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What is arrival fallacy?

September 18, 2019
arrival fallacy

You achieved what you wanted. So why aren’t you happy? Suffering with arrival fallacy

A few years ago, I ran my own business as a sideline selling vintage jewellery. It started to take off; celebrity stylists got in touch for their a list clients in both UK and Hollywood, I got featured in glossy magazines and made a bit of cash.

And yet despite all that, I just felt flat.

I’d achieved everything I‘d set out to. I’d proved I could start a business with less than a hundred quid. I was noticed by celebrity stylists and fashion journalists. But instead of being happy about it, I felt a bit deflated and I wasn’t sure what was making me feel this way.

According to Tal Ben-Shahar, a Harvard trained positive psychology expert, I had arrival fallacy.

The mythical feeling success will make you happier

Arrival fallacy is based on the idea that external recognition of our achievements doesn’t make us happy. Ben-Shahar who coined the phrase describes it as: “the illusion that once you make it, once we attain our goal or reach our destination, we will reach everlasting happiness.”

Essentially I had got what I wanted – and yet it didn’t give me the feeling I thought it would.

How many times do we think we’ll be happy when we get a promotion, a new job, a partner, a new house etc and then feel unsettled when somehow things still haven’t fallen into place?

How many times have I said to myself, I’ll be happy when I lose a stone without thinking about the fact I wasn’t doing cartwheels with joy when I weighed 8 stone?

We set our goals higher and higher and then when we achieve them, we feel deflated because it didn’t give us the happiness we thought it would.

Remember happiness comes from within

Yes, I know I’m rocking out a self-care cliche but it really is true: happiness comes from within.

Sure, a compliment can be a nice boost and being recognised for doing a good job makes you feel appreciated – but fundamentally only we can make ourselves happy.

It’s good to recognise the smaller moments in life. The little wins where we felt proud of ourselves and the good things that happened along the way. It’s also important to reflect on how we’ve changed and grown. We all evolve.

Being in the moment is important

I do feel it’s useful to think about the future and not drift along aimlessly hoping for someone to pluck you out of obscurity and transport you to a better life (hello 20-something me). In my experience, you have to work towards something to make things happen in your favour.

However, it’s also important to think about how those goals and what you think success really looks like? Is it always about the achievement of goals or what you’re learning and experiencing along the way? So have you grown? Do you feel different? Has the experience shaped you? What have you learnt along the way?

For a filmmaker, does happiness come from receiving an Oscar and listening to the applause from an adoring crowd? Or is it being able to bring people together and create your vision?

Likewise, for a writer, is it about winning prizes, or the enjoyment of crafting words to put on a page?

Now, I’m not saying external recognition isn’t important – none of us can live off fresh air alone. I’m just using this to illustrate how we need to look at what actually makes us happy.

Can we help ourselves to be happier?

So if achieving our goals don’t make us happy and we know that arrival fallacy exists, then how do we make ourselves happy? Are there ways we can inject ourselves with a dose of happiness?

There are times when things are truly rubbish and I personally feel, those feelings should be validated. I’m not a big fan of the idea we should always be thinking positively whatever the situation. I believe you need to process your emotions: good and bad.

There are other times though, when there’s not really anything terrible happening – but it feels like nothing really great either. Life is just a bit blah. It’s those moments where we can change our mindsets.

For me, gratitude practice is one of the quickest ways to help me notice the smaller things that work in my favour. I feel grateful for the slightly delayed train, which means I don’t have to wait for the next one when I’m running late and it makes me realise life can be on my side. Once you start noticing these little moments, you see them more and more and your mood elevates overall.

I prefer to practice gratitude in the morning – other people prefer to think about what went well at night. Some people do both. Whatever works for you really.

Some people get more from journaling and using to to identify common themes and issues which can be looked at and changed where necessary.

Other people write notes with affirmations, listen to motivational podcasts and/or meditate to help cut the chatter in their minds. Some of us do as much as we can.

Happiness isn’t reached by a tick list – it ebbs and flows – but it’s always within our grasp.

mind

How to silence your inner critic

August 17, 2019
How to silence your inner critic

I’m far too busy judging myself to worry about judging you.

Quite often (and generally in a work context), I will be talking out loud and a voice will start in my head saying, ‘stop, you sound ridiculous, Just stop before you embarrass yourself any further’.

This voice tells me I look too fat in my clothes, that I’m ageing and wrinkled. It likes to analyse situations and tell me where I’m going wrong. This can be in the moment or after the event – it doesn’t discriminate. It points out my inadequacies and then really hones in on what I could have done better. It only focuses on the negatives, never the positives and really enjoys making me feel bad about myself.

This voice is my inner critic.

If things don’t go my way, my inner critic will tell me it’s because I’m stupid / useless / annoying / a bad person (delete as appropriate). And when things do work in my favour, my inner critic will still find a way to put me down. It’s the last kind of person you want on your team.

I’m sure all of us have an inner critic, particularly as it’s impossible to go through life without experiencing self-doubt at some point. However, if this situation does apply, then I need to meet you and discover what you’re doing differently to the rest of us..

The difference is for some of us, our inner critic can be debilatating and it can stop us from reaching our full potential.

This is why we need to learn how to silence it (or at least put it on mute).

Why the critical voice in our head stands in our way

Listening to our inner critic point out our every ‘failure’ fundamentally leads to low self-esteem and feelings of poor self-worth. It’s hard to feel confident when a little voice is telling you you’re not.

My inner critic tends to be at its most vocal when I’m feeling a bit down about myself anyway. This then becomes a vicious cycle because the lower our self-esteem, the more our inner critic attacks what confidence we have left.

Our inner critic helps us build up patterns of limiting beliefs. This is where we tell ourselves we’re not good enough or a course of action wouldn’t be right for us. Our limiting beliefs are defensive mechanisms where we try and stop ourselves from getting hurt or looking foolish. But ultimately, they stand in our way and don’t let us take new opportunities or progress.

The important thing to remember though is that your inner critic isn’t real. It’s just a stupid voice in your head.

How to silence your inner critic

The best short term way of getting rid of your inner critic is to become aware of it. Remind yourself it doesn’t mean anything. Recognise it’s unhelpful and try to dismiss it as just that.

Longer term, mindfulness and learning how to calm your mind will help to silence your inner critic. It helps us to observe our thoughts and let them go whilst recognising they’re not our reality.

