Rewire Your Brain! Break a Habit!

Rewire Your Brain! Break a Habit!

By now, I hope you are recognizing the mind chatter going on in your head. What are you saying to yourself?  Is it judging or is it in a learning framework? For me, when I am taking a risk or in an unfamiliar situation, I am surprised how quickly those thoughts of, “You can’t do that.  What are you thinking? Who do you think you are anyway?” occur.  When making changes in our lives and establishing new habits, it is easy to judge ourselves when we don’t reach the vision we have in mind.  One way to redirect the judging is with recognition that you are talking to yourself that way.  Then, with that recognition you can begin to rewire your brain to “veto that” type of talk and break the habits you want to break.

Automatic Thinking

When starting to make a change, like not eating snacks, the brain generates a signal, “a readiness potential” to grab a snack in response to an emotion perhaps, about five-tenths of a second before we actually go to the refrigerator to get the snack.  The bad news is that if we define free will as the ability to consciously generate readiness potentials, we don’t have free will.  I often would wonder, why can’t I stop myself from getting that snack out of the refrigerator?  The fact is that the brain is constantly in processing mode.  So thoughts come continually.  We don’t even become aware of the thoughts, until three-tenths of a second after the brain registers the thought.

So the process goes like this:

.5 of a second – unconscious readiness potential– as an option for action- no free will here             

.2 of a second – urge to act ———— Veto Power!  Choose to do something else such as close the refrigerator or think about something else.

0 second- we act  —-  either we eat the snack or close the refrigerator door and walk away

Power to Break a Habit

Even though it is a very tiny time period, by becoming aware that we do have a choice and using the veto power, we are actually rewiring a faulty brain system.  For me, I have been using this to reconsider what I am eating.  I have discovered chocolate gives me a migraine.  So when I get the urge for chocolate (that hasn’t gone away),in that .2 of a second, I remind myself of the last migraine I had and don’t eat chocolate.  Granted I don’t have chocolate in the house now, but I am aware of the thought process I am using when that urge comes.

I am also realizing I am using veto power as I am picking up the habit of recording my food.  I am currently using an app on my phone My Fitness Pal to record what I am eating, so I can get healthier and lose weight.  It keeps me more conscious of what I am putting in my mouth, gives me veto power over some things I’d like to eat that aren’t good for me and changing how I approach food.  Since it is on my phone it’s a lot easier to keep track. I have lost 13 pounds since June 1!

What about you?

What do you say to yourself when you find yourself facing a habit you want to change?  Exercise?    Drinking more water?  Making snide remarks?  Eating sugar?  After you have done it, do you beat yourself up?  Use veto power for both the judging self-talk and changing the habit.

When you find yourself calling yourself a bad girl, veto it!  When you realize you have judging thoughts, veto them!

Revisit when you are wanting to be exercising and catch yourself right before you tell yourself no you can’t, or no you don’t have time, or whatever is getting in the way and veto that thought.

Push through to the yes of exercise or the yes of eating healthy or the no of the sugar.

Start rewiring your brain today!

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

How Noisy is Your “Mind Chatter”?

How Noisy is Your “Mind Chatter”?

When you stop to listen to the chatter running through your mind, how noisy is it?  “I have so much on my to do list, I don’t know …..  I am too busy.  Why can’t I get things done? I can’t do anything …… “ How distracting and draining is it?

If you recognize any of these thoughts, you’re not alone.  This “mind chatter”, an endless, restless stream of incomplete thoughts, anxieties and self-talk can race constantly through our minds.   Daily, we have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts and questions running through our heads.  With 80% of those thoughts being negative, this puts our brains into a fight or flight mode which releases cortisol and adrenaline- causal factors of stress.

I have found three ways to calm the “mind chatter” and calm the mind’s anxiety  that I want to share with you.

Awareness

Until you become aware of what your mind is saying to you, nothing can change.  You may think you know what your running commentary is, yet actually writing it down can be helpful.

