Turning Treacle into Water

You are amazing.

I know you don’t believe me.

You have probably battled your whole life.

You probably feel rubbish because you don’t seem to be able to achieve what those around you can.

Maybe you feel that you are the only person in the office who doesn’t have confidence.

Maybe you feel like others at college or Uni find the work so much easier than you.

Maybe you hate the way you look and feel that you have no self-control to change it.

And yet…despite feeling that way, here you are, reading this.

You are a fighter. You just don’t realise it because the of the way you measure success.

But the thing about fighting and working hard, is that it is training. It develops good muscles. All that training counts. It builds up your strength.

You are superhuman. You just don’t realise it yet.

If all that resistance is moved out of the way, that strength that you have developed effectively makes you superhuman.

Think of it like wading through treacle. It’s hard work. You develop muscles. All that effort leads to very little progress.

Then you come and see me.

I turn the water into treacle.

Now, not only is progress easier, but you also have the benefit of all those muscles that you have trained.

And you fly.

Come to me and I will help you fly.

Email dawn@thinkitchangeit.com to find out how.

Taking responsibility for how you feel

Yesterday it was my birthday. I have always struggled a bit with birthdays and Christmas. I love them. I love celebrating. I love presents. But once you grow up, birthdays become less of an event. It is not something that is automatically celebrated unless you are with someone who loves to celebrate. My husband has never been much into birthdays.

I have never lost my love of birthdays, but I had increasingly become disillusioned with them. My expectations rarely matched the actual day and so I was left feeling like nobody cared.

This came to a head on my 40th Birthday. I wanted a party. I wanted all my friends to come. I wanted someone else to organise it for me, but realised early on that it would just be impossible. No one had access to my friends list. So I went about organising it myself. I thought I could book out a local hall, but as I started looking at numbers, it was clear not enough people would come. I felt like nobody cared about me. Who was I to think anyone would want to celebrate my birthday with me? I realised that most of my friends lived all over the world. So I downgraded and rented out a lodge so people could travel. Last minute, a number of people had to pull out. For very good reasons. But it reinforced my belief. Nobody cared. In the end my birthday was lovely. Loads of people turned up. My friend did all the food. But still I struggled. I wasn’t worthy of anyone caring.

Each year after I have battled to lower my expectations, despite really wanting surprises and fun.

In being so heavily focused on my expectations, I have missed what has been right in front of me. I have amazing friends and an amazing family. For example, this was in a card from a friend I only knew on Social Media and email. Sadly this friend died suddenly from cancer and I never had a chance to meet her in person:

Forty things about, or for, Dawn

  1. Life is a marathon, there to be run
  2. Angels come in the shape of dinner ladies (blog readers won’t understand this – it’s a childhood reference)
  3. The little one loves her mummy unconditionally
  4. Heaven is the belief you have done your best
  5. Starved child, Nourished adult
  6. Forgiving others, hard on self
  7. Championed by the hubby
  8. Lovable
  9. Change expert
  10. Starbucks rules OK
  11. Nice butt
  12. Persistence personified
  13. Two miles a day is enough
  14. Inspired and Inspiring
  15. Climber of roofs
  16. Shit happens
  17. Lighter of candles
  18. Endorphin generator
  19. Bringer of new days
  20. Growing in faith
  21. Giving makes Dawn whole
  22. Leaper of chasms
  23. Seeker of forgiveness
  24. Blessed by hubby
  25. Failure is allowed, indeed necessary at times
  26. Happiness is elusive, wholeness isn’t
  27. Trevors are generally very special people
  28. Giver and receiver of love
  29. Not being miserable is a choice
  30. Free to laugh, free to cry
  31. An expanding circle of hugs
  32. A slap in the face with dew drizzled cobwebs can be very healing (who knew?)
  33. Excellence award winner
  34. The past is another country
  35. Sisterhood is generally worth the effort
  36. There’s only one way to eat a satsuma (another childhood reference that blog readers won’t get)
  37. Imbued with Adam and the love he brought
  38. Lighter of eyes and lives
  39. Speaker of healing words
  40. If there were a God he would look down at Dawn and be pleased with his hand work

I still have no idea how she knew so much about me. She was such a special person and I miss her terribly.

Anyway, I have worked hard over the last couple of years on taking ownership of my feelings.