Gratitude also helps me. It makes me feel more positive about myself, in control of my own life and can recognise the good things that are going on (rather than just the bad).

The better I feel, the more able I am to tell my inner critic to pipe down.

mind

How to switch off (and have a mindful relationship with your phone)

July 17, 2019

Do you need to switch off?

I don’t know about you but I struggle to remember the last time I felt bored. If I cast my mind back, I think I was on a train, in an area with no 4G and I didn’t have compatible headphones to watch anything I’d downloaded. I didn’t have any option other than to switch off.

I quite often find myself mindlessly looking at Instagram and realising I’ve lost 10 minutes without even realising it. I’ve caught myself looking at wedding photos of people I’ve never met, have no connection to and zero interest in. So why am I doing it?

Comparison and social media

Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt

Social comparison theory was developed in the 1950s and looks at how we evaluate ourselves against others.

I know I regularly compare myself to others on social media (mainly Instagram tbh) and criticise myself for not having enough followers or making enough effort. It’s ridiculous – it’s a bloody App.

I’ve made the conscious decision to stop looking at insights and best times to post so I get the most engagement. I don’t make a living from this (and I feel the ever-changing algorithms are unfair on people who do) so why bother?

I’m just posting for me now and images that I like.

Sod the ‘gram…

Dopamine hits for likes

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which sends signals from the body to the brain. It plays a massive role in motivating behaviour by giving us a feeling of reward.

The feeling you get after taking a bite of some good food = dopamine. The feeling you get after exercising is also dopamine. It’s responsible for giving us a little rush every time it wants to reward us.

This is all great when it’s rewarding good habits. However, dopamine also gives us a hit every time we get a like or new follower on social media. It’s the reason we keep coming back to Instagram, looking at our likes and thinking about if our posts are working. It’s a form of social validation but fundamentally it does us no favours. The only people it serves are the ones making money from advertising.

Is social media destroying our relationships?

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist and host of the ‘Where should we begin’ podcast. She says that social media is creating a new feeling of loneliness in relationships. I can completely see why. I have a rule with my husband that we don’t have phones when we’re at dinner or out together. I don’t want to spend good money looking at someone looking at their phone.

I became more conscious of my phone activity after my son was born. It’s not always easy: I’ve had work emails to respond to or situations to deal with. Plus, looking after a child can be hard and at times on maternity leave, social media was a bit of a lifeline for me. I try to think about it though and make sure I switch off.

Creating the space for creativity

There is a reason why people say they get their best ideas on holiday or on planes. It’s because they actually have to switch off. It’s hard to have good ideas when your brain is permanently cluttered.

I find it hard these days to go through my 20 minute train commute without having some form of entertainment: music, a podcast or a mindless scroll. But am I really giving myself time to think? Probably not. Staring out of the window would be more conducive.

How to have a more mindful relationship with your phone

  • Self-awareness is key. Are you on your phone in the company of others? If so, put it down. It’s rude. If it’s an emergency, then communicate it – even if it’s to your 2 year old.
  • Become more comfortable with silence. We don’t need constant entertaining but we’re so used to it, it’s hard to sit with our own thoughts.
  • Think about your relationship with social media. There are hundreds of positives and I love the fact it’s given a platform to people. However, I know it has at times made me feel a bit shit about myself and that’s when I know it’s time to give it a break.
  • Equally, remember social media isn’t real. I enjoy following interior accounts – however, they don’t show what’s gone wrong or the arguments that have taken place, which are generally part of the DIY experience. It’s a highlight reel – not life.
mind

Why we need to practice self-compassion

June 26, 2019
self-compassion and why you need to practice it

Ever ruminate over something you said, which you could have said better? Or beat yourself up over how you could have dealt with a situation differently? 

Do you tell yourself you should be further ahead than you are? Be more confident/quick-witted/have the body of a 20 year-old when in reality you’re 44?* 

*I appreciate the last one might just be me… 

Well, it sounds like you need to practice self-compassion. 

What is self-compassion?

Self-compassion is the practice of extending compassion and kindness to yourself in instances of perceived inadequacies, failure or general suffering. 

It’s talking to yourself kindly and being more mindful of your inner voice.

Self-compassion means talking to ourselves in a way that we would to a friend.

Are you your own worst critic? 

There is absolutely no way I would talk to a friend in the same way, I talk to myself. It would be cruel, hurtful and I would have no friends left.

I’m not analysing their every move and criticising everything they do. I’m not listening to every word they say questioning whether or not they used the right terminology or phrasing. Neither am I listening to them talk about things that have gone wrong and thinking, well you cocked that up again…

But for some reason, we think its ok to beat ourselves up and give ourselves a really hard time. And it’s ridiculous.

Understanding the difference between bad decision making and being a bad person

There is a massive difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person.

I for one, have a tendency to confuse the two. I can literally take one bad incident, apply it to the whole of my life and tell myself I have a character defect.

Yet if my friend had made a mistake, I wouldn’t automatically think, you’re a terrible person who sucks at life. You know the whole person and all their good points. You understand they’re human and things happen. In those instances, I want to make my friend feel better and reassure them they’re doing ok.

However, I can spend hours ruminating over my choice of words and criticising myself for getting them wrong. Frankly, it’s exhausting.

Self-compassion doesn’t mean overlooking your mistakes and not taking responsibility for things. It’s not a way of shrugging your shoulders and acting like things haven’t happened or ignoring someone’s feelings. It means recognising those mistakes, dealing with them, then building a big old bridge and getting over it.

Learn to love yourself

If you can't love yourself, how in the hell can love somebody else?
Wise words from Rupaul

I remember in my single days reading a lot about the importance of loving yourself before getting into a relationship and it’s so true. 

The reality is if you treat yourself like sh*t; then how can you expect someone else to come along and treat you better? You’re telling yourself continually that you don’t deserve love.

This is why self-compassion is so important. 

It’s not just romantic relationships but all areas of life: family, friendships, work etc.

I sometimes look back at things that have happened in my life and think why did you let that happen? I had no idea what boundaries were, never mind know how to set them.

However, I’m learning to be kinder to myself when looking back at the past. I didn’t have the tools then to be able to deal with certain situations, and to a degree, we need these things to happen to in order to grow. 

So how do you start practising self-compassion?

