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The Sexy Way Is Better – Rewiring Beliefs Done Right When Feeling Anxious & Overwhelmed

Written by: Iva Perez, 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.

 

It is time to ditch the traditional way and embrace the pleasurable way to rewire unconscious beliefs for rapid and lasting change.

It all starts with pleasure.


And yet it’s the last thing we are willing to indulge in as busy, always-on-the-go, have-a-million-things-to-do-where-are-my-keys, modern women.


However, science shows how the brain releases massive amounts of oxytocin, the “love hormone” and dopamine, a "feel-good" neurotransmitter before, during and after sex. Enjoyment and pleasure is deeply woven into reproduction and the origins of our physical existence.


From this premise, why not add pleasure, joy and delight into the mix when it comes to rewiring new beliefs for ourselves? Especially when feeling anxious and overwhelmed since these states keep us from experiencing more pleasure in our lives.


As women, there is no bigger satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that the sense that we have done this life well.

Rewiring beliefs is simple but not easy. Yet, we can make it sexy.


Quite frankly, rewiring beliefs has all the appeal of a root canal.


What we ultimately want as women is a more delicious reality where we move forward at each stage of life with freedom, power and potential. To feel in control of our lives.


Intuitively, we know old beliefs cannot produce new results, hence the need for installing brand spankin’ new ones.


Yet the very nature of beliefs and the un-sexy way of approaching them is what makes the whole affair a very discouraging one.


Through time, beliefs become programs that run on autopilot in our subconscious mind (without the verified blue checkmark to see if they’re true or not) and require more than just willpower to be changed.


That is why most diets don’t work, why New Year’s resolutions are hard to follow through, why new clothes and a haircut don’t immediately create more confidence, why quitting addictions and bad habits is not immediate, or why another diploma or course won’t get you more clients, or a higher paying job automatically.


Trying to do all these things through sheer willpower while keeping the original beliefs that created them, can lead down a road of frustration, helplessness, and constant failure. The masculine model of only using willpower is not attractive at all.


I’m here to offer a new alternative road instead. This will allow you to feel empowered into changing beliefs the sexy way.


Perhaps if Robert Frost had been born a woman in today’s world, his famous poem would have read: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the sexy one…


When it comes to anxiety and overwhelm, the ‘Sexy Way’ is also the best way. This is how I help anxious and overwhelmed women unveil a better version of themselves as a Licensed Hypnotherapist.


Anxiety and overwhelm are not properly addressed in the articles that discuss how to rewire beliefs and this is a big disservice. Modern women are trying to keep up with family demands, working towards bettering their future, perhaps trying to re-enter the workplace after taking a hiatus to raise their kids, or wanting to create other major changes in their lives.


Most find themselves in the middle of such transitions staring at Frost’s proverbial diverging roads in front of them feeling solitude and unease, while anxiety and overwhelm rear their ugly heads to remind them how they’re not fully experiencing life, how they’re lacking joy, fulfilment, and contribution and time seems to be running out.


To successfully rewire limiting beliefs, anxiety and overwhelm need to be recalibrated first.



Trying to follow dysfunctional models in society has deep negative effects from early childhood and undermines women’s confidence in their own abilities as adults.


Adding to the pain and confusion are the limited options presented to them by experts and coaches who tend to merely diagnose a mindset/ limiting belief problem or the medical field which prescribes anti-anxiety medication aimed to treat the symptoms but not address the root cause of the issue.


And they set themselves up for failure and disappointment when exploring solely masculine models of self-improvement, with a single-minded focus on action and performance without pause for reflection, enjoyment and pleasure. Instead, hailing willpower, grit and determination as the fix to acquire new beliefs thinking it will create automatic change that will free them from self-doubt, anxiety and overwhelm.


It’s the ‘hustle, grind, repeat ‘ mantras and ‘fake it until you make it’ directives that adversely affect a dysregulated nervous system.