The only person that knows what I want is me. The only person that can make me happy is me

This year I arranged my own dinner with friends. It was lovely to go out and celebrate. My daughter told everyone in the restaurant it was my birthday so they brought me this spectacular dessert at the end of the meal. Shame I was too stuffed to have it. My daughter had a good stab at it though!

My daughter worked hard for days to make my birthday special. She worked with my hubby on choosing great presents. So much thought went into my birthday. It was probably one of the best years ever. And yet, in previous years, I would have focused on what didn’t happen rather than what did. I would have felt miffed that no one organised dinner. I would have begrudged having to plan my own day out.

This year I took ownership of my own birthday experience, and everything everyone else did just enhanced it. As a result I had a brilliant day. I am so lucky to have so many amazing people around me. And it’s an important lesson for this and many things:

We get what we focus on. Create your own reality and take the power away from anyone else to make you feel anything.

What if I go back to how I was?

Bemused curiosity.

That’s what I tell people to hold on to when they leave their first session with me.

After all, that’s the most common look on their face. They are thinking:

How did that, change everything I’ve been struggling with my whole life?

It’s a weird process where we physically change the brain.

I think of it like the story of Hansel and Gretel, where they left a trail of breadcrumbs so they can find their way home. But the birds eat the breadcrumbs so the path back is gone.

When we work together we are using Neuroplasticity to physically change your brain. The neural pathways are rewired. The original path no longer exists.

When you leave that first session with me, as far as you are concerned the breadcrumbs will still lead you back to the original path. But you learn, with your sense of bemused curiosity, that the path is no longer there.

You notice different things on the new path, of course. Especially when you stop looking for the old path.

It can be scary at first. It’s unfamiliar. You don’t know where it will lead. You try and choose the turns that are familiar. You keep looking for the breadcrumbs. But they are gone. I swept them away.

There is no going back. The old path has gone.

 

Why you shouldn’t leave your comfort zone

Lots of people say that you should step outside your comfort zone.

The problem is, that by definition, outside of your comfort zone is uncomfortable.

So you can maybe force yourself to do it occasionally, but you can’t really do it on an ongoing basis. It’s simply too exhausting.

When the British Empire was expanding, every time they colonised somewhere, they stuck a flag in the ground and declared it theirs. In no time at all, a very small island had expanded to include land all over the world.

What if you could do the same with your comfort zone?

What if you could take your comfort zone with you?

How to take your comfort zone with you

Imagine there is a circle on the floor. This is your comfort zone. Add to that circle everything that makes you feel comfortable and ok. As you add things to your circle, imagine it changing. Maybe it gains a colour, a texture, or maybe it even turns into a bubble. Add everything to it that makes you comfortable.

Now imagine picking that circle up from the floor and storing it safely in your head.

You now have your comfort zone with you.

When you are doing something that it unfamiliar – something that you might define as outside of your comfort zone – imagine taking that circle out of your head and throwing it to the ground.

Voila! problem solved. You are now back in your comfort zone!

Practice at first with small things. Eventually you might learn that you can take your comfort zone with you wherever you go.

Physical scars

When I was little I lived on a chicken farm. One day, when I was wandering around the sheds I tripped and fell and a nail went through my face. Now, many years later, the scar has mostly healed. You can only see it if you know it’s there.

When I had my babies, I had a C-section. I have a scar for that too, but it’s never visible and it is a sign of achievement.

I know the story of these scars. I know where they come from. They are purely surface, physical scars.

With some physical scars, it’s not so obvious where they came from. Some physical scars have a hidden meaning.

Take weight. Weight is like a scar. It’s a physical sign of what you have been through. A physical reminder of something going on in your head.

My weight is a scar. A constant reminder of my experiences (and not in a good way like my C-section scar).

When I was a young child I was starved. As an adult I ate everything – because I could. There was a certain panic about making sure I ate everything. There was a rebellion in eating treat food – food that I’d been deprived of. My weight reflected that. A scar from a deprived childhood. The work I’ve done over the years has cleared that. Food is just nutrition. I don’t overeat any more. I’m ok with stopping when I’ve had enough. And the scar from that has faded.

When I was 10 I was sexually abused. It scarred me mentally. My body became the manifestation of that scar. My body became the enemy. It let me down. The weight is a reminder of that.  That scar has not yet faded. It’s there every time I look in the mirror or put on clothes. The scar is a constant, unwelcome reminder, of what happened when I was younger. One day, I know, I will have done enough work for that scar to fade too.