  • Recognise in yourself that you deserve better.
  • Think of areas or issues that you give yourself a hard time over and write down how you would approach the same situation with a friend. Would you use the same language? Would you be kinder?
  • Change your inner voice to the one you would use to speak to a friend.
  • Appreciate your successes as well as situations that don’t go your way.
  • Remember, it’s not always about you… Didn’t get the job? It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible interviewee; it just means there was someone who was a better fit. Someone doesn’t like you as much as you like them? It doesn’t mean you’re a deeply unattractive person; they just don’t feel the same way and that’s ok. It happens and it’s not personal.
  • Appreciate that change is incremental. We don’t simply become better humans: we evolve and grow. Stop giving yourself such a hard time.

It’s all about the journey, not the destination

I often think we have strong ideas on the type of person we’d like to be or think we should be and then get cross with ourselves when we fail those expectations.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. So don’t give yourself a hard time because you’re not yet the perfect you. Be kind, pick yourself up and start again.

Tomorrow is a new day.


mind

How to practice gratitude

May 6, 2019
how to practice gratitude

Gratitude practice changed my life

I’ve previously about how gratitude practice changed my life. It turned me from perpetually being a ‘grey sky thinker’ to seeing the positives in life.

I had gone through life feeling like the odds were stacked against me. 

Good fortune and luck were things that happened to other people. I was great at seeing the negatives in any situation which helped back up my theory (let’s face it, none of us like to be wrong…). My train was 2 minutes late: this always happen to me. Didn’t get the call for a job interview: that’s just typical. 

In pretty much any situation, I found it easy to dissect what was wrong about it, I just struggled with thinking what was right.

I first learnt about gratitude after reading the Secret and falling down a Rhonda Byrne / self-help book rabbit hole. I decided to give it a whirl for a few weeks and here I am 7 years later with my cup still half full.

For me, the greatest change has been to stop sweating the small stuff and to notice the positives more. I feel happy when I’m running late and my train is equally late too. I look for opportunities in situations, rather than being a naysayer and I’m much more in control of my feelings instead of being led by them. 

However, the main benefit is, I feel much happier overall.

Now, that’s not to say I find positives in every situation. When my Dad died very suddenly, I can’t say I found anything to feel particularly grateful about. I could barely function. However, a few years on, I can see the experience has changed me for the better. I have a deeper level of empathy and understanding towards other people, which just didn’t exist before. Obviously, I wish my Dad dying had never happened – but I guess as it did, I’m grateful I learnt something along the way.

What is a gratitude practice?

Gratitude practice involves regularly paying attention to the good around us, such as being around nature, meeting friends and time spent with family. 

It’s looking out for those small moments and feeling grateful for them. The cheery smile from a stranger or enjoying a really nice meal. 

Happiness is a feeling we can cultivate. So the more regularly we practice feeling grateful, the more aware we become of the good around us and the happier we feel.

Most of us take our lives for granted (a roof over our head, regular access to food, good health) and we forget to recognise it. Gratitude helps us remember this and all the other positives in life.

The science behind gratitude

There is a lot of science behind practising gratitude and the benefits it brings to both our physical and mental wellbeing. Researchers have found it helps with sleep, moods and overall physical health. 

There is also evidence that it retrains our neural pathways in the brain. Our neural pathways carry messages to and from the brain and are created by learnt behaviour so most of the time we don’t know we’re doing it. They’re not just physical responses, but emotional and behavioural too. 

Think about when you cross the road. In my case, I’m generally listening to music or a podcast and am pretty much in a world of my own. However, I still know to press the button and wait for the green man before I cross. I’m not diving into the road because I’ve done this task so many times my brain knows what to do.

Ever felt anxious when you know you’re going to have to navigate a tricky conversation? That’s because your brain knows this might result in conflict and so has sent that message to the brain and your emotions are heightened.

In the same way, if you’re always noticing negative events and situations, then your brain starts will send messages as soon as these things take place so you’re more aware of them. 

By focusing on feeling grateful when good things happen, then your neural pathways will send happier messages and you’ll be more aware of the positives in life instead. 

4 ways to practice gratitude

Here are 4 ways, I practice gratitude.

1. I follow a process I learnt by reading ‘the Magic’ and keep a gratitude journal where I write out 10 things I feel grateful for and the reasons why. I then read it back and say ‘thank you’ 3 times.

2. I use an App called Gratitude Plus. This sets a daily reminder, which prompts me to fill it in. This is great for being on the go and I use it on my commute.

3. I try to pause throughout the day and feel grateful for small moments. 

4. I reflect on the day before I go to sleep and pick out things that happened which I feel grateful for. It takes seconds and is a really nice way to end the day.

Please note, I’ve included links to Amazon for books that I’ve read. I’m not not suggesting you use this store over another – it’s just to be helpful. 

mind

Why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing: turning our negative patterns around

April 15, 2019
why self-doubt isn't always a bad thing

It might seem bizarre that I’m writing about why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing given that it’s plagued me my whole life. Self-doubt has affected my decision-making, stopped me from pursuing potential opportunities and held me back no end. I spend a considerable amount of time second-guessing myself and overthinking to the point that it can be exhausting.

I’d like to give you a happy ending here with some advice on what I’ve done to turn this around. However, I can’t. Self-doubt is something I work hard on and more than likely will always be part of my life.

Yet, I was thinking recently about how we’re always very quick to complain about our negative characteristics and how they hold us back. But what if there are some positives to being this way too?

I always say life is about balance and like yin and yang, there is darkness and light within everything. Can we look at some of our ‘negative’ traits and see something good?


Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

Brene Brown

Humans aren’t wholly good or wholly bad. We’re complicated and unique. Our backgrounds and experiences shape how we react to situations and events. We also tend to see ourselves quite differently from how other people see us. Are they also seeing our negative patterns in a different way?

So here are 6 reasons why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing

  1. Self-doubt means you care. Have you ever had a sleepless night worrying about whether you’ve done a good enough job or that you said the wrong thing? Well, at least you care. Of course, you can care too much. But surely it’s better to care than be apathetic and lacklustre?
  2. It’s often a way we protect ourselves from what we regard to be challenging situations. Often we use self-doubt to hold us back. However, there are occasions where it’s right to be doubtful because we’re being realistic. We’re having feelings of self-doubt because it’s just not the right time or situation for us.
  3. People who suffer with self-doubt tend to be hard workers in my experience. They work harder because they question themselves, rather than thinking they don’t need to make any effort.
  4. Self-doubt can make you more open because you ask others for advice and guidance. Whilst we shouldn’t judge ourselves by the court of public opinion, it can help to ask other people for input. We don’t always have all the answers.
  5. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a bit of humility. Us self-doubters tend to have it in spades. The opposite of humility is arrogance and I would much rather be around someone with humility than a know-it-all who’s always right.
  6. Brene Brown delivered on of the most popular Ted Talks of all time on the power of vulnerability. Our self-doubt can make us vulnerable, but we can use that vulnerability as a power for good helping us to open up and make greater connections with others.
mind

Are you suffering from imposter syndrome?