In the face of anxiety and overwhelm, merely ‘thinking better thoughts’ is not sustainable.


The energy needed to upkeep those shiny, brand-new, better thoughts is being used elsewhere. Namely, it’s being used to address feelings associated with lack of safety and lack of control that arise from unresolved anxiety. When there is no end to anxiety, feeling overwhelmed is the next level, because self-control and self-management are now running on empty. When the intensity of feelings coming up outmatches the ability to manage them, things simply implode.


The inner beliefs that sustain the anxiety and overwhelm (yes, another set of beliefs created the anxiety and overwhelm in addition to the beliefs someone wants to change!) come with a double whammy of resistance to any conscious effort or willpower in rewiring beliefs.


First, since beliefs are stored in the subconscious mind, like a protective mama bear, the unconscious will go to great lengths to hold on to what it fiercely believed in for so long. After all, these beliefs are familiar and unconsciously they appear ‘safe’ even if it means staying in the anger, frustration, sadness and depression.


Second, when we begin to shift them in order to heal them and let them go, the subconscious mind will have a natural knee-jerk reaction of unease or mistrust about this shift creating even more resistance. The subconscious finds a false sense of certainty and safety in the anxiety and overwhelm it was marinating in for so long.


Rewiring new beliefs from this baseline requires a sexy way of pleasure and delight instead of a ‘through-gritted teeth’ approach.


It’s time to build a new sleek highway that also involves fun and pleasure along the way in three steps.


Sexy Way to Rewire Beliefs No.1 Two-Way Street


The highway to fun and pleasure is not one-way only. We tend to think that the only formula to rewire beliefs is thought-feeling-action-behavior sequence. But with an anxious, overwhelmed emotional baseline, the highway got hijacked by the body making it a body-mind-thought type of direction. The body has become addicted to cortisol and adrenaline and has forgotten how to access pleasurable emotions and feelings. To be able to access these feelings, the body needs to feel safe and soothed first.


Safety is felt in the body, not in the mind. Physical touch is a quick and delicious activity that can increase dopamine in the body. There is evidences that dopamine plays an important role in anxiety modulation in different parts of the brain. Having low levels of dopamine can make you less motivated and excited about things, with reduced motivation and ability to experience pleasure, which has been linked to reduced reward sensitivity and reduced dopamine transmission.


Studies have shown that massage therapy increases dopamine by 30% on average. Interpersonal touch is another natural way to increase your dopamine levels. Researchers have discovered that touch significantly increases dopamine release in the brain. This can include kissing, cuddling, stroking, tickling, hugging and sex. This also lowers anxiety as it sends a signal to the brain to relax.


Booking a massage is the sexy way to reduce cortisol, increases oxytocin, and stimulates the vagus nerve. This is also how you can begin rewiring new beliefs through stimulating and increasing your body’s pleasure receptors.


The reverse holds true as well: some initially painful experiences drive upswings in motivation and positive mood—minus the crash. The effect is called hormesis. “Well-timed deprivation can do wonders for pleasure,” says Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist who wrote about dopamine in his 2017 book, Behave.


The bracing effects of cold water may offer a quick mood boost. Past research reveals that submerging your body in cold water increases dopamine concentrations by 250 percent. It also doesn’t come with a rise and crash but rather creates a sustained rise in dopamine for up to 3 hours. These are great natural ways to boost our pleasure chemicals as our dopamine receptors dip about 10% with each passing decade.


Sexy Way to Rewire Beliefs No.2 Have a Party with Yourself


Just like your body can welcome contrasts and benefit from both massage therapy and cold showers, allowing our minds to hold oppositions at the same time benefits us as well.


Women have been subjected to a dysfunctional model in which they are expected to perform to higher standards for work and professionalism yet are criticized if they are ‘too much’ of anything. So, keeping emotions in check via suppression, both at work in private, is one coping mechanism women have found in order to ‘control’ themselves.


