There's a common phrase in the personal development world:
"Change your mind, change your life."
Easier said than done? Usually.
But WHY that is isn't because the statement itself isn't true. It comes down to one thing:
Our mood is our identity. Meaning, we live in a constant set of automatic patterns that continue to drive how we think, feel and respond to life.
It's kinda hard to just 'change your mind' when you don't even KNOW how it's working.
I'll use myself as an example:
During my childhood, teens, and early 20's, I battled with depression. I would say "MY depression," and lived a life that really embodied what I felt a depressed person would be and do.
I didn't think much about why I chose that daily or even that I could change it. It just FELT like the THING to do.
I listened to the two doctors who diagnosed me with clinical depression and thought 'well, I guess that's just my life. I guess that's just WHO I am."
But by the third diagnosis, I started to question things...
In order to avoid medication (and having to speak more freely with my therapist about the things they were trying to medicate me for) I was studying visualization techniques and learning the power of the mind. I began to ask:
"Is this belief about being broken, abandoned and unlovable, holding me back from being happy and healthy and if so, what needs to change so I can truly FIND happiness?"
I didn't know it at the time, but I was starting to retrain my brain using a technique of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). I was interrupting a pattern that was unconsciously running the show. One that was choosing how I would see, hear and feel about the world.
A pattern that dictated my identity long before I would ever arrive into any scenario. It went a little something like this...
I would go to bed late, watching tv and eating junk food to numb my brain from a 'stressful' day. I'd sleep horribly due to the intense blue light exposure and heavy digestion.
I'd wake up again, feeling like crap. Struggling to get up, I'd snooze my alarm so many times that I'd end up getting up with JUST enough time to throw myself together and race off into my day feeling overwhelmed and exhausted before the day even began.
Naturally, this led to an entire day of 'I earned this...' type of binge eating because I perceived life as being SO stressful that I somehow now had the validation to punish myself with more junk food.
And so, the cycle continued.
My mood WAS depression and so too was my life.
In NLP this is called a 'state.'
Was it helpful? No. Not unless PROVING how broken you are is the only goal.
Did it serve a purpose? By Ego's perspective, yes. It protected me from having to face the internal traumas that were 'too painful' to deal with.
But did it help ME and my FUTURE self to feel happy and fulfilled?
Nope. Not in the slightest.
And THAT is where my journey began.
If you're stuck in a state that's not helping you move forward, just like an addict needs to do....you'll have to first ADMIT there's an unhelpful STATE of mind that's influencing your reality. One that you are choosing, whether conscious or unconscious.
Then, consider HOW this state is being anchored in by the environment you're in, the voice in your head, and the ways you act according TO this state.
It's super important NOT to skip this step.
Spiritual Bypass: the act of using a logical explanation to make sense of a situation without doing the work to change. It's a bandage to cover up a much larger issue.
When I was depressed, I didn't WANT to admit that I was choosing...whether consciously or unconsciously...the life I was living.
It was MUCH easier to state my traumas as the REASON for my poor habits.
Or so I THOUGHT.
Claiming the stress was caused BY the depression was easier than saying "I'm using this state of depression to see the world around me as the cause of my stress. I'm using it to hear only judgement from people who may actually want to help me. And I'm using it as an excuse to feel so bad about myself that I continue to choose more reasons TO feel bad about myself because I need a greater and greater fix of self-punishment to PROVE I AM depression."
Makes me want to gag now just thinking about it!
Once you become aware of the ways you're anchoring in the unhelpful state, you can choose what you'd rather BE...and what you need to do to anchor THAT in.
When my clients are making this shift, I have them imagine watching their ideal self on a movie screen and observing how this person moves, speaks, dresses, serves, and engages with the world around them.
This way, clients are able to observe how a different MOOD would look in action. Which is great when you're so IN that mood that it's hard to imagine your own life being any different.
Then...and this is the BIGGEST part...DO IT.
Affirmations without action create chaos so if you are going to affirm "I am THAT..." you'll need to prove it to yourself by doing something immediately as the anchor.
You might have a special song, or sound effect, that you use to create this state change. Mine used to be the theme song from Alice Through the Looking Glass. I used it during all of 2020...while the world fell into a rabbit hole and I needed to keep remembering that even this reality is all an illusion by way of quantum physics.
Lately, I've found myself snapping my fingers and jumping up and down whenever my brain wants to distract from the task at hand...
While I'm preparing to go back to school in four weeks, the traumas of 5th grade start to creep in. My parents were divorced and my mom could no longer afford to send me to a private, Montessori school. There, I had full control of my education pace and was excelling quite well. I ended up in a public school that wouldn't allow me to move ahead at my own pace and the teacher sat me next to the bully of the class who'd hit me every day.
I gave up on school at THAT very moment.
What the hell was the point of even trying hard if there was zero incentive?
Now as my school records will show from then on...I rarely did my homework, waited until the last minute to finish big assignments, and really never TRIED. I was bored but it FELT like I was somehow bad for being bored.
And so, as grades are the metric for judgment, I formed a belief that I was somehow a 'bad student.'
The closer I get to starting school, the more I am aware of how this ONE belief has influenced MANY parts of my life. To break these patterns I do TWO things:
1- I shake...Shaking has been known to dispel anxiety and adrenaline from wild animals and it helps me get grounded quite often.
2- I snap...The snapping is a sound effect that reminds me I have a CHOICE in the moment as the rhythm reminds me of being a top competitor in tap dancing.
From there, a state change becomes quick and easy. I'm able to reset a distracted mind almost immediately and I find my brain NATURALLY now does this when I start to wander off.
What can YOU do to create a state change? Be willing to do it NOW.
The mind is a miraculous creation.
Learn to use it wisely and it will treat you with the utmost respect. You deserve it.
-Alida, The Oracle
*This message is not a substitute for medical advice. My story is not typical. If you find yourself suffering from mental health issues, please consult with your healthcare provider on the best options for you.