Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Auto Suggestion

In my yoga practice, I like to include a muscle relaxation and auto suggestion technique to help with relaxing the body before the final relaxation of Savasana. For those that don’t practice yoga, Savasana is the final resting pose at the end of almost every yoga practice. Lying on your back, arms at the side, palms facing up and feet are hip width apart. This allows the body to take in all the benefits of your practice into muscle memory, mind and nervous system. It allows the physical body and nervous system to return to your baseline. After an intense class, Savasana is the cherry on top and to be still for a brief moment before starting your busy day or after a long day exhausting day of work.

This piece that I’m sharing with you today takes less than 10 minutes and is particularly a great task to complete before bedtime. This practice lowers blood pressure. When you can control your breathing; your mind will relax, your heart rate will follow. Tensing and releasing your muscles is a great letting go exercise to gauge the significant difference in the way your muscles feel before tensing the body and after. Mentally telling your body to relax is a great way to get your body to listen. So give yourself the gift of relaxation, find a quiet spot and click on this link and listen to these instructions in finding stillness in the body.

Miami, Florida February 2020

If you are still having trouble trying to relax during this piece, for example: your mind races or you start to fidget or have restless legs, try and stick with it until the end. It may not feel like it’s working because your body is trying to fight something new. Give it 40 days. Forty days is what is takes for a new habit to form. Remember this only takes less than 10 minutes. That is not a lot of time. I know you can overcome this quarrel within after a few tries.

What is Reticular Activating System (RAS)?

What is RAS? Is it something you can find in your car? No. It is the Reticular Activating System. Did I lose you? Hang with me, I know this sounds like it might be a boring topic but before you click away, here is a little something to think about that will make big changes. I promise that after hearing more, this will be a game changer on self-improvement, you will have a better understanding on the way you think the way you do. It’s also a foundation to help you in having a better relationship with self and how you can use it to your advantage.

By definition the RAS is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so “the important” stuff gets through. The RAS finds information that validates your beliefs. Yes, this is a real thing. The last sentence in the definition is the sentence that I’m particularly interested in explaining, the RAS finds information that validates your beliefs.

I know you’ve experienced your RAS because just this fall it worked for me too. I bought a new car, I always wanted a Volvo. I remember driving around in my friend’s old car that his parent gave to him. Other than that I never really paid attention to the car. In fact, I honestly don’t think I ever really saw one the road. As soon as I purchased mine I see Volvos EVERYWHERE! I think that every 3rd car I pass on the road is a Volvo.

How I can best explain this: 1.) think a thought. 2.) give thought importance or dismiss it. 3.) if thought is important, one starts to look around in environment for proof behind thought for evidence. 4.) once evidence is found, one verifies the thought is true. 5.) now one sees proof everywhere and believes this thought. This process can happen over time or very quickly for anything. So choose wisely what you want to believe about yourself, others, situations or things for it will manifest.

When the RAS and your subconscious mind work together this truly can either be a detriment or a benefit to you. Remember here we talked about the difference between your conscious and subconscious mind? Here is where we learned the subconscious mind is agreeable to suggestions and can accepts thoughts as true and proceed with results. So what happens when you have been thinking a thought for so long, you have proof everywhere but you want to stop the belief in its tracks. For example; let’s just say you hate your job. Finding proof everywhere to back this statement up can be everywhere from the way you see your coworkers and upper management, to the daily tasks. What if you flipped the switch? I’m not saying to tell yourself you love your job if you don’t believe it. Denial doesn’t work out either. Your brain will reject that thought immediately. You can start saying to yourself, “things aren’t so bad. “I like that I have a place to go to and spend my time every day.” “I do like to talk to this person.” These general statements make it easier to find reasons to make situations tolerable and make something more believable.

How about your confidence? What kind of things do you believe about you? Let’s stop believing in your unworthiness or the blocks that are holding you back from your success and start looking for evidence of how amazing you are. You can be, do or have anything you want! This is how you can get affirmations or autosuggestions to work for you. Next time we will talk on finding the right affirmation that is tailored to you and you can easily use the RAS.

If you would like to talk more about this, write to me. There are books you can purchase that discuss the RAS in detail. I truly hope this helps you. Until next time!

Mental Diet

Most people I speak with think they have a positive mindset but in reality, when they start talking, especially about themselves, they don’t talk highly of their character. We can’t help it because we’ve let our self-talk get off track and become careless for too long. By self-talk, I mean the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that enter and exit our mind all day every day and being able to guide them when doubts and fear slink in. These are thoughts you never speak out loud. Your thoughts determine your attitude. Your attitude about oneself shapes your behavior and the lifestyle that you live. Really think about this and ask yourself these questions: “How do I view the world?’ “How do I view myself in it?” “How do I see others and interact with them in this world?”

Have you ever considered a mental diet? This term was first coined by new thought authors, Neville Goddard and Emmet Fox. This is a lifestyle change and with any behavioral change, it’s going to take some persistence. Start by paying attention to how your feel so that you can habitually rewire your brain and choose positive thoughts over the negative. Redirect your thoughts. Self-soothing and constantly check in with yourself throughout the day in how you are feeling emotionally. And finally, allow yourself the time. This shift doesn’t happen overnight. It could take months. In the end, it’s worth the work to get back on track about how you think of yourself and feel fantastic! Let’s get yourself out of feeling like you’re “the victim mentality” to start the process.

Having a daily routine of reciting affirmations when first waking and right before falling asleep reinforces positive self-talk. Keeping a set of affirmations that ring true to you, I happen to keep affirmations on a set of notecards by my bed and continue to read them as I get ready for my day. We will talk about affirmations in the weeks to come. Don’t find affirmations that are empty, lacking or unconvincing. Pick ones that are believable, that really resonate with you, making you feel good. I also made the intention to change these affirmations out every 60 days so that I don’t get bored AND I can take feeling confident to the next level. Somedays if your mood is heavy, you have to be more diligent in the process of positive self-talk until you start to feel a shift within. Having affirmations are like complimenting yourself as you would complement your best friend. Some examples of affirmations I used when I first started were really generic. “Things always work out for me. I always get what I want. Today is going to be a good day. People like me and I like them.” As you grow into them, changing them up to: “People respect me and my time. Everything I touch turns to gold. Money comes to me easily. I light up a room when I walk in.”

Don’t forget that it’s easy to slip back into the pattern of negative self-talk and where you may especially become unaware is when driving, maybe even cooking a meal, taking a shower or possibly right before you fall asleep. Just be aware of these times so that you can catch it quickly and turn it around.

Comparatively speaking to a food diet, we have an endless amount of food to choose from to nourish our bodies but you don’t eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just like we can have an endless bank of thoughts. So why would you allow yourself to have a fearful thought on repeat all day long? What if you hated ice cream but you still ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because someone told you that you had to. That would be equivalent to thinking a thought that someone told you were not smart because you didn’t go to college. Sure you could look for reasons to prove this statement true but are you going to actually believe something that dumb? Don’t get off track and put any meaning behind anyone else’s opinion. They are always speaking from their best interest, not yours.

To have a healthy mental diet you have to constantly stay focused in the beginning. Becoming aware of your self-talk can make you hyper focused and that is exhausting. Try to be somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and don’t beat yourself up. In fact, reward yourself when you do catch a negative thought creep in. Don’t become scared of them, just be aware. Look at the bigger picture, the goal is to make these positive changes stay. Take baby steps, don’t run it like a marathon. I believe in you! I know that you will no longer let doubts and fears take hold of you. When you begin to believe great things about yourself, you will invite so may amazing opportunities in to match that. And remember; redirect, redirect, redirect, redirect again.