Did you know that your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is actually happening to you now and the past and imagined future events you often spend time thinking about?
If you’re thinking it, it’s real and happening RIGHT NOW for your mind, which then goes to work creating the appropriate physical response to help you cope.
We are living in unprecedented times, changing and adapting to new ways of living and working and creating new normals for ourselves on a daily basis. In times of uncertainty your mind is programmed to keep you safe. Perfect for actual danger, releasing adrenalin and cortisol and preparing you for “fight or flight
Not so great though when you are lying in bed with your crystal ball- trying to sleep.
Want to see this in action?
Ok - close your eyes ( well read this first then do it!) and picture a big juicy lemon. Imagine the texture of the waxy skin, bring it to your nose and inhale the citrus aroma. Now visualise cutting into the lemon, really feel the sensation of the juice running through your fingers and the sharp smell. Now pick up one half and take the biggest bite!
Open your eyes
Noticed the increased saliva in your mouth? Thought so
Imagined event- real for the mind- physical response
Well this mechanism is great to hack into when you are goal setting for the future. The mind sees your reality, serotonin is released, you feel alive and motivated, you notice opportunities and synchronicities occur. You are primed for success! Ever read the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne? Thats what's happening.
However uncertainty creates the unknown and mind often fills that void by analysing past events or creating worse case “ WHAT IF” scenarios in the future to protect you
I call this "WHAT IFFYING"
When we allow our mind to “go there”- it’s happening RIGHT NOW to your mind, which responds by increasing the heat rate and breathe, releasing adrenalin and cortisol and preparing you for battle.
So how can you use this knowledge to transform your experiences of events right now?.
Anything that brings your mind into the present moment and away from reliving the past or predicting the future can help
Here are 4 useful practices you can try right now
1. Notice when you are WHAT IFFYING. Practice saying- “yep I’m WHAT IFFYING!” . Feels a bit clunky at first but it works on many levels. It separates you from the thought- makes it feel less real to the mind and brings your thought to the now. And however your “now” currently looks its often better than the future scenario you have created
2.Challenge unhelpful situations you are manifesting by asking these questions. These separate you from the thoughts and the mind questions its reality
3. Meditation and mindfulness are great tools. Just noticing the rise and fall of your breathe is an effective practice with an immediate effect. Start to notice what you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste which brings your awareness to the now. Try this whilst washing your hands- there’s plenty of time to practice at the moment!
4. "WHAT IFFYING" speeds everything up- so do the opposite- SLOW DOWN- breathe, thoughts, walking, talking and eating. An effective way to do this is visualise a dial and slowly turn down all the senses and watch how quickly they respond.
Start by noticing any unhelpful past and future thoughts that are creating an unreal reality for you. Challenge those thoughts, bring your awareness to the present and see what a difference it can make to how you feel, how you respond and the experience you get from your current situation.
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