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7 magic steps to making the most out of your life

You can listen to the audio version of this blog via Spotify.

Tip of the iceberg

The subconscious mind, understandably, is huge area of fascination in research and study. Over the past two centuries, there have been conflicting studies about the power of the subconscious mind but more and more is being understood about it.

Much research points towards a figure of around 95% of our thinking being subconscious and if this is the case, it means as we go about our everyday lives, our daily conscious thoughts are but a minor percentage. It’s frightening really. Frightening because most of what we do, is through habit and most of that is reactive – another whopping statistic - approximately 95%!

Think of it this way: when you drive a regular car journey, do you sometimes find yourself thinking: “I didn’t realise I’d already passed the service station back there,” or when you need the loo in the middle of the night, you don’t really need the light on to find it because you know exactly where to go; getting dressed is another one – we don’t need to give it a thought. Yet, if we are right-handed and broke our right arm, we’d have to learn a whole lot of stuff in order to make our left-hand useful. If we visited China, suddenly we’d need to give a lot of thought to how we communicate – both verbal and non-verbal.

Knowing how to get to the loo in the dark is surely a good thing though, as is being able to get dressed without needing to give it any undue attention. However, there are multiple times throughout our day when we possibly don’t pay attention to the habitual things we do such as the nature of our thoughts, nor our reactions to people and situations.

Back in the day, when we all left our house for school and work, we’d go through the motions to get everyone ready and out the door. It might usually be a rush, everyone frantically running around at the last minute, with tempers frayed.

Recently, a work acquaintance told me her and her husband had a lightbulb moment and decided to change their habitual routine and leave for work 30 minutes earlier, to then eat breakfast at their desks. This meant they missed the peak rush hour traffic, barely anyone was in the workplace that early and therefore, it wasn’t inappropriate to eat at their desks. It also gave them a chance to catch-up on emails in that quiet zone. She said she couldn’t believe the difference this made and how it set up their day in a much more positive way. One small tweak to the usual routine had made quite an impact to their wellbeing – no rush hour traffic, emails read before everyone else arrived and a calm mood to begin the day.  

Rip it up and start again

Maybe you habitually engage the same mindset about certain situations – you approach team meetings expecting the same people to be more vocal, so you sit quietly and don’t give your opinion; maybe you don’t go for promotions because you believe you’re no good at blowing your own trumpet and celebrating your strengths – more likely focusing your mind on your weaknesses and thus not giving a true picture of yourself.

The way we respond to people is also the same – maybe we expect an argument when the teenage daughter gets home from school, so our mood anticipates this. She senses the mood and responds accordingly and there it is, the self-fulfilling prophecy. Too often, during our day-to-day life, we very often go through the motions not really thinking about what we’re doing nor where we’re going because most it's all routine.

I know eating breakfast at the workplace isn’t going to work for everyone and attempting an entente cordiale isn’t going to work for every family – but you get the sentiment – it’s about being more conscious and choosing your mood and the responses (not reactions!) that you give. It’s dragging up to conscious gaze the beliefs you have about yourself and the habitual mindset you operate in day-to-day which might not be serving you well. It’s easy to let inertia set in and for life to become one long habit, but does this serve you well?

It’s about living life consciously. If you want a different outcome, it’s within your power to make that choice.

It’s the start of a brand new month. I know it feels like Groundhog Day but you do still have the choice as to how you show up for this month. So, what you gonna do?

Are you going to perpetuate any negative thoughts you have – maybe ones of fear, worry, boredom, frustration? Or maybe decide to tap into some of that 95% subconsciousness and reframe your thoughts so that you feel more able to take on the current situation and make the best of it? Maybe there are some small changes you can make to your daily routine that will help you to feel more empowered about how your day pans out.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you get the best out of this month:

  • Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and actually get up when it goes off. That change in start to your day might help to reset your mindset – to shift your thoughts. You might get more done, or simply sit and ‘be’ with your thoughts.
  • Observe your thoughts. Listen to the hubbub that might be in your brain and quieten it down. You have the ability to run your brain, rather than let it run you. Amplify the positive thoughts you have. Replace the negative thoughts with ones that serve you better. We cannot think two thoughts at the same time, so you can recognise the thought that fills you with fear and worry, and then flip the narrative to support feelings of hope and positivity.
  • Watch your self-talk. Are you telling yourself and others that this is a hopeless situation, that you’re not coping well, that you can’t think yourself out of this, that all you can manage to do is eat, sleep and repeat? Positive self-talk is a powerful tool for increasing self-confidence and curbing negative emotions. Change your self-talk and notice the changes in how you feel. It works. Trust me.
  • Repeat positive affirmations daily. These help to reset your brain and end those negative thought patterns. These deliberately constructed sentences, which, when repeated, realign neural networks and patterns in the brain, creating and sustaining a positive self-belief. Repeat at least twice daily - after cleaning your teeth is a good time. You could try: "I have the resilience and self-belief to keep moving forward," or "I am fully responsible for the creation of my happiness.
  • Visualisation is another powerful tool in your Mindset Toolkit. By building a mental movie using all five senses, you can convince your brain that you’ve got this. Imagine feeling calm, confident, resourceful and resilient. Imagine your day and you moving through it feeling in control of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Live consciously. That may sound rhetorical but there are so many people who give no thought as to the type of thoughts they have and the effect this has on the type of emotions they then feel, thus their behaviours and the habits they practice every single day. If you drag your thoughts up to conscious gaze, you can make significant changes to how you think, feel, act and therefore the quality of your life.
  • Be kind to yourself. We don’t always feel like skipping through the tulips and that’s OK. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK but it’s not OK to stay that way. My favourite mantra to say to myself at the moment is: I AM ENOUGH. I look myself in the eye in the mirror and say it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. With conviction.

As the great Mae West said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

 

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