From head trash to positive thinking in 6 simple steps
"I hate my life, but there's nothing I can do about it.
"I'll never find a good workplace where everyone's nice to each other."
"I'm not ____ enough to do/be ____."
Do any of these sound like what goes on in your head?
These are examples of rules that we often consciously and subconsciously live by. We learned them over the years as a way to make sense of how the world works and how we can keep ourselves safe within it.
Believing that, for example, you're not good enough to be a doctor, was keeping you safe from all the stresses involved with med school.
The rules we have in our heads affect the kinds of actions we do, the kinds of habits we have, the thoughts we think, the amount of stress we deal with each day, and how healthy and happy we feel.
Unfortunately, many of the rules we developed as kids no longer serve us as adults and are hindering us from reaching our goals. I call these Bullshit Rules.
Check out the following "Cross Off and Replace" method to banish your BS rules so that you can reach your life and career goals faster.
Cross Off and Replace!
Whenever you're stressed out, take a moment to listen to the talk going on inside your head.
For example, say you're stressed out about a project at work. Some people on your team did not complete a task you needed done in time, which affected your ability to do your own work. Then your boss decided to blame it all on you - even threw a huge fit in front of everybody. It was humiliating. There were a ton of thoughts just rapid-firing in your head.
Write them down.
Take the time to write down as many of the statements you hear as possible. Don't stop to think about what you hear, just free-write as much of it as you can.
From the previous example, these statements may include:
- My boss is pissed.
- He's spitting.
- His vein is popping out.
- My boss is an asshole.
- My boss is always angry at me.
- I'm always the one to blame.
- I'm not good enough.
- I hate my life.
- Why does this always happen to me?
- I look so stupid.
- I'm turning red.
- Everything thinks I'm stupid.
- This is humiliating.
- I should stand up for myself.
- I never stand up for myself.
- I have no backbone.
- I'm weak.
- I'm not strong enough.
Cross off relative truth statements.
From your list, you're going to differentiate which of the statements are absolute black-and-white truths versus relative truths.
Absolute truths are those that are true in every sense of the word and from every perspective. For example, "He's spitting," "His vein is popping out," and "I'm turning red" are the only three absolute truths from the list above.
Everything else on that list is a relative truth and a BS Rule that you've been living by! Cross them off! Your boss may not always be an asshole, and he most certainly is not always angry at you, and you're most certainly not always the one to blame...otherwise you wouldn't still have your job, right?
Cross off statements you DO NOT WANT to be true.
This one is even more fun than the last one.
Go down the list again and cross off (or double cross off) the statements that you do not want to be true, now or ever.
Why? Even the ones we feel like are really true now?
Yep, cross them off! These are the BS rules that are SERIOUSLY holding you back from happiness and success. Scratch a huge line through them!
The majority of our daily thoughts are based off of what we believe to be true, whether we know it or not, and whether it's an absolute or relative truth. And the more we think a certain thought, the more it will become true. So if you don't want to be blamed, feel humiliated, or look stupid, you had better start crossing those out of your mind, out of your life.
But jeez, easier said than done, right?
It may not be. Read on.
CRUCIAL STEP: Replace.
Replace the crossed-off statements with statements that you want to be true.
- My boss is a kind person.
- My boss respects and values me.
- I respect and value myself.
- I am enough.
- I love my life.
- I am intelligent and professional.
- Everyone thinks of me as a professional.
- I am a strong and confident person.
You're rewiring your brain here in this step. What happens when you tell a little kid to "Stop running!" or "Don't put that in your mouth!" They'll run and put that thing in their mouth.
As adults, we have a little more self control, so we won't actually run or put the thing in our mouth, but we'll sure as hell think about it.
So if you are to just cross off the BS Rules on a sheet of paper, your brain's just going to think those thoughts even more.
But if you give it a replacement ("Walk!" or "Quick, give that to me!" or "I am enough!"), you can train your brain to think the replacement more instead.
JUST AS CRUCIAL: Use all 5 senses to solidify!
Doing this exercise once will not lead you to any magnificent transformations. You have held on to your BS Rules for likely many many years, if not since you were a wee child. It is not going to disappear overnight.
But there are things you can do to train your brain to think your replacement thoughts faster...Use all 5 of your senses:
- Auditory - Say your BS Rule out loud, declare (loudly) that you're crossing them off, and then say your replacement thought even louder. And/or repeat them a bunch of times. Start with 10 times every day when you wake up.
- Tactile - Cross off those statements with conviction! Cross them out 50 times each! Write the replacement statements with confidence, press firmly into the paper, and hear the scratch of your pen on the paper!
- Visual - Try drawing out your replacement statements and hang them up where you can see them each day.
- Taste - Drink your favourite tea when you do this exercise or crunch on some nuts as your cross off your statements. Celebrate you with some ice cream!
- Smell - Burn the paper with all BS Rules on them. :)
And here's one for your 6th sense - when you say each of your replacement statements, take a deep breath, and really feel like the statement is true.
Imagine your boss being very kind, respectful, courteous, and imagine yourself loving your life and loving your job.
If you did this every morning for 10 days, you will most definitely start feeling shifts in your energy!
Check out my video about this topic below:
Ready to try the "Cross Off and Replace" process with your BS rules but want a safe space and a guiding hand? Contact Jessica at email@example.com to learn more about private coaching.
Blog post originally posted on the Damon Wellness Blog: