Written by: Dianne Hatke, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Are you waking up every morning to complete your daily routine of affirming, scripting, visualizing, and repeating? Are you avoiding or overriding every shred of negativity and unpleasant emotion as possible? Have you been doing this work yet still have not made the change both internally and externally you have been seeking? While I do believe these affirmations and the like have a time and a place and can be helpful, if you’re finding that they aren’t getting you the results you want, keep reading.
There are two reasons why affirmations and other, what I call “band-aid,” mindset techniques don’t work to help people actualize long-term change. First, these techniques are surface level and do not get to the root of what is causing these limiting beliefs and behaviors in the first place. Second, they do not take into consideration the physiological responses these often deeply rooted beliefs present in the body. Let’s break both of these down.
Getting to the root of your limiting beliefs: I like to think of affirmations as a prescription drug. You know you have a problem (your limiting beliefs/behaviors), but instead of understanding the underlying cause for this belief, you take a pill (your affirmations) to cover it up and hope eventually it goes away on its own. This is no different than visiting your doctor for sleep issues and her prescribing you a pill to fall asleep without trying to figure out why you are having sleep issues in the first place.
If you want to make lasting change, you must see beneath the surface of your limiting beliefs; you must understand them. You can do this simply by asking questions around them.
Some questions I like to ask are:
What led me to believe this?
How do I react when this belief shows up?
When is the first time I remember this thought coming up for me?
What does this belief prevent me from doing?
What might be true about this belief?
What’s false about this belief?
What have I experienced in the past to prove this belief wrong?
Once you get to know the thoughts keeping you stuck, it is time to understand how they show up in your body. This is important because even if you are telling yourself one thing, but your body is responding in the opposite way, you are likely to find yourself reacting to your physiological responses, not your mental ones. Recognizing these responses can be a bit trickier than recognizing the thoughts running rampant in your mind. We become so used to these physiological responses that we are not even aware they are coming up for us.
Getting to know the body: To learn how your body is responding to your mind is sometimes obvious, like when you have about of anger, fear, or anxiety, but often it is very subtle, especially if we are often in that state. A person who thinks they are worthy and capable of achieving all they desire is going to feel much different in their body than a person who thinks they are not. Next is the process I use and teach to help myself and others understand how their body is responding to their thoughts. I always suggest understanding your limiting beliefs or the negative thoughts coming up for you first (at least for beginners). This practice will be easier if you already know what has been coming up for you.
First, find a comfortable place to sit and take a few deep breaths to relax. Do a quick body scan to tune into your body. This is simply starting at the top of your head and working your way down your body, noticing any sensations you are feeling.
Second, once you feel relaxed and comfortable, think of the limiting belief you are struggling with and notice how your body responds to it. Maybe you feel some tightness in your chest, maybe your stomach knots, maybe you feel flushed. Then, say the opposite of that belief. How does your body respond to that? Does it believe what you said? Notice any contrast.
Third, allow whatever unpleasant feelings that arise in you to move out of you. Notice them and name them. You can say “tightness in chest” or “knot in stomach” and watch how as you just notice these sensations, they fade away. What is important here is not to feed unpleasant emotions by thinking more negative thoughts or by judging yourself for having them and not to fight them by trying to push them back down. What you fight fights you back, and trying to pretend they aren’t there keeps them scratching at the surface, wanting to be seen.
As you begin allowing the physiological responses to move out of you, you can retrain your body to feel what you want to experience with your upgraded thoughts. A great way to do this is simply by thinking of things you are grateful for, feeling that gratitude, then bringing in your new, positive affirmations. Happy healing!
Dianne Hatke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dianne Hatke is a leader in self-mastery and personal development. After nearly bankrupting her first business then rolling from its recovery right into marital struggles, Dianne has never been one to call it quits. Instead of giving up on either, she began diving deep into herself in unique ways to both maintain the mindset necessary to keep pushing through it all and to uncover the deeply rooted beliefs and thought patterns that led her down this path in the first place. She realized there is a huge gap between what we believe we are supposed to experience, and what we actually experience, a gap that leaves many feeling alone and lost. Through her work, she has discovered her gift and her passion of helping people rediscover and reconnect with themselves.