Carry a tiny notebook around with you for a few days.  Set a reminder on your phone or a timer on your desk to tell you to stop what you are doing and reflect on what you are thinking about at that moment.  Write down those thoughts.  They can be a list, snatches of thoughts, or questions.  What are your thoughts or questions?  Judging those around you?  Thinking negative thoughts about yourself- coulda, woulda, shoulda?  Feeling like you’re worried, unloved, worthless? What are the words running through your mind at that moment of the reminder?  Some psychologists call them “gnats”, which I feel are a great, visual descriptor.  Write down your gnats buzzing in your brain.

After a few days, look at the list you have compiled.  What stands out to you?  What themes have you discovered?  What surprises you?

Change

Once you have discovered the themes in your thinking, you are ready to make changes.  Remember it takes 21 days to make a habit.  What is one new thinking pattern you’d like to start?  For me, it’s thinking grateful thoughts as I jump out of bed.  I have a tendency to start thinking about all I have to do for the day as soon as my feet hit the floor. Instead, I am thanking God for the day, the breathe I am breathing, even a good night’s sleep, before I get wound up about the day’s activities.  I am not there yet but that is one change in my thinking I know I want to make.

If judging is a gnat you’ve discovered, how could you change your thinking about that?  One way to do that is to focus on the types of questions you are asking yourself and others.  In the book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, Dr. Marilee Adams focuses on learner questions, questions that help us learn about people, places and things, rather than judge them.  For example, why questions lead us to judging – “Why is Julie doing that?!”   What and how questions lead us to learning about people and things.  “What can I experience in this situation?”

Breathe

Finally, when you feel your anxiety rising, stopping to take deep breathes and focus on your one to two word prayer calms the fight or flight response.  Being still and deep breathing brings down the anxiety, even when you feel like you’re going to jump out of your skin.  When you are doing this, you can notice your thoughts, yet you let them go right past you, like thoughts floating down the river.  You don’t have to do anything about those thoughts, just let them go right by you.

Notice how you feel after even 5 minutes of doing this contemplative prayer or another meditation.  You’ll find your mind refreshed and your body calm.

The Takeaway

I used to believe my body was betraying me, when I would suffer anxiety attacks.  I  realize now I have strategies to practice which reduce the likelihood of them occurring or lasting very long.  I am grateful for those tools.   Being more aware of what my mind is saying to me, changing my thought patterns and taking the time to breathe deeply have significantly reduced my anxiety.  I  know when the anxiety starts to rise, I have things I can do..

I hope these strategies can be helpful to you, too.  If you would like someone to come alongside you as you practice these strategies, I would love to accompany you.  Contact me for a free coaching session and you can reflect on what your mind is saying to you.  A coach lets you move forward faster.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy that deep breathing!

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

3 Ways to Focus On Your Summer Goals

3 Ways to Focus On Your Summer Goals

“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” LL Cool J 

How focused are you on your dreams in the summertime?  Are those goals clear in front of you or are you highly distracted by all the other things you hope to pack into the summer, “while the weather is nice.” You don’t have to make summertime an either/or time and put your dreams and goals on hold.  It can be a time of both enjoying the summer and making progress on your goals.  In this blog, I will share with you three ways I’ve found to stay focused and keep moving forward while still enjoying my summer.

I. You Know What’s Important to Focus Upon to Accomplish in Your Week

  • First, this focus is assuming you know your vision for the summer. If not, go back and read my summertime vision blog so you know what you hope to accomplish for the summer.  Then, at the start of each week, you do have to sit down and focus on the week ahead and pre-decide what’s important.  Pre-deciding is a concept I learned from Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory’s book, Overwhelmed.  By pre-deciding what is most important to accomplish in your week, you decide ahead of time, what you will do and can put it in your schedule first. It takes so much last minute decision-making off your shoulders.
  • Answer the question, “What one activity can I do that will move my goal forward the easiest?” then, schedule it in your calendar. If clarity is difficult for you, this may be where a vision board and my coaching could help guide you to help you discover the possibilities open to you and move you forward faster.

 

II. You Know Who’s Important In Your Week

  • In addition to what is important to put in you week, you need to decide who is important in your week. Who are the people you need to interact with this week?  Clients, friends, family, community members?  Get them on your calendar as well as to when you will work at connecting with them.
  • Schedule in self-care time for yourself as well.  You are one of the most important people in your week.  If “mama’s not happy, no one’s happy.”

