WTF is conscious engineering?

In this digital age, we are constantly bombarded with new messages, ideas, thoughts, and behaviors on how to be happy and healthy, which can get very overwhelming. Especially for those dealing with a health condition, all the information about diet changes, exercises, desk adjustments, etc. can put us in decision paralysis where there's too many choices and we end up not taking any action at all. 

Conscious engineering is a term coined by Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of MindValley, in his book, "The Code of the Extraordinary Mind" to describe a system of learning that can help us choose which new (and old) ideas we actually want to utilize to help us become healthier, happier individuals faster.  

Our beliefs shape our habits. 

Our beliefs, which Lakhiani calls, "models of reality," shape how we think about the world, the people in our lives, and ourselves. For example, "a good family consists of parents who are married," or "I'll be happy if I lost a few pounds" are models of reality.

Our habits, which Lakhiani calls, "systems of living," are the activities that we partake in to maintain our models of reality.

For example, with the model of reality that a "real" family consists of parents who are married, you might focus a lot of your energy and create systems of living that include moving in with a long-term boyfriend in the hopes of moving your relationship to marriage. Or you might develop systems of living that involve treating your partner as indifferently or nastily as possible because you want a divorce but you "can't."   

For the "I'll be happy if I lost a few pounds" model of reality, your systems of living may involve working out, going to yoga with friends, or eating ice cream and chastising yourself after. 

Conscious engineering allows to you sift through the noise and choose what you want to learn. 

In our everyday lives, we are constantly learning whether we know it or not. When there's a new fashion or diet fad out, some of us just learn and internalize it as "something we should do." We just think, "I should be dieting," and every time we reach for the ice cream in the freezer, we chastise ourselves. And this actually contributes to our stress! 

We also carry many beliefs and habits from when we were kids that may not even be working for us as adults anymore. (I talk about my old childhood belief about productivity in the video below.)

Most things that we learn can be categorized as either a model of reality or a system of living. Conscious engineering is a way of learning that encourages you think of the things you learn everyday as one of these two things.

Let's see how...

Back to the "I'll be happy if I lose a few pounds" example - you notice that this is a model of reality that all of your friends have adopted. But you take a look at your own life and realize that you don't really like the idea of "dieting," you don't like chastising yourself, and you'd much rather focus your energy on doing healthy things as opposed to losing pounds.

So you turn this model of reality around into, "I am happy now and am living an active lifestyle," and you adopt habits that fit in with this belief. 

Imagine how you would feel!

As you go about your day, see if you can categorize new ideas and thoughts you hear into either models of reality or systems of living, and then decide if it's something that you'd like to incorporate into your own life or not. This will help you cut down on all the "noise" and suggestions and ideas out there so that you can finally take inspired action! 

To learn more about conscious engineering and how I applied it to my own life when it came to addressing my old crippling and stressful beliefs about "productivity," check out the video below: 

Follow me on Facebook to see these videos come out live every Monday and Thursday from April to June! facebook.com/damonwellness

For more info about coaching with me, please visit: damonwellness.com/empowered

Tune in to Your Future Self for Guidance, Confidence, and Optimism

Do you ever feel lost, unsure of yourself, or frustrated at your lack of progress towards your goals? This Future Self exercise is a quick way to give yourself a boost of guidance, confidence, and optimism. 

Many of us carry very old mindsets that make it difficult for us to act like our future selves today. Most of the time this is due to fear or shame triggered by old brain patterns that have now become automatic due to years and years of repetitive use.

Doing this Future Self exercise can actually help your brain create new thinking and behavior patterns that reflect your Future Self. The more you practice this exercise, the more times the patterns get repeated and the more automatic these new patterns become...until you actually find that you ARE your future self! 

Step 1: Create a clear picture of your future self. 

Think about what he/she looks like, feels like, does for a living, does for fun. Think about what kinds of friends and family he/she has. Think of as many details as you can. 

If you don't know the answers to the above question yet, that's ok! Give yourself time, space, and patience to form the picture in your head. Then check out the following tip...

Tip #1: Concentrate on the feelings. 

It's much harder to answer the question of "who" your future self is compared to what your future self wants to be feeling. So try asking yourself, "How do I want to feel in the future?" Loved? Valued? Worthy? Like you're having fun every day? 

Step 2: Imagine yourself being your future self. 

Close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths, then really imagine being your future self. Immerse yourself in feeling like future you and doing the things that future you would be doing, seeing the things that future you sees, smelling the smells future you smells, etc. Try to use all five senses - see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. 

Tip #2: Make sure you're in first person.

Our brains have this really cool feature that puts us either in third person point of view, in which you are essentially watching yourself in a scene, or first person point of view, in which you see out of your own eyes. When we dissociate into third person, our subconscious minds are removing the emotions attached to the experience, which can be useful during negative experiences.

But for the future self exercise, where you want to feel all the positive feelings, you want to heighten all the feelings and senses by being in first person. You're basically tricking your brain in this stage to thinking that you are already are future self. 

Step 3: Repeat as much as you can. 