March 17, 2019
are you suffering from impostor syndrome?

A few years ago I got promoted at work. Despite being more than qualified, I spent the first year waiting to be pulled into a meeting room and told, ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake’. I lived in a state of panic and regardless of any positive feedback, I still couldn’t relax and enjoy my new role.

My experience is not uncommon. I’ve heard of chief executives googling how to run a company and high profile celebrities talking about feeling like a fraud. It’s so well known, it has its own terminology: imposter syndrome. This is where you believe you’re not good enough despite evidence to the contrary.

What is imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where feelings of self-doubt and low confidence levels are so intense they make you feel like a fraud. Researchers say it’s more common in high achieving women. However, statistics show 70% of millenials have experienced imposter syndrome at some point.

Whilst I think it’s a far nicer character trait to be under confident and overachieving, as opposed to overconfident and underachieving, the reality is that imposter syndrome can stop us from realising our true ambitions without us really realising it.

So what can you do to overcome it?

  • Awareness of an issue is generally the first step to overcoming it. Take notice of your feelings, thought processes and whether you feel a fraud for no real reason.
  • Try tracking your achievements so you can look back and see how far you’ve come. Some people keep a compliments folder or write lists.
  • Recognise lots of other people feel this way and you are not alone. It’s a sign that you care.
  • Open up to friends about how you’re feeling. Their perception is likely to be different to yours and it might be useful to get an impartial view.
  • Focus on adding value in the short term and remember you won’t feel this way forever.

mind

The pre-mortem technique (and how I use it on my overthinking brain)

February 17, 2019
The pre-mortem technique and how I use it on my overthinking brain

I recently went on a leadership training course with work. Admittedly, we did one exercise on how to evacuate a village, but the rest of the time was spent on management skills and decision-making abilities. This is where I learnt the pre-mortem technique and realised how I could use it on my overthinking brain.

What is the pre-mortem technique?

A pre-mortem is opposite of a post-mortem – where you look to see what went wrong after the event. With a post-mortem you do it before. You take a scenario, pull it to pieces, write down everything that can go wrong, then choose the top 2 or 3 and put solutions in place.

For someone with overthinking, worrying tendencies like myself, the pre-mortem technique has helped me work through some of my negative thought processes. We (as in me and my family) have been thinking about moving house and the mere thought sent me into a tailspin of anxious thoughts. What if my son gets bullied at his new nursery (my son is 2)? What if we don’t like the area (we’ll still be in London..)? And even, what if there isn’t a Turkish grocer nearby (erm.. I’m not Turkish)?

I get annoyed with myself because moving to a new house is a privilege and I shouldn’t look for the negatives. Equally, the last time we did it, I found the move to a different area so much better. I end up feeling really frustrated thinking why I am like this?

Writing down my thoughts has really helped me understand what’s whirling around in my overthinking brain. Even though those thoughts may be somewhat irrational (Turkish greengrocer, anyone?), it’s good to address them head on.

I have found the pre-mortem technique useful, particularly when feeling overwhelmed. I always knew my brain worked at double speed, I just didn’t know how to separate my thoughts out and work through them one by one. Challenging my thoughts, understanding what’s going on and writing it all down has alleviated most of my worries. And I now feel positive about our plans to move.

mind

Science behind habits and how to form new ones

January 13, 2019

The biggest myth of habit-forming is that its down to willpower. Actually, habits are created by repetition. This is the science behind habits and how they’re created by our neural pathways.

The language of habits

As someone who has always been more of a fan of instant gratification rather than working towards something, I’ve always assumed I lack enough willpower to get into good habits. I’ve told myself I don’t have enough moral fibre. That extra glass of wine? Yes, please. Fancy skipping a yoga class and going for dinner? Where do I sign up?

This is of course nonsense and outlines how little we really know about what habits are. We either tend to think of habits as goals we want to achieve like learning the piano and going to the gym or the language shaped around them is really negative. Drug habit is used instead of drug addiction or a 20-a-day habit when describing a smoker. We are completely confused as to what habits are.

What are habits?

The reality is habits are the thoughts, actions and behaviours we do every day without generally thinking about it. We brush our teeth, cross over roads and navigate our way to work semi-subconsciously because we have built up the right habits that enable us to do so.

Habits also include the self-beliefs and thoughts that influence what we do, our behaviour and the actions we take. Self-confidence is a habit, as are so many of the thoughts and ideas we have about ourselves.

The science behind habits

All our habits start with a psychological pattern called a habit loop. Our brains are given a cue, which tells your brain to go into automatic mode and start acting out a routine behaviour or thought process. Our brains are then given a reward which is what helps it to keep remembering the habit loop in the future. The reward might be something as small as seeing the green man and crossing the road.

The habit of making part of the brain is called the basal ganglia, which is where our emotions and memories and pattern recognition are developed. Our decisions are made in a different part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. However, as soon as a behaviour becomes automatic, the decision-making part of your brain becomes less active. This means we can do routine behaviours like brushing our teeth and crossing roads without being fully aware of what we’re doing. The basal ganglia takes over and we carry out routine tasks without thinking and use our brain capacity for something else.

Creating new habits

Scientists say it takes anything between two to eight months for a habit to become fully ingrained. This means there is (sadly) an element of commitment needed in order to form new habits. I’ve really found the best way to form good habits is to prepare in advance. Make sure you have everything you need. Otherwise, tiredness sets in and it’s too easy to forgo healthy eating for a takeaway or skip a class you may have planned.

However, one way to shake up your basal ganglia is to try switching around your typical day. So, take a different train to work or walk a different way home. We are all creatures of habit (pun intended). Sometimes all we need is to be more conscious of our thoughts, behaviours and routines.

mind

Kindsight and why you need it

January 9, 2019
kindsight and why you need it

Ever spent hours ruminating over something you said and wished you’d used different words? Or do you look back at the past with regret at something you did with the hope you could turn back time? It sounds like you could do with some kindsight.

