creating the results they want to see.
Do you know it? Have you done it? Well I know I have. And boy do I also know the spiral of guilt that follows afterwards. Luckily for me those days are slowly becoming more and more a part of my distant past. How? Well I found myself the perfect alley to get the the positive and happy life I want. I discovered my brain. You may be thinking what the heck but pause for a moment. Our brains are in control of everything. And you know yourself if in life you want to make significant change it’s best to work with those at the top. And I’ll let you into a fantastic secret about your brain which makes creating the positive happy life you want really easy.
Our brains are stupid.
(Well not at everything of course brains do a fantastic job of keeping us alive and running the complicated system that is the human being. Credit where credit is due).
However when it comes to creating new beliefs and habits our brains are actually really stupid. It’s to do with our animalistic DNA and how we create memory and belief. Basically your memories and beliefs are created by the number of repetitions of an event, or stimulus. For example, being told you are great at cooking. If you get told something once it becomes a “short term memory”, however if you get told it 5 or more times it becomes a “long term memory” (Kandel Brain and Mind, 5) or in other words, a new belief. In our example you may feel that you are a better cook than Nigella Lawson. The more you get told something (or stimulated) in the the same way you release “Serotonin” into your body. Serotonin makes you feel happier , well balanced and reduces stress and depression, as well as doing many wonderful things for your body’s well being. In the cooking example this means every time you step into the kitchen you feel like a cooking guru and are happy and relaxed before you begin.
Repetition creates your brains beliefs. Any repetition. Yes that means unfortunately the same is true with our negative stimuli, such as I can’t cook/run/loose weight. Our brain is all to willing to believe whatever we want to tell it. It is willing to help us believe and when we believe in something it is ten times easier for us to create. So it’s up to us to take charge of what we tell our brains.
Words really do have so much power when it comes to our brain. The world of marketing uses word and repetitions tricks to make you want to buy things you don’t want or need. (And you know it works because otherwise you wouldn’t have that bizarre health food stuff going out of date in the back of your kitchen cupboard that you bought after seeing it on tv, in the newspaper or on Facebook and still 6 months later you have no idea how to use it or even pronounce its name!) So if the marketeers can do it, so can you! You can use your words to convince your brain of anything. Once your brain is on board you will feel a shift in your energy and no matter what your new routine you are starting, habit you want to cultivate or negative thought pattern you want to turn around, you will succeed.
As Jesse Jackson (A civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King ) said
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”
So here are 6 easy steps for you to get your brain on board and create new beliefs so you can make Jesse Jackson’s words a reality for you and create the positive happy life you want.
The first step is the most important. Commit. To whatever it is. Commit to making this positive change and new belief in your life. Make sure it is something you feel passionate about. If you don’t burn for this change it ain’t gonna happen. Decide exactly what thought you need to believe to make your desired change.
Create an affirmation
The best and simplest way of creating a new belief is by using affirmations. Sentences you repeat to yourself. There are many great affirmations out there you can use (and I do). However I think the best affirmations are the ones we make for ourselves. They are the most authentic. My favourite self created affirmation is still “I am the most powerful me”. Be creative and think big. If you are changing your thoughts make sure you are going for gold. At the same time keep it so that you can believe it.
Begin your affirmations with ‘I am’, “I know…” “I have…” “I love…” and keep them simple. You are going to have to say these a lot so make sure the sentences easy to remember. Remember it is ok if your statements sound a bit false to you at the beginning, affirmations are 100 % faking it until you until make it. Suspend reality in this creative process and go for what you want. You are the most powerful you.
Say it loud and proud
Affirmations work best when said out loud ,basically because they stimulate your senses. So say your affirmations out loud. If you find it challenging you can build up to it. Start by writing them out daily. Then write them out and read them out loud quietly and over time increase the volume until you are at your normal speaking voice. At last just say your affirmations out loud.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
You can hold about 7 statements in your head for about 30 seconds. If you don’t repeat them, the belief in those statements goes away. If you do repeat them, they go into your “working memory,” for anywhere between 90 to 120 minutes. If you don’t repeat them then, the information will be lost and won’t necessarily come back. However if you do repeat them then the statements will enter your long-term memory. So do your affirmations throughout the day not just in the mornings or evenings. Go outside for five minutes in your lunch break and say your affirmations. (If you put your phone headphones on and walk people think you are talking on the phone, so don’t worry about what everyone else thinks of you, they are far too busy with their own lives!) Aim to do your affirmations in the same time slots throughout the day to get the best repetition effects.
Some people say that it takes 14 days, to learn a new habit, some say 21. Personally I am in the Hal Elrod school of 30 days (See in the book The Miracle Morning). It gives 3 stages of habit forming and the last 10 are the most rewarding. Keep repeating your affirmations minimum of 3 times a day for 30 days. You brain will be supporting you too the absolute max and you will be in the perfect place of belief to create the positive happy life you want really easily.
Remind yourself of your new belief
Use triggers to help you remember your affirmations. I use an idea of Louise Hay’s. Around my home are many small red hearts in places where I see them frequently. By my desk is the same red heart with the affirmation “Life loves me and I am blessed”. Whenever I see a heart I say the affirmation and I know in my heart how lucky I am for my lovely life.
Routines combined with affirmations such as playing certain music or brushing your hair whilst saying your affirmations will form associations which you can use as reminders to keep reinforcing your new beliefs and keep your brain on your side. You can even allow a negative thought to be your trigger. For example every time you see someone with a healthy body and your brain says “I can’t look like that” turn the thought into “ I am working towards having a super healthy body that I love”. Think of reminders that will work for you into your affirmation routine from day 1 for the best results.
Stay in charge
If you feel when saying your affirmations resistance to believing what you are saying notice it. It could be a teaching. A piece of information that helps you understand your resistance to your life change that you can work with. However if it is just an old negative belief wanting to be heard, let it go. You are the boss of what you think so stay in charge.
Have fun creating your new beliefs this week. You and your brain have everything thing you need to create the positive happy life you want, all you need to do is believe it <3