III.You Know How You Want to Move Forward in Your Week

  • Now comes the tricky part. How will you accomplish the what and the how and keep your focus?
  • Will you look at your calendar each day?  Will you write yourself sticky notes?  What about reminders on your phone?
  • What will it take to keep you focused on what you have predecided?
  • Who else may need to be involved in completing the how of moving forward?

The Takeaway

In the summertime, especially, it is easy to get distracted by all the comings and goings of family and friends, extra activities to do outside and things you want to do to enjoy the season.  By being clear and predeciding on what’s important, who’s important and how you want to move forward you can stay focused.  You can still enjoy your summer, too.  Your calendar can be your best friend.  If you find this concept challenging, let me know.  I’d love to support you.  We can do a free session and I can share some resources with you.    I can’t wait to hear how you stay focused and move forward as well as have fun.  Email me, post on  Nancyboothcoaching Facebook or comment below.  Let’s encourage one another to stay focused, move forward and have fun.

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world..  She writes about taming the overwhelm. looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you to find that new vision!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm.  It’s time to explore possibilities of a new vision to include stronger relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

5 Tips for Balancing Your Summertime Vision

5 Tips for Balancing Your Summertime Vision

You have your essential questions; you have chosen your summer activities.  You have a summertime vision of what you would like this summer to be like.  All of a sudden, it is the end of June, and you feel like nothing has happened, or the opposite is true – too much has happened.  How do you go about balancing your summertime vision with the reality of day to day living?

1. Have clarity on what’s important to you this summer.

There’s an old saying, “If Mama’s not happy, no one’s happy.”  The gist is that you can set the tone of your family.  When self-care, contentment and clarity are priorities for you, you model that for the rest of your family.  Give yourself permission for time to reflect, to value yourself, your ideas and time for yourself as well as for your family.

2. Write out your ideal summer week that includes work, family, and self-care

Look at your week.  Begin to design three types of time blocks – work, family, self.  You want to put your big rocks – the things that most important in first.  Determine when and where your self-care times will occur, including your times of quiet and solitude.  By seeing what an ideal week could look like, you have a vision that can develop into a routine.

3. Gather your family together to discuss what’s working about the summer and what’s not.

Getting input now can tweak your summertime vision and open the lines of communication for everyone.  I know for our family what I have in my head and what they expect are often two different things.  Coming together to make plans and discuss what can happen realistically builds trust and bonding, instead of mistrust and the proverbial, “You didn’t tell me that!”

4. Program in rest and being fully present

It sounds funny to have to program in rest, yet I know for myself, I get caught up in do, do, do.  Summertime is the time to be, be, be.  Remember as children how long summer seemed to last?  Part of that remembrance has to do with the fact that children are fully present.  They are not worrying about the future, nor concerned about the past.  They are enjoying the present moment.  Being fully present is a great stress reducer.  How can you unplug, relax and rest in the beauty of summertime?  Can you sit along a lake?  Enjoy a path in the trees?  Sit and smell the flowers?  Read a book in a hammock?  Take a nap in the sun?  Whatever it is, choose times to rest, slow down and unplug from your cell phone and the world

5. Give yourself grace and enjoy gratitude

One of the best things about summer can be gathering with loved ones.  Getting together with friends and family bring about connections that build memories and gratitude for the people we have in our lives.  However, gatherings can be stressful if too much emphasis is put on preparations or how things look.

A friend of mine reminded me of this when I was worried about how my house looked. She said, “People are not coming to look at your house, they are coming to enjoy your company.”  Her encouragement gave me grace to open my home more often.  I make sure the house is presentable, but let go of the imperfections I see every day and warmly welcome women into my home.

 

I hope your summertime vision and being connected to why you want helps this summer be the best ever for you and your family.   Having a vision drives your passion, motivation, direction, focus and purpose.  I can’t wait to find out how your summer is different than other summers because you were clear on your vision for yourself and your family.  Let me know in the comments below or on NancyBoothCoaching Facebook page how vision is driving your summer.

May summer time be one of joy, contentment and renewal for you and your family!