What is kindsight?

Kindsight is the practice of looking at the past in a much gentler way. It suggests you reflect upon events and situations and ask what you were learning, rather than using the past as a stick to beat yourself with. For people who struggle with the idea of letting things go (such as me), kindsight is a way to look at what those events were teaching you and then move on.

Kindsight as you probably guessed is a portmanteau of kindness and hindsight. We use hindsight as a way of understanding a situation or event after it has happened thinking about what we would have done differently had we been aware of certain information. It can either be used in a slightly passive way or as a way to beat ourselves up. Kindsight in a sense is taking more responsibility and thinking about the learning – not in a blaming way – but to help us reach a sense of closure.

We can also use kindsight to understand that we can’t always predict or control other people. I have a strong sense of justice and sometimes feel stung when I feel things haven’t been resolved properly. However, I’m not a judge or a jury; it’s not for me to determine how other people should be dealt with. Likewise, waiting for a perceived injustice to be acknowledged also puts the control firmly with others and leaves you powerless: you are left waiting for someone to recognise your feelings, which realistically may never happen. Kindsight helps us to reflect on those situations and accept the behaviours of others is out of our sphere of influence.

Why do we struggle to let things go?

We often use the past to confirm the stories we think about ourselves. It helps us reinforce where we think we’re not good enough or what our perceived weaknesses are. However, it’s very easy to pick out selected memories that reinforce our self-limiting beliefs (whilst selectively forgetting about the ones that don’t). Human beings don’t like to be wrong. This is why we find it so easy to remember moments which clarify our negative thoughts about ourselves.

Benefits of kindsight

  • It helps us reframe the past in more of a positive way
  • It enables healing (by not blaming)
  • We learn from situations and events but in a gentler way. We’re enquiring into what we learnt and not telling ourselves what we should have learnt
  • It gives us a deeper sense of understanding
  • It provides us with acceptance.
  • It gives us closure with kindness
  • And helps us to move on.

We are all much more than the sum of our pasts. It is only the present that matters.

mind

Setting intentions with kindness

December 22, 2018

Setting intentions with kindness (instead of a stick to beat yourself with)

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about setting intentions. They were areas I wanted to achieve, not actual resolutions per se, but a kinder, intentional approach that I would use as a focus and not beat myself up about.

Reader, I lied. I did everything I said I wouldn’t.

I’ve been writing my resolutions/intentions for years now. They’ve spanned my life from a binge-drinking, hot mess to a calmer mother of one. The approach has always been similar: some were things I wanted to achieve such as places to travel and others to try and implement some self-control. I genuinely had a resolution at one stage saying ‘only drink one bottle of wine on nights out – two on special occasions’. Bridget Jones was an amateur in comparison to me…

Yet I also can see a trend. When I wrote down a desire to travel to interesting places, then it happened or if it didn’t, there was a good reason why. But, when it was self-criticism wrapped up in the form of self-improvement, then those resolutions rolled over into yet another year of self-loathing.

Changing language into one of kindness

If I look back on my intentions from last year, then I haven’t really achieved any of them and that makes me feel bad about myself. However, if I reflect on the year, then I’ve made some good things happen. My relationship with my son just gets better, my job has changed to one that suits me personally and I have travelled to some amazing places. Yes, I could have done more yoga, eaten more salads and blogged more regularly but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?

So, this year, I’m changing the language. I’m setting intentions with kindness.

My intentions for the year ahead

  • I plan to nourish my body – this might be with good food, yoga, running and sleep.
  • I want to deepen my spiritual practice. I might do that through mindfulness, yoga, or taking a walk in my local park and simply enjoying nature.
  • I want to create more content – and enjoy the process. I’m enjoying learning new creative tactics through work and I love feeling my brain is expanding.
  • And most of all, I want to focus on enjoying the everyday. A little kiss from my son. My morning commute saying hello to my fellow early birds. Seeing the love my child has for my mother. A cup of coffee from my husband. Recognising and feeling gratitude for the tiny moments because they are what makes a life.
mind

How to make change happen

November 18, 2018
how to make change happen

In my professional life, I work in change communications. I help organisations move their employees through a change process often involving new ways of working. Yet, ironically when it comes to my personal life, a change agent I am not. I don’t like change and my tendency to overthink means I can struggle with indecision even when it comes to the smallest things. I worry about the outcomes and lose confidence in my own judgement. I’m convinced most people don’t like change, but it’s not something we readily like to admit to for fear of being seen as boring or stuck in our ways. However, it is something that needs to happen. We need to evolve and find new ways of doing things so that we can move forward in life. So how do we make change happen?

What is change?

Change is the process or act of doing something different. It broadly falls into two categories: change that we create for ourselves, and change that happens to us. Change we create for ourselves is thought to be the more positive version because we are in control. However, what if the thought of change causes us to stall? In some respects it can be easier to have change happen to us – we just need to react. However, in order to really feel happy and fulfilled, it’s important to take responsibility for our own lives and make change happen.

Why don’t we like change?

The reason why humans don’t like change seems to be in part down to the way our brains are wired. Scientists have shown we find a known negative outcome less stressful than dealing with uncertainty. We can also put huge investments of time, money and energy into our decision making. This makes it hard for our egos to walk away from a situation that no longer serves us. It’s why so many of us have stayed in relationships for longer than we should have done or overlooked opportunities in favour of the status quo.

There is also a school of thought that says unless change can offer twice as many gains as a loss, then people would rather stick with what they know. So our brains need to see something as being twice as positive in order to take action.

However, getting over the wrong decision is part of the human experience and something most people do very well. It offers us learning opportunities and helps us grow. This suggests that even when change doesn’t work, it’s still hugely beneficial.

Becoming more comfortable with change

In organisational change, we know that the process must be managed because people will not accept change overnight. It needs to be done slowly, communicated properly and thoughtfully.

There are principles within change management that can be applied to our own decision-making. We can carry out a pre-mortem exercise which is a technique where you think of all the reasons why something might fail. This helps identify areas to be aware of and put solutions in place before any activity begins.

We also need to be aware that so much of our decision making is based on past experiences and habit. This is one of the main reasons why organisations tend to invest huge sums of money into a change process and their employees go back to doing exactly the same thing they did before. It’s habit that forms our neural pathways and creates thinking patterns that mean we tend to do the same thing over and over again.

