I have a VERY important question for you:
Are you rewiring in reaction to what you don’t want or are you rewiring towards what you do want?
If you are feeling frustrated in your brain retraining practice, I recommend checking in on this important topic!
A common mistake I see in brain retraining is focusing on rewiring away from something that you don't want (an uncomfortable symptom, feeling, or emotion). This looks like focusing on stopping the symptom and using rounds and other tools with the sole intention of eliminating symptoms.
Of course, it's totally normal to want the symptom to stop, but the problem with this is that the focus is still on the symptom and thus the maladaptive pathways that are creating those symptoms. Like the saying says, (I think it’s a Tony Robbins quote) “Where focus goes, energy grows.” When the focus is on wanting a symptom to stop, the energy is still going towards the symptom, strengthening the maladapted pathway.
The alternative and better option is to focus more on what you DO want and how you DO want to feel!
And when I say “focus” I mean imagining in your mind how it would feel in your body to feel amazing, to feel exactly how you want to feel!
What would it feel like to feel totally energized, calm, embodied, grateful, and full of life?
What would it feel like to feel connected to your emotions and others?
How would it feel to wake up totally rested, refreshed, and excited for the day ahead?
How would it feel to go for a run and feel strong and motivated?
How would you feel if the healing you are desiring was a reality? Who would you be? What would you be doing? What would you care about and think about? Practice imagining what that would feel like!
What do you want to create? Give that all of your energy and focus and watch it grow and materialize!
If you don’t know what you want to create, spend some getting clear on this. It’s not enough to only want the symptoms to stop. It’s not enough to want the opposite of how you’re currently feeling.
You need a bigger vision!
The truth is, you’re not just going back to how you felt before you got sick. You are creating a new reality, a truer, more authentic expression of yourself with a flexible and regulated nervous system that feels more connected, energized, calm, and purposeful than ever!
On a practical level, when you are doing your brain retraining practice, let the motivation and inspiration for practice come from the truth that you are actively creating this new reality and most authentic version of yourself. Every time you are practicing, you are moving towards this. You are strengthening those new pathways every single time you practice. How your body responds to the round and whether or not symptoms are still present is not important. What is important is that you just reinforced the pathways that are creating your healthy happy reality!
If the focus and motivation of the round is to stop a symptom, chances are after the round you are checking in with your body to see if the symptom is still there and at what level. If it is, then that probably produces fear or frustration which naturally leads to negative future predicting, catastrophizing, and/or the desire to seek another solution! In short, it feeds the trauma loops and perpetuates the maladaptive stress response.
But if you tune into and focus on the truth that every time you do a round you are literally creating what you want to feel and who you want to be, then your practice will feel purposeful and successful. This is naturally motivating and it allows your brain and body to relax knowing that you are giving your limbic brain the feedback it needs to strengthen the new neural pathways that create your reality. It is impossible to use these tools and it not change your brain! That is very good news, right?!
Cheers to the incredible rewiring power that we all possess!
Katie is a brain retraining coach who helps women and men access their innate healing wisdom to rewire their brains and thrive in life. Her approach focuses on neuroscience, nervous system education, embodiment, practical strategy, and intuitive insights.
For more information, find her on IG at @katienickersonhealth.
If you're interested in coaching but not sure if it's the right fit, sign up for a free coaching consult here!
She can also be reached at email@example.com.