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.