train your brain

I have discovered, from personal experience, that when you travel along the lifelong journey of self-love, before too long you find yourself making conscious decisions that don't just positively impact you but also those around you and beyond.

And that's why I firmly believe that, through self-love and falling back in love with ourselves, we can heal our ailing planet.

Whilst that (healing our planet) is beyond the scope of this post today, I wanted to highlight it and 'put it out there' because I know there are so many people, like me, who want to make a positive and healing impact on our world and among those, both human and non-human, we share it with but quite often we feel discouraged because, after all, what can "little old me" do?

I'm here to reassure you, you can do much more than you think possible, through the power of self-love.

I have been 'studying' (more like experiencing) what self-love is, what it's about, what it entails for some time now. It first started in my previous business through which I hand-created skincare. The aim of my brand was to encourage every woman who used my products to start to fall back in love with themselves, lumps, bumps and all (coz we all have them), to fall in love with themselves from the inside-out, to honour and accept the beautiful woman they naturally are, and to spread that love a little further, beyond themselves, to show love to the animals that are so heart-breakingly associated with the 'beauty' industry, bunnies.

I'm a big believer in practising what I preach and, so, to talk and share about self-love, I wanted to experience it first-hand.

As a result, long story short, I found that the idea of self-love was just the tip of the iceberg. To attain and maintain self-love (a journey we follow for the rest of our life) you first need to become efficient in other 'selfs', the first of which is 'self-awareness'.

Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one's own character and feelings. It means you're aware of the things you do, say, feel and experience in a conscious manner.

Most of what we do, feel, or say we do out of automatic programming (subconscious). For example, you could be driving your car and suddenly realise you're further along in your journey than you realised simply because your brain had 'switched off' and you had been driving 'on automatic'.

To become self-aware we want to awaken and consciously tune into those times when our body/mind wants to switch to automatic pilot. We want to recognise this happening and tune into it.

One simple example (though not simple in practise) is to tune into our monkey mind, our mean girl, our muggle mind. You know... the voice in our head that never seems to have an off button or which always seems to have a very strong opinion about just about everything.

Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That's an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. That means that our mind is constantly thinking, constantly chatting and, mostly, running on automatic. And what we think, we become.

Additionally 80% of our actions, thoughts, beliefs come from the subconscious mind.

So it is important to, bit by bit, become more aware of the chatter of your mind. To become more conscious of how negative that voice in your head may be. To tune into it.

Because more often than not the thoughts/patterns of your subconscious mind were developed before you reached the age of 7. So the ideas, thoughts, suggestions that are running your life are primarily those of a young child looking at the world from a young child's eyes. But you are no longer a young child. You have experienced so much in life that the thoughts of the 7-year old you (or younger) are no longer relevant. And yet those are the thoughts/beliefs that are running our mind and creating your reality every single day.

Mostly these thoughts are negative as the aim of our subconscious mind is to keep us safe. So you might find that when you want to do something new or step out of your comfort zone, your mind suddenly starts barraging you with 'buts' and 'what ifs' until it wins you over and you default to playing it safe and staying exactly how/where/who you are. And these 'buts' and 'what ifs', as I mentioned above, are coming from your younger 7 year old self (or younger). So are you getting an idea of how small your mind could be keeping you simply because it's trying to keep you safe from the point of view of a 7 year old child?

So what can you do about this? How can you change your mind?

Well, it's a matter of introducing new adult-you programming into your mind, bit by bit. And one way that you can start by doing this is through consciously creating a new pattern of thinking - re-training your brain.

A perfect example of this is summed up in an anonymous quote I came across recently: "If you feel negative, act the opposite way. It will train your brain to always be a winner, no matter what’s happening".

This is something I have done for years in one very specific situation. When I find myself talking to, or surrounded by, negative people... you know the type - they constantly complain, they're nit-picky about things, they always expect the worst to happen. When I find myself in this situation I consciously become more positive and optimistic. The reason I've always done this is because the energy of negativity and negative people has always seemed so heavy and it felt like it was clinging onto me and weighing me down.

I became aware/conscious of this happening and I decided to consciously change things for myself, for the better.

And it has always worked. Whilst I do not enjoy being in the company of negative people for too long and whilst their energy can still pull me down, I have found that by being consciously positive and taking an optimistic standpoint, their energy does not weigh me down so much.

It has also had a knock on effect, in general, too. Because I have trained my brain to turn towards optimism and positivity in these situations, i find it easier to be a more positive and optimistic person in general. It's like I have been exercising my positivity muscle to re-train my brain.

It doesn't mean to say I'm an eternal optimist and always running around with a smile on my face (though some people expect that to be so... but that's a whole other blogpost). There are times when life challenges me or when I'm just having a bad day, just like everyone else. But in those times I know that either my brain will not hang on to the negativity as long as it used to (because it's been in training) or I can consciously begin to turn things around and start to see and introduce more positive thinking.

Controlling and re-programming our monkey mind is only one facet of self-awareness. And, in itself, requires conscious reprogramming for the rest of your life. But it is an important first step to make.

I wonder... is your monkey mind busy nit-picking in your head everyday? Are you aware of its constant chatter? And, importantly, are you ready to re-train it?

Viv xx