How to think and speak differently to create an open mind

In Blog by Celine Elise Alvarez0 Comments

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“Mind has door. A password can open it. That word is stored safely in your heart, waiting for your willingness to retrieve it.”
~Toba Beta

What most people don’t realize is that we reinforce our beliefs about things by the words that we use. “I have to do this”, “This is hard,” “I am crazy”, “I am scattered,” or ” I have no time”. All of these phrases limit us, trap us into obligation, and keep us small. Thinking this way does not allow us to find space or gratitude when we practice these limiting thoughts. This week we will be working on shifting our thoughts and words to create a different reality by learning how to open your mind to new possibilities.

1) Use positive verbiage to reframe your experience.

The way we speak forms our beliefs about our life. When we speak negatively it disrupts our brain and makes us go into the stress response, we become hyper focused on this negativity bias and we are unable to let go or focus on something else. The psychologist, Rick Hanson calls this having velcro for the negative and teflon for the good. So what is the solution to this problem? We can do this through shifting the way that we speak about things and practicing having an open mind.

By changing your language we change our perception of things. For example instead of saying that something is hard, try saying it is a challenge. If instead of saying that you have to do something, say I get to do this. Changing your language you are actively participating in taking responsibility in your life and owning our choices which empowers you. Every situation in our day you get to make a choice of being empowered or a disempowered. It is your choice.

 

2) Try savoring the good in your life

When we think of savoring, the only thing that usually comes up for any one is the thought of food. But we can savor anything in our lives. Hanson and Kristen Neff, talk about how if we can learn to savor the good in our lives then we are able to change how we notice things. To savoring good feelings, we must spend time acknowledging them, then we create new neural pathway for our brain. Hanson suggests taking extra time after something good happens. Suggestions to practice this includes:  sharing what goes well with others, write about it and spend an extra 2 minutes remembering the situation so that we can have a more concrete memory of the event. Kristen Neff makes it into an informal meditation practice of going on a savoring walk. If you would like to try this practice the directions are here.

3) Try to see everything as a learning opportunity.

When your boss is a dick to you, it can be difficult to see the lesson in situation. It is easier to cop a resentment and not see how you are making the situation worse. So what are you supposed to do when things are challenging? To release a resentment you must allow yourself to have feelings about the situation, acknowledge them, send compassion to yourself, then to the person,place or thing you having a resentment about so that you can be free.

The last step to create lasting change is by daring greatly and looking at what actually triggered you. When you take the time look for the lesson that is in the situation and own your feelings you are able to elicit change. If we do not see the lesson we will get the same situations happening over and over again.

If you are willing to explore why your are triggered instead of blaming or avoiding the situation try this:

  • Ask your yourself what does this situation bring up for you?
  • When have you felt this way in the past?
  • How old where you when you first felt this way?

Doing this exercise can be very healing and eye opening.

4) Be of service to another person so that you can see that everyone struggles.

When we help someone else it creates positivity in both the giver and receiver. It helps us to remember that we are not the only ones who struggle and that is a part of the human experience. The use of equanimity in one’s life is a great way to keep and open mind and to stop feeling lonely. When we realize that we are not alone in our suffering we can have a different experience with challenges in our life.

Having a support network of family and friends is necessary. When we have a support network we have a way to feel supported and the opportunity to support others. By learning to practice compassion not only for ourselves but also for other people we are able to remember that everyone struggles and that we are not alone in our situation.

Try this Toglen meditation from Pema Chodon to help you connect to compassion for others:

5) Use gratitude for even the unwanted things.

This maybe one of the most difficult practices. Finding acceptance and gratitude for the things that are causing you pain is a very challenging practice. It is possible when we are able to stop labeling things as good or bad. The reality about life is that good things happen and bad things happen.

We can be grateful for lessons that show us what is and what is not working in our lives. Unwanted situations can help us to change patterns and let go of things that are no longer working for us . Everything we experience in our lives is an opportunity for us to be present, awake and see how we react or respond to stimuli.

Remember life is but a practice that we get to show up for every day, some practices are easier than others 😉

I hope that you found this article helpful. Please feel free to contact me, celine@innergrowththerapy.com or leave a comment below.

May you have a beautiful weekend.

May you find peace, may you be well and may you be free.

Best,

celine

 

Image by: p-u-r-s-u-e

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