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world..  She writes about taming the overwhelm. looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you to find that new vision!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm.  It’s time to explore possibilities of a new vision to include stronger relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

Easy Celebrations for Summer Enjoyment

Easy Celebrations for Summer Enjoyment

How and when do you take time to celebrate in your family?  I know growing up we celebrated birthdays and family.  Mom took time for me to invite friends over for my birthday.  I have fond visual memories of friends around our dining room table, eating cake!  We also would gathered for family birthdays.  I remember gathering in March as my grandparents, myself and my cousin all had birthdays in March.  I still remember those yummy meals together- chicken and dumplings – yum!.  In summer, we would all gather for family reunions to celebrate being related to people I didn’t know, ha! Again the theme of food was popular. My grandpa would pile his plate so high he had to hold the top of it to keep food from falling off.

Funny how food is often associated with celebrations.  We eat at weddings, birthdays, and graduations.  There is something celebratory and connecting about eating good food together.  I think sights, sounds and smells of food easily bring back celebratory memories..

 

How do you celebrate?

What about you?  Do you take time to celebrate together?  Summer is a great time to celebrate together.  The word celebrate means two similar, yet different things:

  1. to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business  to celebrate Memorial Day
  2. to mark (something, such as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine celebrated their 25th anniversary

Throughout the summer, we have the opportunity to do both.  Summer is usually kicked off by Memorial Day, an occasion to honor and remember our servicemen who lost their lives by serving their country.  We honor their service to this country.  This past Memorial Day, I saw lots of pictures posted on Facebook of different people’s relatives who had served.

 

Honor and celebrate family history

It reminded me of the opportunity during the summer to honor and celebrate our family histories.  How many of our children and grandchildren know of relatives who served in different ways for our country?  For example, I have both a grandfather (he was 64 and my grandmother 29 when they married) and a great grandfather who served in the Civil War.  My husband, Jim, is a veteran and my uncle Harvey served in WWII as well as my father-in-law, Chet who is still living.  Those are people to honor and celebrate.  What stories are in your family that you can honor and celebrate?  Family histories are ones to gather, celebrate and tell your children and grandchildren. Family Search.org is a great place to start for free genealogical research.  Watch out though, you might get the family history bug!!

 

Mark something special

In addition to honoring being a way to celebrate, marking something special with festivities is another way to celebrate.  Traditionally we think of births, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations as things to celebrate and they certainly are things to mark with festivities.

What would happen though, if you began to look for other ways to celebrate your life?  What if each week there could be something you looked forward to celebrating?  What if in the summer you had a festival or other deviation from the routine and celebrated life?

 

Capture a celebratory joyful summer moment

I am suggesting that summer is the perfect time to enjoy a celebratory lifestyle and find joy in the present. Brain research shows that engaging in present moment practices brings calm and joy. Celebrations that engage you in the present moment are one way to practice that joy.  When you think of celebration, you may think of activity, yet celebration may be one of celebrating yourself with a day away doing exactly what you need to be joyful and healthy for yourself. What might that look like for you?

Other celebrations could include setting aside a day and calling it something – Cousin Day, Movie Day, Pajama Day, Beach Day, whatever you and your family decided was essential.  By giving it a name, making a plan and circling it on your calendar, you turn it into more of a celebration- something that deviates from the routine.

In my 23 Easy Celebrations for Summer checklist, you’ll find a variety of ways to celebrate and enjoy summer for the introverts –  people who like more solitary activities to the extroverts- people who thrive on larger crowds and busier activities.  I think you’ll find something for everyone in your family.  The checklist includes things like hiking, picnicking, having a backyard camp out, and interviewing your family members about what they remember of life as a child in the summer.

 

Once you have the list, you can sit down with your family and determine what and when you might like to celebrate summer. The list may even generate more ideas of your own.  Remember to celebrate is a time to mark festivities.  And what better time than summer to celebrate family time as festive?.

Hope you can get out and enjoy this summer.  I know you will build good social bonds, strong memories, and best of all fun, which is great for your brain and your family! Celebrate your summer and share on the Nancy Booth Coaching facebook page.  We can encourage a joyful summer for each other and share ideas.

 

 Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world..  She writes about taming the overwhelm. looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you to find that new vision!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm.  It’s time to explore possibilities of a new vision to include stronger relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

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