Perceived control can be broadly defined as the belief in one’s ability to exert control over situations or events. It has long been known that perceived control is a major contributor toward mental and physical health as well as a strong predictor of achievements in life.


Given that one clinical feature more uniquely related to anxiety is the fear of losing control and intolerance for uncertainty, constant hypervigilance and losing control is already detrimental to those suffering anxiety.


But life is already deliciously unpredictable and uncertain. The only constant is that things will always change. However, we can’t appreciate uncertainty and go with the flow of things. In his article, Why Losing Control Can Make You Happier, Raj Raghunathan, explains if we feel that our life is not in control or at least not in major areas like health, relationships and finances_ it’s difficult to let go.


Being overly controlling lowers happiness. So it’s important to figure out ways to, well, control one’s control-seeking tendencies. One suggestion? Learn to appreciate and give yourself permission to feel all the feelings. This is also a step towards changing beliefs about what you allow yourself to experience.


Opening the valve of trapped emotions helps release old trauma, fear and resistance on a subconscious level which in turn liberates space to install new beliefs that actually match your desired goals.


Real self-control is not about damming up our feelings. It is about allowing our feelings to have the time and space to be felt and expressed safely, so we can transmute them into something deeper like newfound insights and wisdom. The first step is to acknowledge total ownership of our own feelings without adding layers of meaning to it.


As psychologist Stuart Shanker put it: “Self-regulation is what makes self-control possible, or, in many cases, unnecessary.”


Author Elizabeth Gilbert said it best when she asked: “Do we have enough internal space to allow all the parts of ourselves to coexist within the contradictions? Having room for creativity AND the fear. Room for dignity AND the shame. Room for the parts that are glorious, divine and wonderful AND the parts that are petty and jealous and ridiculous?”


If not, it’s time to allow all these parts to have a sit at the proverbial table- without judgement about having them in the first place.


Sexy Way to Rewire Beliefs No. 3 Give Yourself Real Delicious Power


In the words of business coach, Alixe Kathleen Tracy, “The opposite of lacking control is not to have more control. The opposite of not feeling in control is to have and encode more pleasure. Enjoying more moments that give you pleasure, gratitude and satisfaction. In experiencing pleasure and satisfaction we are letting go in a juicy, feel-good type of way.”


Who doesn’t want two scoops of that please?


But even this notion of pleasure, delight and enjoyment must be a very specific type if you want to achieve a more centered, calm, and peaceful lifestyle that is easy within reach.


The pleasure I’m targeting is not of things or activities that create a negative dopamine loop.


Eating a delicious gelato served on a decadent waffle cone might make you feel good in the now. It may also make you feel regretful 20 minutes down the line. Deciding to go for a walk outdoors or meditating isn’t intensely pleasing as the sugar rush of a creamy, chocolate ice cream. But these can lead to satisfaction that lasts way longer.


The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” – Julia Cameron, author, artist, poet.

The best type of pleasure comes from mastery and doing things that require a bit more effort because of its own internal satisfaction. There is no bigger satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that the sense that we have done this life well.


The old rule of thumb states that noticing statements like “I never” o “I always” can point to a limiting belief at work. And by becoming aware of these, we can move out of their shadow and shine brightly as our true selves.


Simple but not easy. Why?


Stepping into the light of our own power requires courage and conviction. When we reclaim our power, by letting go of old patterns, it requires a new level of awareness and responsibility.


We become truly responsible for our actions without an exit clause. There is no one else left to blame.


But by the same token, if we are willing to examine our limiting beliefs and the root cause of our anxiety and overwhelm, we get to reclaim all the power that had been tied up to those narratives.


Avoidance of discomfort is the enemy of growth and evolution that leads to the ultimate pleasure:


Of you being in your power.


Moving forward, every emotion and feeling that arises inside of you needs to pass the Litmus test question: Is this thought/emotion going to get me closer to being the person I want to be?


