Be Aware: Sustaining & Derailing Habits
What are some of the things you do already to support your best state? Um I walk in nature nice I'm cooking um and I'm not a lot I let your right I'm having a harder time coming up with the things that really support my best state versus the things that I'm saying it wasn't that funny we take our strengths for granted we take the things we've learned that help us accomplishments and the habits that we've managed already we take him for granted but onem and I end with thinking about the things that support my state also then I'm thinking like well, like could have been doing this or should have been doing this so it's the should I am aware that the should they're creeping in and trying to be you know, uh focusing on the positive things so this one would be a statement of you know what? I already do this right? I already do this and it helps me because in reality that their cem resource is there to build even new habits you know what I already do this I could add on this? Yes and I alrea...
dy do this actually I don't want to stop doing this because this one works this is a habit that supports me we're so focused on what's stressing us and how we aren't coping that we forget that we do already have some coping skills and some I'm looking for the coping skills that have long range benefit not the coping skills of I stuck my head in the sand after drinking a bottle of one that's probably not your best with the things you do that really sustain you any coming from online ideas that yes claire are ray is saying that she does yoga every day even when I call it easy yoga it's not crazy not harbor that helps her de stress oh I love that she does it well every day no matter if she's going to do the full on or the little bit that's a great technique others others are saying that they say chocolate sabotages them but they do use it as stress relief I do teo I think it has been known on dh really interests lest she actually likes to cook a swell and she tries to cook healthier that's the thing that helps her oh I love that because that's self nourishing and that's what self care is about which is what stress management is about is your own self care really really important so thank you for those and the fun part of sharing those sorts of things is it sometimes somebody else isn't doing it and they think you know that's the one I want to do that sounds like it would really support me how about you simon a few things I wrote down so one um just like the um person to your guy too of falling on she gong every day and sometimes to just even if it's fifteen minutes do a little something right the movement or the meditation so that that really helps kind of to stress um I also have been often in the morning when I wake up I'll think what I'm grateful for no helps me because you know like what we're talking about you can't have gratitude and you know, regret at the same time so it helps toe the things I also focus on doing one thing at a time is that the opposite of multi tasking single tasking nice and is that hard? Uh I think what's what well knows his heart is that sometimes yeah, if I have a lot of things on my mind, what will happen is I'll start doing one thing and then I'll go off to do the other thing s so then I have to bring myself back so you know, let's just finish this, you know, make it kind of right it's like is a practice, you know, I'd lived in a send center once and you know, it was also the same kind of it's like okay, let's do one thing at a time pay attention to what you're doing on so that I tried to, you know, different things I just think ok let's just be mindful in that activity opposed toe good for you trying to get presents. Yeah, that that that's lovely and I like that you say that you do that she gone even if it's only for fifteen minutes that day and when we could do that and not beat ourselves up for just doing fifteen minutes, we get a huge neural boost from that because if it's something you practice regularly, your brain flips into the state very quickly of the benefits that you get from that practice, whether it's, yogurt, you gong or whatever practice you're doing if you've been doing it regularly, if you've made a habit of it and you could on ly manage fifteen minutes that day, you still get all of the neural chemical boost of it and the immune system boost and all of these wonderful things that happen that renew you now if it becomes fifteen minutes every day and then it goes to five maybe needs a boost, but still, if you're doing it regularly and you give yourself permission to say, this is a fifteen minute day that's a great, great thing and you still get the positives. So what are some of the habits that you may be doing that sabotage or energy sabotage you from getting to your best state of flo? I know what you're going to answer a procrastination is definitely a sock for me, yes, completely sex everything yeah um and I also have, like I check social media frequently on I think when you're talking about losing our replacing it so instead of you know, any thirty seconds I have to flip through social media I can use that for breath work this none of the social media and joe I have one planned time of social media because I don't necessarily get something out of check right twenty times a day or whatever it is so here is just, um, jumping ahead just a second here's an idea for that instead of making it I won't do social media I'm just going to do breath work you can start by saying I'm going to do two breasts before I opened my social media and that doesn't