In order to really become comfortable with change, we need to create new neural pathways. We need to retrain our brains into new habits. So for the next month, try to do something a bit different every day. Rewire the brain to enjoy change.

5 ways to make change happen (and feel good about your decision making…)

  1. Recognise that change doesn’t have to be a right/wrong decision. You can change your job, house etc – and keep changing it until you find what’s right for you.
  2. Write a list of pros and cons so you’re really comfortable with your decision.
  3. Understand that not taking a course of action is actually a decision in itself. So by not doing one thing, you are making an active decision to stick with the status quo. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. It’s just helped me when I’ve felt in a comfort zone to recognise staying in it, is a decision too.
  4. Remember that change isn’t linear. We all go through ups and downs, and zig zag throughout life.
  5. We all change in our lives. The best thing we can do is understand life has a way of turning out for the best and ride the wave.
mind

The trap of right/wrong thinking

July 22, 2018
trap of right/wrong thinking

An energy healer recently said to me that I was doing a lot of right/wrong thinking. I had explained I was struggling with indecision to the point I felt stuck. Life decisions were becoming impossible to make – because I was paralysed by the idea of it turning out badly.

I knew I had fallen out of love with my job and my energy wasn’t quite there. However, instead of feeling like this could be a new opportunity, I was viewing it as any wrong decision could lead to financial ruin. I’d started to dream about a new life outside of London – but the idea crippled me thinking of all I would give up.

Decisions were overwhelming me to the point that I couldn’t see the wood from the trees – and as a result I was stuck in a mire of knowing things weren’t quite right. I just didn’t know what to do.

I had fallen into the trap of right/wrong thinking

Right/wrong thinking is a thought process where you think there are only two possible outcomes – right or wrong. It’s a black and white approach and only offers one solution for a positive outcome.

I had let my search for the right answers overwhelm me to the point that I had lost the ability to see clearly. I was looking so hard for one answer, I’d forgotten there may be other ways. It had become so crucial to me to get the answer right, it was making me fearful of change and keeping me in a state of indecision.

The reality is life isn’t black and white. It exists in shades of grey. There are many options and ideas open to us and more than one way to happiness. Sometimes taking the first step leads to new opportunities – we don’t need to have all the answers.

Polarised thinking

Ann Silvers is a US-based counsellor. She describes the right/wrong pattern as dichotomous thinking and writes about the unhelpfulness of polarised thinking.

Dichotomous thinking can create excruciating fear and anxiety anytime there is a decision to be made because of a belief that there is only an absolutely right direction to go in and everything else would take you in an absolutely wrong direction.

Ann Silvers

How to change your thinking patterns

The first step of changing your thinking patterns is to become aware of them. The second is that being aware of them probably isn’t going to change your patterns overnight. They’ve become a habit and habits take time to break. None of these things are insurmountable though, you can move out of your comfort zone and it doesn’t need to be done drastically. Taking baby steps forward so you regain confidence in your decision-making will help.

Becoming aware of my thought patterns has made me recognise when I am overwhelming myself with making the perfect decision. Life is full of options: the secret is to being open to recognising them.

mind

Working with the lunar cycle

July 11, 2018
working with the lunar cycle

The moon is responsible for lighting at the night’s sky, as well as the earth’s water. The moon’s gravitational force pulls on water in the oceans and creates tides. Spiritually, the moon looks after our emotions: controlling our desires, worries and dreams.  It’s said that as our bodies are made up of 85% water, the gravitational pull of the moon and the lunar cycle affects us too. The moon goes through several phases as it passes from new into full. Regardless of personal beliefs, working with the lunar cycle and the patterns of the mon offers the chance to focus on intention setting, working towards goals and letting go of what no longer serves you.

A simple guide to working with the lunar cycle

The moon goes through four major stages during the lunar cycle. Each one offers an opportunity for reflection. To harness the moon, use a lunar calendar to identify when each moon falls in the month. This will vary slightly by geographical location.

New moon

The new moon is the start of the lunar cycle. This is when there is no visible moon and the sky seems dark. Think of the new moon as a time of new beginnings, fresh starts and a blank page to work from. It’s a time to reset, refocus and to think about what you would like to see in your life.

Use the new moon to:

  • set intentions (situations and ideas you would like to happen)
  • visualise how you would like to see the future
  • create a vision board either using a pinboard and cut out images or Pinterest

Waxing moon

The waxing moon looks like a crescent. It’s time to take initiative with your intentions and turn those ideas into plans.

Use the waxing moon to:

  • network
  • look for synchronicity
  • work with others towards your vision

Full moon

The full moon is when the moon shines brightest. It’s a time when we celebrate what we’ve achieved and release what no longer works or is holding us back. Emotions run high during a full moon so it’s important to go slower with decision making.

Use the full moon to:

  • celebrate what you have achieved
  • recognise patterns or elements of life that no longer serve you and release them

Waning moon

The waning moon is again a crescent moon. This is a time for contemplation and reflection.

Use the waning moon to:

  • create space for the new
  • gratitude for all you have
  • rest and recuperate ready for the next stage
mind

How to form good habits

June 23, 2018
how to form good habits

I’m the patron saint of good intentions. I have lots of ideas and plans, which tend to fall by the wayside. The reason: I haven’t got into good habits.

It’s easy to stick to bad habits and harder to take on new behaviours. Our brain has learnt patterns and likes to stick with what it knows.

The good news is, there is a process to all this. We can form new habits.

How do we form habits?

A habit is a type of behaviour we do on autopilot without needing to think. They are  created through repeat behaviours until they become second nature.

Habit breaking is hard, purely because we’re not always aware of them.

To create a new habit instead of the old one, we need to repeat the same behaviour over and over again. We need to be consistent and create a setting to act as a behaviour cue. Once the behaviour pattern becomes ingrained in our brain, it will eventually become a habit.

However, it takes time.

The perceived wisdom was that it took 21 days to form a new habit. The reality is more than three times that amount. Researchers looked at how long it took people to reach a limit of operating on autopilot when for performing an initially new behaviour. They found it takes an average of 66 days. Although, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t much compared with changing habits of a lifetime.