By tricking your brain into thinking that you already are your future self, the more your actions, perspectives, emotions, and energies will be like that of future self on a day-to-day basis. And by the Law of Attraction, by emitting the mindsets and energies of future self, you are attracting more of what your future self wants. And this means that you will reach the success you associate with your future self much sooner than if you had never heard of this exercise! 

This exercise can take however long you want. I usually do this every night before I go to sleep and every morning right when I wake up and I'm still in bed. 

Tip #3: Instead of reaching for your phone in the morning, try doing this exercise for 3 minutes instead. 

Start your morning off on an uplifted, optimistic, and confident note by checking in with your future self. Sometimes, during this exercise, the coolest ideas will come to you that will help you move infinitely closer to actualizing future self! (Pst...that's your intuition talking to you!) 

For the month of April, I've been doing a mini web series on Facebook Live about mindset shifts to help you reach success faster. Follow me here. I post videos every Monday and Thursday - hope to see you there! 

Check out one of my Facebook Live videos about Future Self here: 

 

 

 

 

Spring is for Spring Cleaning...Your Mind!

Did you know that we all think about 50,000 thoughts a day? That's 35 thoughts a minute! 

Out of those 50,000 thoughts a day, 90% of them are automatic. When was the last time you thought about how to put your shoes on? Or how to start your car? So many of our thoughts need to go on autopilot,, or our brains would explode from all that slow processing of decisions to make each day.

Out of these automatic thoughts, when was the last time you slowed down to examine whether each of your thoughts still worked for you or not? 

Let's take a look at this example:

So first, your brain receives a stimulus, like seeing yet another email notification from a thread of emails that doesn't have anything to do with you but you're for some reason cc'ed on it. We automatically get annoyed, but behind that feeling of annoyance are a million automatic signals that were sent to your brain and from your brain to your organs and muscles.

So your eyes see the notification, they send a bunch of signals to your brain, and your brain interprets a picture out of it.

Your brain then assigns a meaning to this picture, and this meaning automatically triggers a cascade of other automatic pathways that cause your heart to pound, your blood pressure to rise, your face muscles to twitch, and your mood to feel extremely annoyed. 

And then what happens when 10 minutes after you get back into your work, you get another email notification? And what if a coworker that you had already previously decided was super annoying decided to pop into your cubicle to tell you something? 

You're going to go into reading this new email with an annoyed energy, and possible respond while assuming a bunch of things and using short, curt language. And you would probably respond to this coworker the same way. 

The coworker slinks away hanging his head and muttering things about you before you realize that he only came over to tell you that an important meeting today was pushed up. 

This all happened in a couple minute timeframe - imagine what goes on in an entire day...and then day after day? No wonder there are some nasty coworkers at work, right? They're all just on autopilot, too! 

If you're not feeling as successful as you want to be,

Or that you never have the time or energy to do things you really enjoy, it may be worth your time to sit down with your thoughts, discover which ones are on autopilot, and whether you want to replace them with something more empowering or not. 

Let's say that once you start assessing your daily work habits, you notice that you get annoyed each time an email notification pops up on your desktop as you're working. You start thinking about why you need those notifications on your desktop in the first place, and your automatic thought is, "Well, I have to - my work requires it." 

Or does it? 

Unless you're in a position that requires you to be on email 100% of the time, like customer support, you really don't need to constantly check and reply to emails. Emails, texts, and phone notifications are the top productivity sucks in today's world as they're so distracting.

So after realizing that the belief that you have to always be checking your email is an old one and not useful to you anymore, you decide to set up an autoresponder telling people you only check your emails at designated times throughout the day, that you'll respond as soon as possible, or they can contact you with a phone number you've provided instead if they have an emergency.

9 times out of 10, people won't even call, reinforcing the fact that very rarely are emails emergencies. You'll find yourself getting so much more quality work done in much less time. 

Take some time this week for Spring Cleaning.

To take a look at your beliefs and behavior patterns around all the activities you partake in each day and all the roles that you fill, from parent to child to coworker to employee. 

You'll start noticing that there are more blocks in your life than you think, and once you are aware of them, you can start adapting them into new ones that fit better into your life today. 

For the entire month of April, I will be on Facebook Live every Monday and Thursday, walking you through one of the ways to do this Spring Cleaning that reduces overwhelm and frustration. I never said this was an easy process - it's oftentimes messy and confusing. So come join us on Facebook and get support from my videos and from my community as you go through your process. 

You are safe.

When finding old patterns that you want to change, try your best to figure out where it came from and why it started. Usually our brains first adopted the pattern as a response to fear - it sensed danger at the time and therefore was trying to keep us safe. So one of the most helpful affirmations that I've discovered is, "I am safe. I deserve to feel safe and loved, and there's no need to be afraid of that anymore. I am safe."

 

If you want more support in releasing old blocks and reaching success faster...

Check out my new coaching packages here! No matter what success means to each of us, we are all holding on to some old thoughts and behavior patterns that we first developed in response to (good or bad) stressful events and kept using and reinforcing over years and years of repetitive and automatic use. 