But even for women who have high levels of anxiety and depression, anhedonia can prevent them from enjoyment, pleasure and delight. Just even saying the words ‘let go’ can bring up the anxiety that they will be left with nothing, or worse, that they have resigned themselves to a hopeless situation.


This is where attention creates reward through dopamine-enhancing activities.


Allowing ourselves to focus on so-called Mastery activities allows women to slow down to a more unified attention and focus, a sensory-enhancement experience that is more satisfying.


In her book, The Healing Power of Pleasure, Seven Medicines for Rediscovering the Innate Joy of Being, author Julia Paulette Hollenbery states: “Attention is about being completely present listening, witnessing, sensing and appreciating. It comes from the senses, from our body, it happens in the here and now. When we pay attention, the reward is increased pleasure.”


We walk through life mostly being busy thinking about one thing while our bodies are doing another.


In the case of anxiety and overwhelm, doubling down on our attention will reap double rewards. As the tendency is to not want to feel pain, we move away from our experience. If the discomfort is really bad, we disassociate from our body and physical sensations.


We can bridge the gap of the discomfort by engaging in a mastery activities which according to researchers, Edward Deci and Richard Ryan at the University of Rochester, satisfy autonomy and competence- two of the three core psychological needs all humans seek.


They go on to explain that when we satisfy these needs, we feel a level of pleasure and delight that money, success, or status can’t match. Autonomy and competence can be best satisfied in our time off-the-clock.


Besides making us feel great with a touch of a dopamine dance of satisfaction when we learn and advance our abilities, it also ramps up competence, confidence, and a sense of control, creating momentum by moving forward no matter what is happening around us.


Research from the University of Montreal shows that if you have a passion, you can add eight hours of joy to your week. And that’s something that trumps rewiring beliefs using only self-will and going nowhere.


Also, when it comes to building new brain circuits, one big oversight adults make is to leave the fun out of the equation. We forget about the power of fun. But finding fun in mastery activities insulates the knee-jerk reaction of quitting or not remaining consistent because rewiring your mind requires mental energy which gets depleted and takes time to restore. In addition, fun and laughter release fear and create safety, one thing that anxious overwhelmed nervous systems desperately need more of.


Performing mastery activities allows you to celebrate small victories.


Being able to say, “I did it!” and taking pride in yourself is free, it has no calories, and no unwanted side effects.


With trial and error, you can find mastery activities that work for you while you’re rewiring your brain to feel good in new ways.


In summary, when changing your own beliefs, examine the baseline you’re starting out from.


Setting ourselves up for success is a big part of the equation. Like Abraham Lincoln once said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”


The way we can sharpen the proverbial axe is through a sexy invitation to fall in love with ourselves.


Stepping up to love is about doing something for ourselves that is positive and compassionate first, so that we can take the necessary next steps that fully align with our whole being. The deliciousness of life is about extraordinary experiences, deep, meaningful relationships and most of all love, joy and peace.


The ability to expand our capacity for pleasure and delight is what leads to belief in oneself and belief in life happening for us. This is ultimately the ‘sexy way’ and the place where magic ultimately lies.

Uncover the Biggest Belief Holding You Back in Life – Bypass the guesswork and the online quizzes. Your subconscious mind already knows what's holding you back. This audio helps you uncover core limiting beliefs in minutes using soothing 396 Hz frequency background music. Includes a Re-Patterning Session to lose blockages and negativity. Instructions booklet included.


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Iva Perez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Iva Perez is on a mission to help 1,000 women and entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success, confidence and freedom. She has successfully merged 20 years of corporate experience with her studies on the Science of the Mind into her role as a Licensed Transformational Hypnotherapist and is endorsed by UK’s No. 1 Therapist, Marisa Peer. She helps women and entrepreneurs drop the overwhelm and anxiety and, instead, create new subconscious beliefs to facilitate powerful transformations. This way, mothers can successfully navigate the overlap between work and family life. Iva is the co-host of the Top Ranked podcast, Mom Bosses Abroad as well as an avid speed reader and matcha evangelist.

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