feel quite as threatening to your brain it's not in there going oh no she's not that social media today, but it gives you this. You know, I'm going to tie the breath habit to the social media heaven and over time you can build one and fade the other like that and that is sort of sneaking it s so that you don't get that resistance because resistance is huge and we're going to spend a lot of time on that a lot of time on that so we what other habits sabotage what's coming in on that? What are you saying? Just thinking about things they have to do instead of just getting doing it sabotages think that I think a lot of people analysis paralysis that's a good one yeah uh yeah yeah that that I can do that and you know what? That's a fusion of procrastination too often tied to perfectionism um or fear failure that you're not going to meet you know, if if I start it if I stop analyzing and actually do it there's a chance that I might not do it the way that I think it should be done and so I'm going to spend a little more time thinking about it again something we very naturally d'oh how about you, simon uh so one of the things well, I certainly do that, but um and you know, so that particular example would be like, oh, I'll think about what I should be writing and instead of actually writing and so in the end that yeah, the bad habit that I kind of is like checking my phone when I get out both like text messages and emails and in the habit that I had for a while that was, you know, really fulfilled me was writing right when I get up because one you know, there's not there's nothing, I'm still in that kind of semi dream state and so that was like the best you know, creative time so, um that would be something to get back to you that I really think would help a lot. The habit of checking the phone is a very interesting one one that I've experienced myself as well, you know how the twenty four seven phone worked its way into our life was quite rapid and insidious and what's interesting is that goes beyond habit the checking the phone there's actually an addiction there's a reward center in your brain that lights up every time you check that phone and we get there's a rule in psychology, the law intermittent reward if you don't know if you're going to get a reward, you look more often it's been shown in all kinds of experiments where we look every time thinking there might be something think cool this might be an e mail from a really fun friend this might be a mention this might be a client and so that intermittent reward ties us into that phone. I usually have my phone here and I don't I'm very proud of myself that intermittent reward possibility ties us into it so that that reinforces the habit and that becomes a very ingrained one and one that really sabotages the productive ity for a lot of people the checking the social media and checking on the phone to see what's going on and that horribly interferes with focus because I mentioned earlier every time you stop and check something else it takes about ten to fifteen minutes for your brain to come back to the same level of focus you had before you did that wow that's a lot of time and I've experienced that this self and I when I'm tired I tend to do it more it's made because I'm looking for something to perk me up you know like oh cool text message from somebody wants to meet later yeah um it's just human nature any online chatter of we have to have a question that came in from darcy g star from rianna I apologize really asking how do you say replace something that gives you so much pleasure like sugar because they use it as their de stress I think probably chocolate actually but they're finding such a hard habit to break they know it's a bad thing even helps them with their stress, right? Well, that could be the habits we can talk about today you do replace it with something that makes you feel good you need to be nourished in some way you're either feeling for physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually drained in some way and the sugar is boosting that sugar also is an addictive one it's chemically boosting your brain so you're gonna have to work a little bit harder on sugar addiction cindy knows that you're gonna replace that with something that still makes you feel nourished and still gives you all of that energy one of the ways for that is to make sure you've eaten well throughout the day that you don't get to the low blood sugar state that you don't get to the dip where sugar is the only thing that's gonna give you the fast hit and eating small bits regularly throughout the day can make a difference in that making sure you're full from vegetables and protein and then the sugar craving starts to go down there. A lot of sugar in particular is one that some people benefit from doing an actual detox for mark hyman has a a good program for detoxing the detox diet um sugar is truly an addiction so that goes a little bit beyond the the habit but there's habit around it that you can work with replacing I hope that helps that's a tough one it is a tough yeah cindy knows love sugar I think it loves me it's and because I have shared that I haven't eighty d type brain sugar um and the carbs that go with it actually build some of the chemical that my brain is craving so it's a true addiction it is a true addiction and odd because um it's one that's only been available in recent years toe have refined sugars on dh you know we can make animals that with sugar we have a craving for it already because from the standpoint of evolution, we wanted to taste that because