Change your thoughts, change your life!
Who are you? What makes you "you"? To answer this simple question, we all refer back to a story in our head that pieces together all our experiences and what we believe about ourselves. But how does this internal dialogue affect our lives and more importantly, what if we could change the story?
For example, for many years I used to say "I can't run" and I truly believed this must just be a flaw in my physique. The truth of the matter was that I'd tried it once, felt like I was going to die and was therefore was not inclined to repeat the experience. But after my husband pushed me to try it again and again, I slowly found I could run a little further and a little faster. Over time, I actually began to enjoy running and now it is an integral part of my week. So I spent years saying that I "couldn't run" all based on one experience and therefore believing it to be true.
Another old favourite was from when I used to smoke. "But I enjoy smoking", I would tell myself. Now, did I really enjoy being addicted to spending a fortune on something so bad for my health? Of course not! But believing I enjoyed smoking was easier than facing the discomfort of giving up. It wasn't until I changed my internal dialogue to "I'm so happy to be free of smoking" that it suddenly became incredibly easy to never smoke again.
I see many clients holding onto negative beliefs about themselves, such as "I was born a worrier", "I'm not a confident person", "I can't possibly enjoy the weekend without a glass of wine" etc. But just because they think these thoughts, doesn't mean they are true. We aren't hard wired with these beliefs from birth, so we know they are the product of learnt behaviour. These types of thoughts are the way the brain files away our experiences to ensure our survival, by basically encouraging us to repeat behaviour that felt good and to avoid what didn't. For example, someone who fumbled their words while reading aloud in primary school, may have felt so awful about it that their brain works really hard to protect them from it happening again. This manifests as feeling anxious every time a similar situation arises and as a result, their internal dialogue in adulthood becomes "I can't do public speaking". But the reality of the situation is, they probably could speak in public perfectly well if the negative belief didn't hold them back.
Therefore, who you are at this moment in time is the result of an infinite multiplicity of decisions you have made, based on both the positive and negative beliefs you have stored away in your subconscious. Understanding this enables you to identify what beliefs are no longer serving you well, and what you'd like to change to make your life better. For example, "what would life be like if I didn't excessively worry?", "how would I act if I was confident?" or"what would I be able to do on a weekend that having a hangover stops me from?". Hypnotherapy is a very powerful tool to enhance this, as it accesses the subconscious part of the brain with positive suggestions of how you would like your life to be. And when you begin to let go of the negative thoughts you hold about yourself, you can start to drastically change your reality!
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About Melanie Gillespie
Melanie Gillespie is a clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist based in Frenchay, Bristol.