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Quiet the mind

You’re cleaning the house thinking about the emails you need to check.

You’re in a meeting thinking about the doctors appointment you need to schedule.

You’re picking up your kids from school and thinking about the presentation you need to work on.

Or you are working and thinking you are working too much and should relax.

Are you EVER just doing the thing you’re doing and not beating yourself up for the things you aren’t doing?

I wasn’t, and it made life feel so rushed and miserable.

When I was relaxing I still wasn’t relaxing because the to dos we’re running through my head.

But then I spent time learning how to quiet my mind and turn off the to do list running through my mind.

So, how DO you quiet the mind that is telling you that you aren’t enough?

The first step is knowing that it’s happening and realizing it doesn’t mean you are broken.

You are just a human being with a human brain.

What you need to know is that the mind has two sides. Not like the multiple personality mental illnesses described in the dsm5. I’m talking about the humanness of the brain; the prefrontal cortex, and what I will call the lower brain.

The lower brain is the habit brain. She runs on autopilot keeping the heart beating, lungs working, eyes blinking, and runs the automatic thinking that is your go to habit thoughts and the resulting feelings. Her job is to keep you alive and safe. She latches onto thoughts that are easy to pull up because they have been memorized over time through practice. You have been building this bank of thoughts saved in your lower brain your whole life.

For me, this automatic brain regularly comes up with thoughts like “I should be doing more”. “There isn’t enough time”, I don’t want to”, “Oh no I’m late”, “Oh no I forgot something”, “I want that”, and “I shouldn’t feel that way”. I am not alone in this. These thoughts are very common.

That’s your automatic brain Sometimes it’s useful and sometimes it isn’t.

Then there is the teacher brain. The prefrontal cortex. She is the brain that loves to plan, get creative, do and learn new things, give you big goals and challenge you to change.

She also has the ability to observes the habits of the other brain, redirect it, and teach it new things. She can think about what the brain is thinking. This is her superpower.

She can be curious about habits. Can decide if the habits are useful or not, and she can decide how else she would like to be thinking. Then she can direct the lower brain so that it grows. The prefrontal cortex is like your best-ever teacher.

Over time she will teach the lower brain new habits by noticing what’s there, redirecting it to more useful thoughts and helping you practice them often enough that they are memorized and become automatic.

She does amazing work. Hard work. Uncomfortable work.

This knowledge helped me change “there isn’t enough time” to “I always make time for what’s important”. I also changed “I should be doing more” to “I’m proud of what I am doing”. I learned to remember that when I’m having downtime “rest and downtime are healthy and important”.

How? I noticed and got curious about my lower brains habit thoughts. I wrote them down and decided if they were helping me or hurting me. Then I practiced new equally believable, authentic, true thoughts that were more useful. I practiced them as regularly as I could until they became automatic.

In this way, your brain can become your best friend. It can be compassionate, empathetic, understanding and helpful. If you let your teacher brain take charge you can truly quiet your mind and enjoy what you are doing.

Inspired Leader LLC – I offer life and career coaching.
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