With my coaching packages, you will learn to suss out the old patterns that you don't want to keep anymore in a systematic manner, choose new ones that are more aligned with you and your goals, and maintain these new patterns for long-term success in your life and career. 

Contact me to learn more! 

 

 

Get More Work Done by Highlighting Your To-Do List

Are you the type of person who starts the day with a to-do list? How many items are usually on that list? 

We often overestimate how much we can get done in a day and underestimate how much time it takes to do each task. 

If you have 10 items on your to-do list, and you think each task will only take on average 30 min each, but in reality, you end up needing an hour to finish each, that's 10 hours of work (without breaks or meals) that you just scheduled for yourself in one day. 

So through the day, you cross things off the list, which feels good, but in the end, there's still a bunch of items that don't get crossed off. And that doesn't feel so good. Just thinking about a half crossed-off list makes me want to sigh in frustration. We can tell ourselves, "Well, at least I got those 5 or 6 things done. Better than nothing," but our energy is just not happy. 

And as much as we say we don't take our work home with us, we do end up taking our energy. If at the end of a workday, you leave your office feeling neutral, meh, or down, you may be going home and interacting with all the other people in your life for the rest of the day with that energy. And energy can affect and absorb other people's energies. 

The next day, when you return to work, maybe you look at yesterday's unfinished list, but it brings back feelings of annoyance and frustration. Maybe you've gotten really good at brushing aside those feelings, but isn't it annoying to have to do so?

What if you could go home feeling GREAT every day? 

So here's the secret:

Grab a highlighter. Or colored pen. Or marker. Or whatever. Something colorful that draws your eye. 

Then say in your head, "Today is going to be a successful day." 

Take a good look at your to-do list, and pick THREE tasks that you NEED to finish today in order to for you to feel like a boss today. 

After that, say in your head, "Today will be successful if I finish these THREE tasks." 

Then set out to finish those three tasks. 

You're going to feel so great and successful as you do those three tasks that you will finish them efficiently and excitedly. And after you finish all three, you're going to tell yourself, "Wow, I got these done already. Today is a successful day no matter what happens next because I already got these done!" 

And that will make you feel so good that you'll probably start working on the rest of that list with the same efficient and excited energy. Before you know it, at the end of the day, you may have all things on your to-do list crossed off! 

Isn't that exiting?? 

So no need to shorten your to-do list. No need to feel like you're not trying to get enough stuff done. All you're doing is you're giving your brain a new perspective. You're telling yourself what you need to do to have a successful day. Powerful words, right? 

Watch this on Facebook:

Three Tips to Reduce Stress: Check Your Notification Settings

In today’s digital age, we are all constantly connected. Need something for work? Send an email. Want to tell a friend you’re thinking about them? Text some emojis. See it’s someone’s birthday? Send them a Happy Birthday on Facebook. Someone’s food pic looks delicious? Double tap the screen.

Communication is at the tip of your fingertips…and in the corner of your eyeballs.

Think about it…how many times a day do you check your phone? How many times does a notification pop up on your desktop? And how many minutes of work are you really getting done with all the popups and side-eye glance at every ping on your phone.

A study from UC Irvine showed that just 20 minutes of interrupted work significantly increased stress levels, frustration, workload, effort, and pressure.

When was the last time you worked completely uninterrupted for 20 minutes?

So do yourself a favor and minimize your distractions with the following tips:

Turn off your desktop notifications.

I had notifications for calendar changes, Facebook, and emails set up on my desktop, and I never even thought twice about taking them off. I just kept annoyingly clearing them off the screen every time they popped up, then getting more and more stressed that I wasn’t getting any good work done.

So here are some instructions to make it easier for you: if you use a Mac (https://support.apple.com/kb/ph18740?locale=en_US), and if you use Windows (http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/disable-app-notifications-windows-10).  Apparently Facebook notifications are sometimes provided by Chrome too, so here are instructions for getting rid of those: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-turn-off-google-chrome-desktop-notifications/

Check your phone notification settings, too.

Do you have any apps where the notifications are turned on but they really don’t need to be. For example, Groupon,

What about Snapchat? Facebook?

Gasp…email?? Yes, breathe…then read on.

Set up an automated email message…

Commit to only checking your email at designated times throughout the day (try 9am, 12pm, and 3pm) and set up an automated email message that tells people when you check your emails. Offer them an alternative way, e.g. phone number, to reach you in case of emergency.

And guess what? 9 times out of 10, it’s not an emergency and you won’t get a phone call.

Imagine all the work you can get done knowing that most of the emails you feel so stressed to answer immediately are not even real emergencies!

 

For one day this week, try turning off your notifications entirely, and pay attention to how your stress levels, productivity and mood improve!

 

To watch this on video, check out my latest Facebook live video.

 

Stress reduction and ways to improve productivity are HUGE topics in my private group coaching program, called "Work Well, Live Well." If you'd like to learn more, please feel free to comment below or private message me!

If your company may be interested in stress management and productivity workshops or private coaching for their employees, please have them visit damonwellness.com.