Whether it’s worrying too much, emotional eating, or biting your nails we all have habits we want to break. Our habits, both good and bad, become ingrained in our brains through repetition. So how can we rewire our way of thinking? The first step in changing our minds is recognition.
Recognition is made up of three components: identifying the problem, acknowledging its validity and realization of self. To put it simply, recognition requires observing yourself and becoming more self-aware.
Many of us feel like we are controlled by our emotional responses. It’s human nature to get swept up in our feelings, but by focusing our attention inward we can observe our problematic thoughts and learn what triggers them.
To begin, take a few slow, deep breaths and bring all of your attention to this present moment. On your next breath, allow yourself to answer this question: Who have you been? Remember, there are no right or wrong answers to this question. Just allow your thoughts to wander and write down what comes to mind.
Now ask yourself: What do you want to change about yourself? Observe yourself without judgment.
On your next breath identify: What are the feelings that you feel every day? Just allow whatever needs to be revealed to come into your awareness. Make a list.
Lastly, answer this question: How would your friends and family describe you? Write down the words that you think your friends and family would use to describe you.
Take a look at what you’ve written and notice the difference in answers. For many of us, the sad truth is that we are our own worst critic. The way we see ourselves is often not the way we are seen. By reframing our perspective, we are looking at a more realistic, comprehensive image of ourselves.
Even as you engage in this simple mental exercise, you are signaling the frontal lobe in your brain to fire in new ways so you’re already on your way to changing your mind.
If you missed the previous articles in the “How To Change Your Mind” series, you can check them out here:
Image Credit: Kristin Vogel