it meant that we would thrive, but, you know, evolution didn't have a convenience store on every corner with big gulps and the ability to buy large size eminem's, so we've sabotaged ourselves a little bit with that, but that's a tough one and you can do it. So we've talked a bit about the supportive habits that you have and then some of the derailing habits that you have and flipping the page here I'd like you to write down again, what's your best mindset when you feel strong to choose a habit, when do you feel really strong that you can choose what you want your brain to do? What are the states that you're in? What things support you being focused or feeling resilient or feeling clear about what you want to dio I'm giving you hints in there? Thanks. These are the things that allow you to be your strongest for most of us when we wake up in the morning, we have a lot more frontal lobe strength because our brain has slept overnight, hopefully, and we have we feel more in control of our thoughts and behaviours because we're well rested, so that is often what feeds a better mindset is having been rested, you can see that this gets circular because that might be the habit you need is to get the rest so that you can have the strength to go get the rest. Um, but what is it that you really want to feel? And you want your brain tto learn toe, hold this mindset toe hold your space of resilience or your space of calm or your strength to deal with what life deals there are both behavior habits and thought habits, and they're a lot of questions about this and in the workbook as you go through this that we use that we derail ourselves with, and then there the thought habits in the behavior habits we have that make us stronger, and so I just want you to become more aware of the interplay of those so that you have more choice. You have more choice in those moments to say, you know, that's one of my thought processes that derails me on then this is one that actually serves me when I sit around and laugh with friends and put things in perspective that serves me, that helps me be stronger the next day when my hard drive crashes, the fact that I was out the night before with friends laughing and I know that we all care for each other makes it easier to survive the hard drive crash. So I build a habit of making sure I get that social time in connection that I need I try not to build a habit of hard drive crashes although apparently I have it's not my favorite thing. So what are the kinds of things you'd like your brain to learn? What's something you might want your brain to learn? How about you, son? I was thinking about, um, presence I've just thinking about some, like optimal states or experiences I've had it's been when I was completely present beat that in creative work or I remember this time I was, um just walking in san francisco and it's just like felt like everything was alive, you know, like that, you know, you could just see the end of the flow of the trees that you know, just feel the wind blow and just see the bird like and just there's just such amazing beauty, so if I could be more in that state, I think that would be, um, really be powerful, and I've noticed that it kind of reactivate that if I just start painted more attention to like sensory things, then it kind of comes back to a certain extent that's really well said and it is exactly a brain state, so you want to make a habit of a brain state that you have more access to it and that would be a state of flow and I've had a lot of people described that state and I hear light or I can see the detail more um or I have this ability to take in the big picture and the small picture at the same time in yoga they talk about being aware of where one body part is at the same time you're aware of where your whole body is in space and that ability to hold to be clear and hold both and not be so focused on while my wrist is really here and it kind of maybe hurts but be able to say my wrist is here and I've got some of my attention here but I'm aware of the hole I'm present with it that's lovely how about you, erica? Um what keeps coming to mind is joyful this no is that a mind state that were looking for now or is that they well, they would like your brain to learn to allow yourself to have joy maybe yeah and I just yes and like just a there's a certain vibrancy that I have lost a little bit that I'd like to bring back the joy and the vines so we may need it and I love that and for both of you those air brain states so there may be a habit around that that helps you get to that brain state something that you figure out that you do that makes that more possible. And it may seem very related. You know, I need to take some breaths and channel presence, or I need to put my hand on my heart and just let the joy bubble up. And sometimes it's, I need to go to bed earlier so that I'm not just drudging through the day and I can feel the joy. You see how they could be related. Yeah, um and it could take some expert experimentation to figure out which one it is for you. Uh, all right, journaling is coming to mind. Yeah, just because that's a very fun thing for me to do and helps me sort of to connect with what I've done that day of that week, the connections of the family. So I think that's what sort of speaking to me, I love it. And I love that as you said that your face changed, your face just totally changed and it became something that was pulling you instead of a should absolutely it was a oh, you could see the little spark come and then you're like, oh are journaling? I could