Or how to make your mind have no choice but to focus on the positive!
Hypnotherapy is about the power of words and how the right word can change the way you think, the way you feel and the way you behave. And you have experienced the power of words so many time before: when someone says something funny you feel happy and laugh. When someone tells you some very bad news, you feel sad and cry. When someone says something embarrassing, you feel self-conscious and you blush.
The thing is: not all words have the same power over our lives. And I am sure that, at some point in your life, someone said something to you that resonated in a very negative way in your mind. And maybe those words brought about self-deprecating thoughts and feelings and changed the way you behave in your daily life just a little bit? And as you read those words, that memory and those feelings probably came back quite quickly into your mind. But if I tell you that I am sure (and I am sure!) that, at some point in your life, someone said something truly kind and positive to you! As you read those words and think hard to remember it, that memory and those feelings may still be eluding you.
The fact is that the human mind seems to have evolved towards a negative-biased in attention allocation. In simple terms: we catch and hold to the negative words and feelings they bring about more easily. This, for me, truly highlights the importance of minimising the negative words in our lives so that the brain has no choice but to catch and hold on to the positive.
And today I want to share with you a few tips that will help you increase the chances of your mind to focus on the positive. They are all small things in themselves but, if you multiply those small things by the amount of time you practice them, you may be surprised at how things shift and change.
1. Turn negative sentences into positive ones
''Don’t worry''! ''Don’t forget the milk''! ''I am not very good at this'': negations, negations, negations! We use them all the time! Negations give the mind the perfect excuse to jump ahead and focus on the negative part of the sentence: ''Worry''! ''Forget the milk''! ''Not good''!
An interesting exercise is to practice transforming your negative sentences into positive ones, so that your "Don’t worry" becomes a "You will be okay". And right away you feel the difference it makes don’t you? A fuller, more hopeful feeling develops in your mind and body when you hear the words "You will be okay". Similarly, tell your partner to "Remember the milk" for once, and notice what happens. And next time you are about to tell someone you are "Not good" at something, change your mind and tell them you are "Still learning" how to do it.
2. Avoid the word “try”
Try is the ugliest little word of them all. Trying something implies the possibility of failure and, when you "try", your mind straight away acknowledge your inability to do. Try is the ultimate excuse not to do something: it is self-sabotage at its best. The fact is that Nike understood that perfectly when they came up with their "Just do it" slogan. "Just do it" carries much more power and vehicles a much more uplifting feeling than " Just try doing it" doesn't it ?
3. Choose your spells carefully!
Words can cast good or evil spells around them, and the word “Pain” is the best example of an evil spell! If you take a few minutes to ask yourself whether you are experiencing "Pain" right now and take a quick scan of your body I am pretty sure you will be experiencing some level of pain somewhere in your body. The word pain calls on the pain, and to a lesser extent variations such as "Discomfort" and "Sore" do the same. Instead, asking yourself whether you are feeling "Quite comfortable" at that very moment, increases the chances of your mind to focus on those areas of your body that are indeed feeling "Quite comfortable" at that very moment. Similarly, other words (disease, sickness, death, sadness and more, depending on your own life experiences) carry a baggage full of negative memories and feelings that are hard for the mind to ignore when confronted with them.
Fortunately, as every good fairy tale can tell you, every dark spell has a counter spell. And some words have the power to bring you back to happy moments and feelings: "Peace", "Calm", "Relaxed", "Safe" are but a few of those little white spells of positivity. An interesting exercise is to take a moment and think about what other words you can add to that list depending on your own life experiences. For instance, having grown up by sea, I find that the word "waves" carries a nostalgic mix of innocence, freedom and peace. And even though the chances of me talking to someone about "waves" during my day are slim, in stressful times I do find myself repeating like a mantra: "waves rolling in and out, innocence, freedom and peace".