There is often a key event, thought or phrase that triggers my blog every day…. I have learnt that the key is to wait for it rather than force it. Sometimes I worry that it won’t happen… But strangely enough, it always does.
Today’s trigger is a phrase from my book, the one I am reading on my project to improve or bring back my self esteem.
“The brain doesn’t change on it’s own. It’s the things we do that change our brain.”
As james is off exploring, I am lying completely indulgently and haven’t moved off my sun lounger by a gorgeous pool by the side of lake Garda. We decided to head down the mountains and treat ourselves to a shorter journey to the airport in the morning…. I digress.
The chapter and exercises I have been focussing on are the physical practices we can use to change our emotional state – either from calm to stress, from depression to happiness. Some can improve our feelings and attitudes immediately, others take a while to take hold.
I am relieved to read that i have already been doing many of the suggestions from the book to help me move on from the state of anger, frustration, grief of last month..
The mind is first – a powerful tool. Meditation and mindfulness practices being highly recommended to improve the connections in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This section also helps unravel my confusion around living in the moment as well as releasing suppressed emotion. It seems while there is conflict amongst many which is better, I am reading into this that both are necessary.
So I have a tick on that front.
Second is changing the chemistry within our brain to create ‘happy chemistry’. Again, I like this book as it offers both sides of the argument – some say drugs can be used to influence the serotonin and happy chemicals in our brain or nutrition can play a part. I have opted for the nutrition – choosing a healthy diet over a prescription, although wouldn’t rule it out if I dive bombed again.
Third on the ‘return to happy’ list is calming our nervous system – breathing, meditation again but also finding a purpose and giving meaning to our life. I feel the work I did on valuing myself as a mother contributes to this, as does completing an exercise I did this weekend. My badass book suggested I write out exactly how I wanted to live, how I wanted my day to be, what I wanted to be doing and giving and feeling… And then to read it multiple times a day and get really excited about it. I do! It makes me smile and feel good! I know my purpose.
And the fourth item on the list is the missing ingredient. And I feel silly for missing this having read up on it previously and yet excited about the prospect of introducing it. The power pose. The faking it ’til you feel it. The legendary Professor Amy Cuddy who proved the theory and the downright obvious: that the way you hold yourself and your body influences how you feel. It is so obvious, but yet according to the book not many people know that it has been proved – that basically, a happy face produces happy chemistry. Or as she writes in her study the Harvard Power Pose:
“In both human and non-human primates, expansive, open postures reflect high power, whereas contracted, closed postures reflect low power. Not only do these postures reflect power, they also produce it.”
Doing a power pose (think Wonder Woman) for 2 minutes will change the chemistry in your brain and therefore your emotional state to produce confidence, power and higher self esteem.
I am now at the David R. Hamilton PhD ‘self love gym’, and like a real gym I will be attending regularly….
Move over Super Woman. It’s time to stop saving everyone and save yourself. It’s time to be Wonder Woman and use her abilities of super human strength, durability, longevity and power… .
I have started with the WW pose…. Although to much hilarity, according to the Big Man – I need to work on it .. And look less like a clucking chicken. Or maybe I go with the the lasso of truth and indestructible bracelets … We are going to watch the back catalogue.