do that, and and that would put some of this together. So if I were just mapping your brain there was probably a gamma wave that just went over your brain before you have this little insight and then it went to a more positive state very nice and that's a really lovely thing and that's, when you find the one that's going, you're going to do successfully because you want to you want to it's not a should it's a place where you feel that join that vibrancy you still may have some sabotaging habits we need to address on the way right, right this should myers of or the the should moat that lives around that joyful space um but but that's great. How about from the online world? Interesting. The reactions we've gotta reality is saying I really want my brain to learn that things like working out relaxing, breathing exercises are just the equivalent of brushing my teeth, putting on my clothes, etcetera you know it's hard to trey out and have that relax ation darcy g is saying, you know, joy they feel it's such a good one but they have a challenge with that they say because every time they feel happy, something bad happens but they would love their brain to allow them to feel that joy and actually there she also went in to save fearless s self esteem and worthiness as well that's interesting one so bad stuff happens and it does. Do you know it to be true that because you felt happy, something bad is gonna happen? Do you really know that to be true? Or has it been coincidence? And you've linked those? I would think about that a little bit what's the data. This is from what we did in the first session and second session what's the real data. What story or expectations are you adding to it? What do you really need? And who do you want to be? If you really want to be the joy person, the happy person, you can do that and it may take it may take changing the habit of adding that story. It's not it's. A very common thing you hear is note do you feel it's a mindset that if you sort of take that pessimistic view, you know it's like murphy's law, it is gonna happen. Well, actually, um, it's the negative bias of our brains and our brains are negatively biased purpose that's what saved us? We needed to be way more alert for danger in order to live joy while it's beautiful and we want it and we want to thrive joy didn't help us live, and so the priority of staying safe and living is always the brains priority so we have a very negative bias. The world of positive psychology has done a lot of research on this. It takes three positive thoughts to balance our one negative thought that's how strong the negative thought is so it's really important to try and practise the positive thoughts? There is a, um, great website from barbara frederickson, who right positivity called positivity ratio dot com I believe we can, plus that later, but I believe it's positivity ratio, and you can go in there and take a little quiz and see how positive you're feeling at that moment, but it makes perfect sense to not allow yourself to get too happy, because something bad could happen until you start to tease that apart and realize that it's a story and it's a bias that your brain has because you are what a human, um, and welcome to being human, and you have the ability to work through it. So that's the good news, that was a good man. Thank you. I really appreciate that. Now, we've talked about some very specific health issues in the last couple of sessions. We don't want to get too much into details with those, but this one has come up, and so I will ask, you mean, desk desperately, peri menopausal is her name, some assuming it's a she um and I say I would like my brain to remain functional enduring when I have really bad pms is that in those days all her habits all her good work goes completely out the window she's up but she's tired of the world having to stop during that period? No. Okay, so good one o it is true that hormones that we think of as being our reproductive hormones are neural transmitters as well they're very active in the brain. So as our hormones change, there are a lot of brain changes and you can feel like you're just barely trying to hold on to the train that has left the track so that's a very normal feeling. There are some ways to regulate that with diet and supplement and hormonal treatments that you can explore um because it is very frustrating, but I also say that the more you reduce your stress, the more you exercise and do the things that support you being more even keeled physically, especially exercise and nutrition. The more things you do to keep your brain even keel the easier that gets and then there's some other helps out there as well been on that train left the track but you never know but this is interesting there is growing research on the hormonal changes in the mail as well and how they affect the brain, so don't be laughing too hard thanks for sharing that, and it is a good question. I have seen the brain maps of women during menopause, and I'll just throw this in for encouragement. There were, you know, people feel, say that women get stupider at that point, and the studies show that that is not true. But the brain map is a little more scattered during menopause, and then comes back, and no intelligence is lost whatsoever. It you can just be frustrating, um, and I want to add one more medical piece to that is that one of the things about our hormonal changes is they can really affect our sleep, and the minute our sleep is affected, our brains are affected. So sleep, maybe part of the picture as well. Thanks for asking.