Not all physical scars have an obvious story. Sometimes, we don’t want a remind of what we went through. This was always my problem with a semi-colon tattoo. I understand the principle was to remind you of what you had survived – but in doing so, it also reminded you of a bad place you had been in. Better to fully move on. And then last year, the lady who came up with the idea of the semi-colon tattoo took her own life.

Some scars are deeper than what you see on the surface.

Why I always take Selfies

Today I am going to the hairdressers. This is my idea of hell. I have to sit and stare at myself in the mirror for ages.

I have worked with hundreds of clients, and the one thing I know is that the way they see themselves does not match reality. They feel fat, or a failure, or not good enough. Through our work together, these feelings change, and they become more accepting of who they are.

But we can’t time travel. So even though they are now ok with themselves now, they can’t go back and re-write their memories. They can’t say yes to things they said no to. They can’t be in photos they stayed out of. 

What you see when you look at yourself is not reality, it is filtered by your perceptions

I’ve seen this with enough clients to know that any insecurities I have about the way I look are temporary and can change. But those moments that I experience can’t change. And for me, I’m not too fussed. But for my daughter, it’s different. It’s not fair to rob her of her memories.

So I made a rule:

I will always be in every photo, and every video no matter how I feel about myself

I don’t like looking at the photos or videos after. I have never, for example, watched my TED talk all the way through. But I still did it.

In fact this is my rule for life. I ignore how I feel about something and do it anyway. I know those limiting beliefs come from my subconscious and are just lies. One day that voice will change and I will regret not doing stuff.

 

 

Mind control for healing

Accelerating healing with your mind

When you break a bone you go to hospital to get it fixed. But the hospital doesn’t fix the bone. They set it straight so that when your brain fixes it, it’s not crooked. If you have multiple injuries, that broken bone will be slower to heal.

So if you can accept that your brain fixes bones and if you accept that something can slow that process down, then you have to accept that it is possible to accelerate the healing.

Your subconscious keeps your body functioning without you needing to give it any thought. Your heart pumps oxygen around your body in your blood. Your lungs take in the oxygen when you breathe. You don’t have to think to breathe. But if you choose to, you can consciously take control of your breathing and speed it up or slow it down.

You can’t, however, hold your breath until you die. Your brain won’t let you. (please don’t try this!)

It keeps you safe and well to the best of its ability, at all times.

When you get a cold, the streaming nose is not caused by the cold, it’s caused by your body fighting the cold.

Have you noticed how a headache is worse if you are in a quiet room with no distractions? For those that suffer with chronic conditions like IBS or Chronic Fatigue, you will notice that stress makes it worse. If something can be made worse by environmental conditions, it can also be made better.

What does this all mean?

If we can accept that the mind is capable of healing, automatically, without any intervention from us, then surely we must also accept that with the right intervention we can have an impact on a healing process.

When the brain is damaged through accident, or a stroke, you can relearn how to do stuff using different parts of your brain. This is called neuroplasticity. Your brain physically grows and reinforces neural pathways as you learn, and other parts of your brain disappear as they become unused.

We can utilise this Neuroplasticity effect to make permanent changes to the mind body relationship.

The problem is that this is all too abstract.

Whilst it can be easy to accept the concepts of the mind body connection, it can be a little trickier to make deliberate changes without any sort of communication interface.

Visualisation is the language of the brain.

The answer is actually quite simple. We turn the abstract concept of a thought into something more tangible, through visualisation and metaphors.

For all of time, songs and stories have carried important lessons in life far more effectively than simple instructions around actions and consequences. From Aesop’s Fables to the Bible, stories are used to make lessons easier to absorb.

If you want to deliberately change your body, you need to talk to your mind in a language it understands.

Let’s go back to the example of bones healing.

For a moment, I want you to take a deep breath.

How did you go about that? Did you instruct your brain to send a signal through the spine to the nerves and muscles that inflate your lungs? How did you know when to stop?

It is likely that you didn’t think about anything technical. If you did, you undoubtedly would have missed a load of stuff that happens to allow you to take a breath.

Now, I want you to imagine your lungs are like balloons, or an inflatable object. As you take a breath, imagine the object inflating. That works just that same as deciding to breath in.

Your brain will execute on your visualisation automatically.

Now let’s go to the broken bone again. There is a complex automatic process to heal a bone. The key to accelerating a process is constant repetition of your visualisation. This is impossible if you are trying to remember a set of complex steps. So what would be a real world visualisation of bones being healed? Little men filling it in with plaster? Papier Mache? Something else?

