You know that voice in your head? It’s chatters away 24/7. It can sound something like this:
- “Look at your gut! When did that happen? Good lord — have you no pride?”
- “Oh, god! This clerk is the SLOWEST! I am going to be so late now!”
- “You were INSANE to quit your job and start a business! Just who do you think you are? You are going to be living on the streets!”
It goes on and on all day long. Notice it. That is all. Just notice the thoughts and say:
“I notice I am thinking I am insane for quitting my job.”
Who is the “I” noticing and thinking this thought?
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”
― Michael A. Singer,
You are not that voice in your mind. The “you” doing the noticing is the essence of who you are — your soul or your Essential Self (term coined by Martha Beck, life coach, writer, “O Magazine” columnist). You are noticing your brain thinking these thoughts. This realization — that “you” are not your thoughts — is key to changing your life.
That voice in your head comes from your amygdala or “lizard brain.” It’s ancient purpose is to keep you alive, healthy and procreating. These activities are fundamental to survival, but today, with no saber-tooth tigers around the corner, the lizard brain obsesses on keeping you “safe” from the unknown like taking a risk, doing something new, or stepping out of your “comfort zone.”
The lizard brain believes it knows best how to protect you from pain and suffering. But does it really? If that voice had it’s way with you, it would keep you in a fetal position hidden in your closet. And it shares your personal history which is why is remembers every emotional wound you’ve ever experienced and will use those ordeals to keep you from feeling that pain again.
However, the lizard brain’s ramblings can go overboard and become the source of your suffering. It can create such intense fear in you that you stay stuck: “I hate this job but I can’t quit! I need the money. And without this job, I will end up living in a van down by the river!” Your lizard brain loves to “awfulize” every thought and if you automatically believe those thoughts, you can create your unhappiness and “dis-ease.”
Try creating distance from automatically believing the lizard brain’s incessant blather. Practice letting your thoughts wander by without hooking into them. Learn to be in the moment. Here are some ideas:
- Walk in nature. Notice the birds or the trees swaying in the wind. What do you smell?
- Watch a baby play or sleep. Oh look! She just found her toes!
- Move your body with yoga, tai chi, dance, bike, kayak, rock climbing, etc.
- Close your eyes and really listen to music that moves you
- Go to an art museum and slowly stroll around absorbing the various expressions of beauty
- Meditate on all you have and recall when you didn’t “have.”
- Observe and play with a dog, cat, horse, or in my case, baby goats!
The key is to notice this voice and realize it is not “you.” You are the watcher noticing these thoughts. Teach yourself how to create distance from it’s ramblings. This takes practice, like any other skill. But I promise you, it is the key to making concrete changes in how you feel and how you show up in the world. Give it a try.
In my next post, I will talk about Step 2 in the process of changing your thoughts.. Stay tuned!
CALL TO ACTION: Notice what this voice is saying to you. What helps you create some distance from that voice? Let’s walk through these steps in changing your life together. Schedule a 30-min complimentary Breakthrough Session here: https://karendarrin.acuityscheduling.com/ or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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