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The War Inside Your Head

Ever found yourself battling within your own head? Found yourself arguing with yourself about doing something you should, or shouldn’t do? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that this is totally normal! We all have two distinct voices, or thought patterns, that tend to dominate our everyday thoughts – the positive, rational, intellectual brain … and the negative, emotional, primitive brain. In this blog I’m going to explain why we have these separate spheres, what they do for us, and how we can begin to take charge of which one is talking.


THE NEGATIVE VOICE The Voice of Fear

Let’s face it, we all have bad patches. Those periods where nothing seems good, and we get stuck in negative thought cycles about how everything was/is/or will go wrong. Ever wondered why? Well, when we have a build-up of cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones) in our systems, the amygdala (the fight or flight area of the brain) becomes activated, and this leads to negative thinking. This can happen slowly over time through the everyday stresses of life, or quickly through experiencing a traumatic event … or a combination of the two.

We have this instinctive response for good reason, its designed to keep us safe, so we are encouraged to think about what is going wrong so we can react to any problems quickly. Think of it like a safety committee that is there to spot the risk of any given situation and to react accordingly.

The issue is that it's not very good at recognising what is a genuine risk, or what is simply an unavoidable event that occurs during our lives … it can’t tell the difference between a physical danger and a general stressor such as an upcoming meeting, or relationship issues. Because it can’t tell the difference it will react in the same way - producing cortisol and adrenaline which pushes us further into our fight-or-flight thought patterns. Which encourages us to think more negatively … which makes us produce more cortisol and adrenaline … you get where I’m going with this, it’s a vicious cycle.

The trouble with this is that it will only ever look for short-term fixes to problems and this can lead to less than helpful responses – blowing up in anger, reliance on addictive substances and behaviours or avoiding situations that have triggered stress. These actions act as a release, or mask, for the issue and generally make us feel worse in the long run. But our brains have subconsciously recognised that the action meant we did not come to harm, and so we are encouraged to react that way again as it falsely correlates that action with your safety, rather than recognising that there was not a tangible risk in the first place.

So, enter stage left …


THE POSITIVE VOICE The Voice of Reason

You know those days where all seems right in the world? Where you’re running on full, you feel motivated and focused, and the possibilities in life feel endless. You can thank your prefrontal cortex for that! This hugely powerful area of the brain is the rational, intellectual voice in your head – the one who makes smart decisions, sees the possibilities before you and finds the solutions to all the pesky problems in life. It’s also the conscious part of the brain, the voice that is most authentically you. When we operate from this area of the brain, we view the world through a positive lens, we make informed decisions that are the best ones for us, and for those around us.

And I’m not kidding when I say that it’s powerful – it's infinitely smarter than the negative, primitive part of the brain and can take charge whenever you need it to. The key is to know how to get it to work for you when you need it to!


MAKING YOU BRAIN WORK FOR YOU

Whilst it’s true that we can’t control everything that happens to us, we absolutely can control how we choose to react to them. This isn’t a sudden thing, it takes time to rewire patterns of behaviour, especially ones that we develop as coping mechanisms. But through recognition and understanding of these behaviours we can alter our neural pathways to seek out healthier alternatives that are beneficial long-term. Even in the most traumatic events in our lives can have a profoundly positive impact on us if we choose to view life with the right mindset. We can train our brains to learn from these events – they can change the direction we’re heading in and teach us empathy, self-awareness and emotional resilience in a way that nothing else can.

In our client we work with our clients to rewrite those negative thought patterns and responses into something more beneficial to them through a variety of methods:

1. Positive Self-Talk

Learning to speak to yourself kindly can be a challenge as many of us are often much harder on ourselves than we are on others. In our previous blog we explored a few of the methods we teach our clients to help with this. Check it out at https://www.your-hypnotherapy.co.uk/post/3-ways-to-boost-self-esteem

2. Positive Questioning

In every session we ask our clients positive-led questions that encourage positive answers by asking them in a way where a negative answer is hard to give. This might seem strange from a therapy, but we don’t like our clients to talk about negative, stressful events in their lives as each time someone replays these events in their heads, they produce the same negative hormones that keep them in that stressed state. Instead, we focus on finding the positive so they produce more beneficial hormones such as serotonin and dopamine which helps them to feel good.

3. Deep Relaxation

As hypnotherapists we use the trance state to allow our clients to relax and quieten the often-deafening chatter in their brain. This gives the subconscious, or unconscious, areas of the brain a chance to process events without the negative, emotional response they would otherwise have so they are able to view these events more rationally and come up with good solutions or understanding of them. We do this in session with hypnosis, but also by giving our clients a recording to listen to each night which helps them relax before sleep, encouraging a deeper, and more rejuvenating sleep. If you’re curious what this is like check out: https://www.your-hypnotherapy.co.uk/recordings


Through techniques such as this we help our clients to change their mindset into something that really works for them, rather than against them. If you would like to find out more then please feel free to get in touch at enquiries@your-hypnotherapy.co.uk, https://www.facebook.com/recalibrateyourmind or call us on 07718233078

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