Once you have worked out your visualisation, you just need to spend a few minutes every day repeating that visualisation. Again and again, on a loop, you should play it. It should be no longer than a few seconds and it should be very simple, otherwise you won’t send a clear message to your brain. Every day, for a few minutes a day, you repeat the visualisation. And you brain will act on it.

Ok so now let’s make another leap.

Hayfever is a nightmare for many people. It stops them enjoying nice weather.

Hayfever is a miscalculation by the brain. It interprets a grain of pollen as a threat and launches a defence. This is where the streaming nose and eyes come from – your body fighting off the ‘virus’. If you can find a way to communicate with your brain, you can tell it to treat pollen in the same way as it treats the other grains of dust that it filters harmlessly. No defence is activated and the symptoms of Hayfever disappear.

This approach to visualisation can be used on anything, from pain, to muscle tears, to running up steep hills. If you find a way to communicate with your mind, anything is possible.

If you want my help with visualisations for physical issues, just drop an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com

Why you might never be the weight you were

I have explained many times that the brain controls your size. not an equation based on calories consumed versus calories burnt.

Metabolism is the single biggest factor controlling weight gain and loss. Your subconscious is a control room, that constantly monitors your environment, both internally and externally, and adjusts your metabolism accordingly.

If you are on a diet, it equates it to a period of famine, and adjusts your metabolism to extract all the nutrition it can from everything you eat. It uses this nutrition to fuel your activities.

If you are overeating it equates it to a period of feast and adjusts your metabolism to re-stock your body’s reserves – taking nutrition from the food and storing it.

If your environment is potentially unsafe, it uses cortisol to distribute the fat to be close to key organs in your body, around your middle. This will mean if you suddenly need to run away then you have a source of energy easily and rapidly available.

Metabolic Threshold

Of course, these days, an unsafe environment is not about tigers round every corner. It’s about those things that cause you stress and anxiety. Many people learn from an abusive childhood that their environment is unsafe and so stay in a perpetual state of not being safe. Many people also learn to override their natural mind/body connection during childhood, when they learn to feel bad about how they look.

This means your subconscious is constantly adjusting your metabolism. Adjustments go up and down around a set point.

Think of this like a thermostat on your heating. It’s set at a certain temperature based on your preferences. If someone opens a door, it cools off and the heating comes on to bring it back up to temperature. If it is too warm, the heating won’t come on.

The difference with your Metabolic Threshold is that the temperature dial for your metabolism works more like a rain meter than a thermostat.

When it rains, the rain gauge fills up. The marker moves up to the peak level. As the water lever drops, the marker remains.

You metabolic threshold is established the same way.

It is initially set during childhood, like you would set up the dial on a thermostat.

Then, as life events take over, and your subconscious adjusts your metabolism to cope, your metabolic threshold gets nudged up.

Every time you reach a settling in period, you are moving up and down around the new threshold.

A prolonged period of being overweight, also increases your metabolic threshold.

 

So whilst your metabolic threshold can move up, nothing naturally moves it down

This is a natural process, which is why activities such as dieting etc rarely make a permanent difference to your size. Your subconscious is sat in a control room, monitoring and adjusting on a constant basis.

So what?

I work with a lot of clients. In our work together we let the subconscious know that their environment is safe. This allows them to change their relationship with food, exercise and themselves.

However, we do not adjust the metabolic threshold in this work. Even though everything in their life changes, they often don’t get all the way back to a size that they used to be many years ago.

This can be frustrating.

When everything is right, including the way you feel about yourself, but the weight won’t shift – then you need to look to your metabolic threshold

There is good news though. Weight is not actually the major factor in healthiness and life expectancy.

0-4 on the bottom line of the chart represent the number of healthy habits a person has (Chart nicked from Sandra Aamodt, a Neuroscientist who did this brilliant TED talk)

  • Eat more fruit and veg
  • do more exercise
  • drink less
  • don’t smoke.

So what this chart shows is the relationship between weight and life expectancy (left hand line).

If there are zero healthy habits, weight significantly reduces life expectancy. But at the other extreme, with 4 of the healthy habits, all weight categories have the same life expectancy.

What this means is, if you can get your subconscious out of the way, so you can make healthy choices in your life, and if you can get to a place where you are happy with who you are, then your weight is irrelevant

I’m working on ways to get your subconscious to lower your metabolic threshold. Until then, if you want to get your subconscious to back off so you can choose to take on more of those healthy habits, give me a shout dawn@Thinkitchangeit.com 

Do you have a secret identity?

