10 Ways I Retrained my Brain (Part 1 of 2)
Let me be real with you …
I look back to about 15 years of my pre-teen, teenage, and young-adult life, and it makes me a little sad knowing I lived those years at my rock bottom. I wish I knew what I did now about using my mind to retrain my brain and turn each of those years into the #YearofElla.
But it’s okay … because isn’t that the point of life? You know, to figure it out as you go.
I figured it out eventually. And I’m here now sharing what I learned in hopes that someone else does not have to live so many years at their rock bottom, trying to figure out all the answers themselves.
The past 2-3 years have been monumental for me in re-shaping the way I live. I narrowed down the top 10 things I’ve been doing over these past few years to retrain my brain so that you can try them out too:
#1 – I listen more than I talk
This is a big one because I talk a lot. Which is why this is going to be a 2-part post!
Growing up I was quite loud and opinionated… But there were time when I shared my opinion about something, only to change my mind about it later, then feel silly and embarrassed that I was previously so vocal about mis-information. I needed to start avoiding that horrible feeling of embarrassment and start learning more about everything I could.
So I quieted down and started listening. Now, I try to soak up as much information as I can and then go do my own research.
Now, when I am in a group setting and somebody brings up politics and another controversial topic, I stay fairly quiet, and always acknowledge that I am forming my opinion based on what I know… and then I go ahead to say what I know. Giving other people this context gives them the opportunity to add to what I am saying instead of countering it with an argument.
As an example, there was a point in my life where I thought veganism was the way to go and I literally thought no one should be eating meat because it would give them cancer. Then I did some first-hand research – I changed my opinion completely and I wish I would done the research initially.
So if you ever find yourself in a position where you get so revved up about a subject that you can’t even talk about it, take that as your cue to start listening more and learn more about what you want to say.
And if you are that person who gets revved up over subjects like politics or religion, then you need to check out the video below called 3 tips for becoming an independent thinker.
#2 – I started apologizing
This one is still a hard one for me and I need to do it more. My whole life, I never liked apologizing because I felt like I was admitting I was wrong (which is really what you are doing…but who likes to be wrong!? Not Ella!)
But here’s what I realized, if I did something sh*tty that wronged another person, that I needed to own up to my actions.
We are not perfect, we are human. If you do something that wrongs someone else, you need to be the bigger person and take responsibility for your actions. It was maybe a year ago that this point really hit home with me, and I messaged a bunch of people who I knew I wronged in the past but never gave a good apology to; I apologized to them properly. I highly recommend you try that too.
Some people might not forgive you even after you’ve apologized. You have to be prepared for that to happen.
My best advice is to forgive even when not apologized to and apologized even if you’re not forgiven.
#3 – I started walking everywhere! I don’t even own a car
I realized that I spent way too much time sitting and way to much time indoors, and when I changed that, my mood baseline skyrocketed. It’s almost unbelievable how much the outdoors can improve you health.
So if it’s cold, I wear 4 layers, bundle up, and walk 25 minutes to work or walk 30 minutes to the grocery store. And if it’s hot, I’ll walk in workout clothes and bring a change of clothes.
I don’t complain, I adapt. It’s really a pet peeve of mine when people complain about the weather. Humans have invented so many different types of technology for clothes, that it’s almost no longer a challenge to adapt for the weather!! So if you want to start creating your breakthrough without doing additional things in your day, dress appropriately and start walking everywhere you can. I cannot recommend it enough.
#4 – I self-reflect a lot
That means I take my own advice. I have done and continue to do every exercise on my blog so I can maintain and improve my personal growth.
I am serious about analyzing my daily behaviour to see where I can change things. I track my my habits and routines in my bullet journal which you can check out on my Instagram story highlight called my bujo hacks!
I even schedule a few days in the year to audit my habits. If you want try auditing your habits as well, check out the how-to right here. And you can also take my free 5 day course on habits to help you learn how to identify as well as break and create habits in your life.
#5 – I started to minimize pre-suffering by becoming more logical
One of the reasons I was reacting so negatively to situations was because I would take an experience and then project what might happen in the future. Doing that was a great way to create rock bottom…
Let’s go through an example of pre-suffering from my recent past: At the end of 2018 I left my job and moved across the country.
At first that might sound scary. Not because quitting a job and moving is inherently scary … see I wanted to do those things. What scared me was the fake future I made up for myself at the time and that was: I won’t have an income, I will become lazy, I won’t be able to pay rent, I’ll go into debt, I’ll have to eat at a soup kitchen – those are the things that scared me! But those things didn’t happen yet. And they still haven’t happened because I have money, I am working, I am growing a businesses, so at the moment I have no reason to stress!
If you want to eliminate future stress and pre-suffering just ask yourself one important question “Is this happening right now?” Based on your answer, you’re going to be able to manage your stress much better. And if you want to know more on that subject you definitely need to check out the hilarious Ted Talk by Loretta LaRoche. Just click play on the video below or click the hyperlink here.
#6 – Music Cleanse
… but that is all the time we have for today! If you want to tune-in to next week’s post where I give you the final 5 retrain your brain tips, make sure you subscribe by filling out your email in the box below.
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As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.