How to get started with forming new habits

  1. Set an intention – decide what habit you would like to break and replace it with. Or what new habit you would like to form. Create a clear vision in your mind and decide how you will know when you’ve achieved it.
  2. Make a commitment – write it down, tell other people and do any preparations you need to in advance.
  3. Start off small – learn how to form habits and then move on to bigger commitments.
  4. Create a context – train your brain into behaving a certain way by designing a scenario around it. Stick to it.
  5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  6. Celebrate small successes – congratulate yourself on creating new habits. It’s a great achievement and your brain will start to recognise the reward.
mind

Six ways to boost your confidence (that actually work)

June 21, 2018
ways to boost your confidence

The biggest thing I wish I’d known in my 20s is that confidence is something you develop; rather than being a permanent effect of your life situation. I spent far too much time feeling restricted and paralysed by my lack of confidence often to the point of just giving up. I constantly compared myself to others – especially those who seemed so much more confident and thought opportunities only happened to people like them and not ones like me.

 My lack of confidence was also a story I told myself and used as a form of self-protection. It was easy to hide behind so I didn’t have to push myself out of my comfort zone. When things went well, I put it down to luck and everything else, I blamed on low self-esteem.

It was only when I realised that confidence is something I could control, that I decided to do something about it. I started to recognise confidence isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something we need to develop and there are ways to boost it. Confidence is essentially a muscle that we grow and build upon.

Six ways to boost your confidence

Affirmations

There’s a reason why affirmation cards are so popular and that’s because they work. Positive affirmations help retrain our brain away from negative self-talk to thinking better about ourselves. There are lots of cards available online or write your own and put them somewhere you’ll see them regularly like your bathroom mirror or front door.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Perception of confidence is relative and only something we can determine for ourselves. There are some people who come across as being widely confident, who aren’t; and others who appear much less self-assured but have an inner strength. I constantly compared myself and judged myself on what other people thought of me. Whilst feedback can be hugely beneficial, it’s fundamentally important to find a sense of your own self and determine your own criteria of success.

Practice being confident

We all know the phrase, ‘fake it until you make it’ and essentially that’s what we need to do – we need to practice being confident. I used to be really horribly shy and felt awkward around people I didn’t know. With my friends though, I’d be the life and soul of the party so I came across as being aloof and only interested in people I knew already. I made myself be friendly to people even when I was cringing and dying inside. The more I did it, the easier it became and I feel pretty confident when meeting new people now.

Positive body language

Amy Cuddy, an American psychologist gave a Ted Talk all about how standing in a power pose will boost your feelings of confidence. It’s not always appropriate to break into a Wonder Woman pose but just smiling and standing upright are instant confidence boosters.

Be conscious of negative self-talk

I made a conscious decision to stop the running commentary in my head criticising my every move. It still appears from time to time – but I am more able to recognise it as just a voice in my head and not my reality. Try writing a list of the qualities you really like about yourself and keep them to hand (such as the notes section of your phone) so you can refer to it whenever you need a boost.

Take baby steps

Remember confidence is something we grow and develop over our entire lives.  It’s a habit we need to get into. Make sure you check in regularly and reflect on how far you’ve come. Each little step forward is helping your confidence to grow and grow.

mind

Learning to be brave

May 8, 2018

Being brave

At the beginning of the year, I thought about changes I wanted to make in my life and to stop letting fear stand in my way. I realised I was going to need to start learning to be brave if I was going to live a more authentic life.

Part of transitioning from my 20s into my 30s and beyond has been to recognise that actions have consequences and that not everyone is interested in my opinions. Along the way though, I’ve perhaps taken that to the other extreme. I’m starting to realise I lost the risk-taker, the dreamer and the person who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she believed in. I’ve started to couch my words so as not to offend – and whilst it’s good to think of other people’s feelings – along the way, I’ve lost the ability to speak my own truth.

Becoming vulnerable

It’s easy to play it safe and keep ourselves protected. We don’t have to open ourselves up or make ourselves feel vulnerable. The downside is of course, that you don’t allow yourself to feel truly fulfilled and you never know what might have been.

When I first starting writing, just putting words out there felt intimidating. I worried about judgement – both my own and from others. Pushing myself out there is a leap of faith and doesn’t always sit so comfortably with me. Change can be intimidating. It can be slow and we put barriers in the way to make it even slower.

Learning to be brave

So how do us once rebels start living in a place where we feel more confident in our decision-making and abilities? Is there a way we can get back to becoming ourselves? We’ve all read stories about women adventurers who threw in a high-powered job in finance to become a Mongolia horse seller or set up a best selling bee keeping instagram business. But what do you do when you’ve got bills to pay, kids to collect from nursery and life is just about getting through each day with the minimum amount of stress possible?

The good news is we don’t all have to go through dramatic life changes to become braver. What we need to do is have the desire to reclaim the person we once were. We can start moving forward by remembering who we are, what we want (try remembering the feeling you want to create) and inching towards it taking incremental baby steps.

And what I’m learning is that with each small step I take, the easier it is and the little bit braver I become.

mind

Why I practice gratitude

April 11, 2018
why I practice gratitude

A few years ago, I realised I was stuck in a bit of rut. I tended to focus on the negative and had a blamey attitude. I got frustrated easily and often felt like the world was conspiring against me. Other people just seemed to fall into new opportunities, where as I was always trying to dig myself out of a hole… I knew I need to make some changes so I started to explore new ways of thinking and living. One of those ideas included a gratitude practice.

A friend introduced me to the Secret. I’m going to be honest, some bits I liked and some I found overly materialistic so I completely get that it’s not for everyone. However, the bit that stuck was about developing a gratitude practice. I decided to keep a gratitude diary and each morning wrote down ten things that made me happy and the reasons why. I then read my list out loud.

My gratitude practice completely changed how I see the world.

How my gratitude practice changed my life for the better

I let go of feeling frustrated.

If my train was delayed, I could see it was such a tiny thing to feel annoyed about and in the grand scheme of things, it just didn’t matter. I could apologise if I was late and people would understand.

I saw my life as a full picture.

Yes, I may have had bad things happen but I also have so much happening which is positive too. It helped me gain a more balanced viewpoint.

I felt more in control of my own life.

I felt less as though events were conspiring against me and more optimistic. I now realise I have responsibility for my thought processes.

Small things made me smile.

A friendly chat with a stranger or an offer of help from a colleague lifted my spirits and brought me joy. I noticed what was right in front of me.

It felt like the world was more on my side.

I could be running late and my train would be magically delayed by just the right amount of time for me to step straight on. It felt like life was in harmony.

I started to count my blessings.

I noticed how much I have and how lucky I am.

