It really is. You know what I’m talking about. That voice in your head. It tells you, “Nope. Don’t do that. That’s different. That’s a change. That feels scary. If you do that, something bad might happen. Yep – something bad is going to happen. For sure. You better run. RUN NOW!” Ok, maybe it doesn’t say that to you, but that’s what it says to me. You may have heard it called Monkey Mind or Critter Brain. It’s definitely animal-like. It’s fight or flight. Or even freeze. Mine feels like bear brain. It’s either in mama-bear attack mode or lazy-bear hibernate mode. Don’t get me wrong – this part of our brain serves a purpose. It can get us out of some sticky situations. It can sense real danger and helps you react and respond. But, most of the time, the “danger” really isn’t dangerous at all. It’s just different. Sometimes it’s change. Many times, it’s a risk. Almost always, it’s growth.
My bear brain manifests itself through anxiety. If I don’t give it attention – or maybe if I give it too much attention, it’ll keep me up at night and I feel it like a wave running through my entire body. I’ve realized that lack of attention and too much attention end up with the same results. If you don’t pay attention to that voice, it’s going to get louder. It’s going to make itself known and show up over and over, and more often. If you put too much focus on it, it grows. Right? That’s the law of attraction. What we focus on is what we get more of. It sounds like we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. But there is a better way.
Since I’ve decided to become a health and life transformation coach, I’ve realized the value of having my own coach(es). A couple months ago, I had a call with my success coach. I talked to her about this anxiety. I knew I was self-sabotaging, but I didn’t know how to stop. My bear brain questions my purpose and passion as a coach. My bear brain thinks I’m better off doing something safer and more secure. My bear brain says I might fail.
My coach gave me some incredible tools and they’ve been magic. Erin – you’re a frickin’ magician! Now I’m sharing that magic with you. If you struggle with self-sabotage, here’s a few magic tricks to try:
1 – Talk to your critter/animal/monkey brain. It seems silly, but it works and here’s why. As I mentioned before, if we don’t pay attention to this voice, it gets louder. But, if we pay too much attention to it, it grows. There’s a middle ground and it’s awesome. When my bear brain is grumbling at me, I thank it. “Hey bear. Thank you for looking out for me. I know that you’re trying to protect me, but this time you can relax. I’ve got this. Nothing bad is going to happen. In fact, incredible things are on the horizon. You can take a break for now.” This way, you’re validating those feelings. You’re not ignoring them but you’re also not feeding the bear! Instead of attacking or hibernating, my bear brain gets to just chill in the forest.
2 – BREATHE. Already breathing every moment of every day? Great – now try this. There are several variations of this relaxation breathing technique. Breathe in for 5 counts, hold that breath for 5 counts and then exhale for 7 counts. Some people do 4-7-8. Try a few different counts and do what feels best for you. The key to this is to exhale longer than you inhale. We have this nerve that runs down the neck through the diaphragm, called the vagus nerve. When your exhale is longer, the vagus nerve signals your brain to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system. This is good! This is what controls your rest, relaxation and digestive system. When this system is on, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers and your body can relax and heal. Healing only occurs in this state. Healing cannot happen in a state of stress. Repeat this sequence for 2 to 5 minutes (whatever you have time for) and I guarantee you will feel better.
3 – Anchor, anchor, anchor! Get yourself an anchor! Find something that has meaning to you and specifically helps you remember your passion and your true self. It might be a picture of a person or place that’s important to you. It could be your vision board, a list of your goals, a description of your dream house. Know what your anchor is? AWESOME! Pretend it’s Frank’s Red Hot and put that shit on everything! Keep a copy on your desk at work, put a copy on your bathroom mirror, save it as your cell phone background. Make sure you always have access to your anchor. Mine is an excerpt from the book A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. At this point, I can recite it by memory, but I still have it printed everywhere. I’ll include it at the end of this blog. It reminds me that by being my true self and letting my light shine, I’m helping others to do the same.
Fear is an awful feeling. It can be debilitating and overpowering. However, it is possible to shift our focus. We can let go of fear. We can let that fear empower us. When fearful thoughts take over, validate them and move forward. Send them on their way and replace the fear with something else – something that feels good and drives you towards happiness. My 90-day Transformation program focuses on making small, but significant habit and mindset changes that will impact your health and your life. We’ll work on your fear, your self-sabotage and anything else that might be holding you back from feeling joyful and happy. If you’d like to learn more, let’s schedule a Transformation Discovery Session. It's a free, 45 to 60-minute phone conversation where you’ll learn more about me, my program and how I can help you be the best version of yourself and let your own light shine.
Our Deepest Fear
by Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
It's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.