Do you have a secret identity?

Is the person you are at work simply an actor, hiding the true you?

This is way more common than you might realise. Many people have different personas – or parts. There is version of you at work. There is the version of you that is a friend. There is the version of you that becomes a child when you are around your parents again.

For some people, this different persona becomes key to their survival. It covers for an inner version of themselves that they feel is broken.

This inner part has often had a difficult childhood, or a significant traumatic experience. If that part were to stand up and do a presentation, they would be terrified. And so you develop another part of you; a confident, outgoing part, and the secret identity is born.

And like a superhero and their ordinary self, no one has any idea that they are the same person.

Disguises work really well.

You can do anything when in a mask; when that part of you is in control.

The problem is when you go home, and you’re on your own. Then the other part comes out. The unhappy part. The insecure part. And sometimes, you have a glass of wine to just switch off. And a glass turns into two or three. Or you eat. Or smoke dope. Or do something stronger. Because you don’t like spending time with the non-superhero version of you.

And to make it worse, every moment you are waiting to be unmasked – sure someone will work out your secret identity one day.

What you don’t realise, is that we are all made up of different personas. There is no one true version of you

The work version of you will always be different from the home version. You will always be different with your friends than you are on your own.

Everyone is like this.

So instead of judging yourself for not being some imaginary together, balanced and happy person, recognise that there are different parts present in different situations.

The trick is to get the parts that are overly protective to back off, or change their behaviour, or even work together with the forward moving parts.

Nothing needs to be the way it’s always been. I can help you be happier with being you. I can help you to get the different personas to work together, so that you don’t have to worry so much about people discovering your secret identity.

3 signs you have Impostor Syndrome

impostor
ɪmˈpɒstə/
noun
plural noun: imposters
a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain.

Impostor Syndrome is where you believe you are not good enough to be doing what you do. It is a feeling that you do not belong. It is a constant worry that one day someone is going to call you out as not knowing enough to do your job and you will get fired.

Sign 1: When you do a presentation you worry that people will realise you know nothing

There are lots of reasons that people get scared of standing up in front of a room full of people. Some worry about making a fool of themselves. Some worry about being laughed at. Someone with Impostor Syndrome worries that someone in the room will know more than them. They will worry about being asked a question they can’t answer. They will worry about being ‘found out’. As a result of these worries, a person with Impostor Syndrome will avoid putting themselves in any position where they are treated as an expert in their field.

Sign 2: You get annoyed at people who are successful when they clearly know less than you

Just because a person doesn’t believe they are good enough, doesn’t automatically make everybody around them better. A person with Impostor Syndrome will have an ongoing internal dialogue which is a combination of angry and frustrated. They will find all the reasons why they should be in the position of the ‘successful’ person. Yet they would never openly question anyone else. In meetings they will never speak up or disagree, but rather wait and have a private one-to-one with a friend after and tell them all the things the ‘expert’ was wrong about.

Sign 3: You believe you are going to be fired every time you have a performance review (appraisal)

It’s frustrating to manage someone with Impostor Syndrome. When you manage anyone, you balance praise with constructive, developmental feedback. In an appraisal, a decent manager will try and identify the things that allow their team member to grow. Someone with Impostor Syndrome will not hear it that way. They will hear it as criticism and be caught by surprise when their overall rating is very good. They will spend days (or longer!) obsessing over the constructive feedback, trying to find hidden meaning.

Of course none of these things are true. What you don’t realise is that everyone is screwed up. No one feels good enough. The reason you don’t realise this is that you believe you can read minds.

If you put 10 people in a room, every one of them worries what everyone thinks about them, but none of them can read minds

We all live in our own reality. You have no idea what is going on in anyone else’s head. What you can know, is that it’s not about you – it’s all about them. We are innately selfish as we can only know our own reality.

So if you suffer from Impostor Syndrome remember this:

  1. You can’t read minds
  2. Everyone is screwed up (everyone has a subconscious in charge at least 90% of the time, trying to protect them from invisible sabre-toothed tiger)
  3. Nobody cares about you. Everyone is caught up in her own world so they really aren’t thinking about you.
  4. You can’t time travel. There are no ‘do-overs’ which means that you are always going to do your best. To suggest anything else would mean you had hindsight, which you don’t

And if it’s really starting to get in the way of your life, give me a shout. I can help.

dawn@thinkitchangeit.com