And as a result, I’m much happier.

mind

Six ways to help you step out of your comfort zone

April 3, 2018
six ways to help you step out of your comfort zone

What if I Fall, Oh but my darling what if you fly.” – Erin Hanson

Ever have that niggling feeling that there’s something more out there for you? Things feel pretty much ok – but you’re a bit bored. Are you telling yourself that things are good enough? Whilst really feeling that it’s not good enough really. If you’re saying yes, then it sounds like you’re in a comfort zone. Comfort zones can be magical places keeping us safe and secure. They help protect us and look after us. However, there are times though when we know we’re capable of more and it’s time to step out and reach our potential.

How to move out of your comfort zone.

So how do you move out of a comfort zone? Here are 6 ways to help.

  1. Think about what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail. It’s easy to dismiss our dreams as feeling unrealistic and unachievable. But, what would you do if there was no way you could fail? Try to think about what you would do if time and money weren’t issues and you had everything you needed at your disposal.
  2. Focus on how you want to feel. We don’t always have a big goal in life and sometimes we’re stuck in a rut, which we want to get out of. What does success really mean to you? Focussing on how we want to feel can help give us clarity on what we really want.
  3. Take baby steps. I used to be painfully shy. I felt awkward around people I didn’t know and gave off a bit of a negative vibe. I started to overcome it by being friendly, changing my body language and being more approachable. It took time and work on my part, however, I’m much more relaxed around new people now.
  4. Go for progress, not the finished product. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to just start and refine as you go along. Otherwise, I have a tendency to focus on perfection and put so many obstacles in the way, that it becomes overwhelming.
  5. Become aware of excuses. Notice what you are telling yourself. Making excuses is a way of procrastinating and avoiding leaving your comfort zone.
  6. Live with discomfort. Comfort zones are comfortable. The downside is that they don’t allow you to reach your full potential. It can be daunting stepping out – just remember this is helping you grow.
mind

Let go of limiting beliefs

March 31, 2018

Letting limiting beliefs take over

After my Dad died, it hit me how life was short and I shouldn’t let anything stop me from living my dreams. My Dad had retired at 55 and spent the next 12 years of his life working as a walking guide across Europe. He took a chance (admittedly one with a final salary pension) and lived the rest of his days doing something he loved. 18 months have now passed and with the initial rawness of grief subsiding, I can tell my feelings of carpe diem are subsiding too. I’m slipping back into old habits of admiring people who are making exciting life changes, whilst telling myself inwardly, I could never do something like that and letting my limiting beliefs take over.

What are limiting beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are essentially negative beliefs we have about ourselves, which holds us back in some way. Our limiting beliefs can hold us back from seeing opportunities or changing from our present circumstances. I actually only heard the phrase ‘limiting beliefs’ a few years ago and it made me realise how many times I’d held myself back because I’d decided I wasn’t good enough. I recognised there were situations I’d self-sabotaged or left unchanged all due to this narrative in my head.

One of the frustrating things about these types of beliefs is that most of the time they’re just not true. They tend to be built from events in the past, which we then use to dictate our decision-making. Our ego likes to be right and limiting beliefs in a sense protect us from stepping out and doing something new. How often have we heard our friends use self-depreciating language and think, that is so far from reality? We’re just not so good at saying it about ourselves.

Let go of limiting beliefs

I’ve read up a lot on limiting beliefs with the aim of finding a magic wand to eliminate them. There are a lot of different approaches from therapy to understand where the beliefs started, reminding yourself of past successes and/or using affirmation cards to change neural pathways and get into better habits with thinking patterns.

What I’ve found to help is to become more aware of what those beliefs are and identify them in my thought processes. Every time I notice I’m telling myself, ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘you don’t deserve this’, I try and recognise that it’s just a limiting belief – and not necessarily the truth. I find my actions change as a result.

I’m 43 years old so I’ve had a long time to build up limiting beliefs. I don’t think they will change overnight. However, becoming more aware of their existence is enabling me to consciously change old patterns. And that feels like a real step in the right direction.

mind

The power of daydreaming

March 28, 2018
power behind daydreaming

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Edgar Allan Poe

I’ve always been a daydreamer. Time passes me by before I startle realising that I’ve been lost in my own thoughts. I daydream about all sorts of things. I have ideas about the future and how conversations might go. I think about my dream house and how I want to decorate it. I imagine myself in a shared workspace typing away in a new environment. And I daydream about my little boy and all the changes he will go through in life.

Science behind daydreaming

It turns out, my levels of daydreaming aren’t particularly unusual. According to a Harvard University study, the average person daydreams for approximately half of their waking hours. This seems an incredible amount of time even for a committed daydreamer like me and suggests our minds are wandering even when we’re not consciously aware of it.

The Harvard University researchers looked in detail at the correlation between daydreaming and creative problem-solving. They gave 145 students a creative task where they had two minutes to list as many potential uses for everyday objects such as clothes hangers. They were then split into four different groups. Three groups were given a 12-minute break consisting of either resting in a quiet room, performing a difficult short-term memory task, or conducting a task so boring it would allow their minds to wander. The final control group had no break at all.

Each group was then asked to repeat the earlier task of thinking of as many additional uses to the items they had been exposed to. The students who had been given the chance to daydream thought of 41% more uses for these everyday items than the other three groups. However, where students were shown new items (ie, ones they hadn’t seen earlier), they all performed similarly.

The research seems to indicate the group who had 12 minutes of daydreaming time invented more possibilities for these everyday items because they had space to let their subconscious take over. Their minds were given the time to mull over the problem and come up with new solutions. This is why the effect was limited to those items that the subjects had previously been asked about. It seems that by taking our minds away from a task, we are freeing up our subconscious and giving it the chance to come up with new ideas. There is power behind our daydreaming.

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory at the University of British Columbia studies the subconscious part of the brain. Scientists at UBC feel that daydreaming is part of a creative thinking process, which gives us the eureka moments that analytical thinking can’t. Our logical and analytical thought process tend to base decision-making on past experience and risk assessments. Our creative side looks for new ideas and possibilities and shouldn’t be ignored.

Power behind daydreaming

For me, daydreaming offers an insight into my subconscious. I sometimes let my limiting beliefs take over and use my logical brain to stop myself from doing things. I’m good at putting barriers in the way. I use my past experiences to convince myself my ideas are unachievable and I should be happy with what I have. My daydreams are telling me a different story though. They’re showing me what I really want and maybe it’s time to turn those thoughts into action. This is the power behind daydreaming.

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