Life & Style Weekend - - MIND - MIND YOU WORDS: NICK BEN­NETT

Take two sim­ple state­ments, the first is that per­cep­tion is re­al­ity. The sec­ond is that emo­tion does not ex­ist out­side of us there­fore emo­tion is a choice. These are fairly fun­da­men­tal truths yet there are cir­cum­stances where we get caught up in the im­me­di­ate emo­tion of an event and are so im­pacted by that emo­tion that our re­al­ity be­comes dis­torted and we an­chor our­selves in a neg­a­tive (or pos­i­tive) belief that shapes our re­sponse to sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions into the fu­ture. Emo­tion is a pow­er­ful thing and if it is un­con­trolled, not un­der­stood or poorly man­aged, it can cre­ate dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences in our re­la­tion­ship with our self and most cer­tainly with oth­ers. Emo­tion is in­trin­si­cally linked to our per­cep­tion and that per­cep­tion is shaped by what we choose to be­lieve. Be­liefs are our neu­ro­log­i­cal fil­ters and pro­vide in­ter­nal men­tal maps (per­cep­tions) for the ter­ri­tory we op­er­ate in – our ex­ter­nal re­al­ity. They are no more than that. As an anal­ogy you could liken it to the frame that sur­rounds a pic­ture. The shape and colour of it af­fects how or what we “see” and in­ter­pret what’s in the pic­ture. When we change the frame – in other words we do a reframe – we change what the eye and the mind is drawn to. Re­fram­ing in­volves choos­ing to change your in­ter­nal per­spec­tive on a given sit­u­a­tion to give it a more pos­i­tive or ben­e­fi­cial mean­ing to you. So then, with emo­tion be­ing an in­ter­nal re­sponse to an ac­tion, event, ex­pe­ri­ence or thought, if we can choose to change our in­ter­nal frame we change how we en­gage in the ex­ter­nal world or ter­ri­tory and change the re­sult. Sim­ply put, if what I think drives what I feel which drives what I do, then if I change what I think, I’ll change what I feel and that will change what I do. While the in­ten­tion is to be­come more self-con­trolled in the mo­ment, there is a greater op­por­tu­nity to be­come more self-aware. Once we start chal­leng­ing our­selves about our emo­tions, we also start to chal­lenge our­selves on our be­liefs. Many of the things we’ve cho­sen to hold as be­liefs are ab­sorbed through child­hood and pro­vided by key in­flu­encers. They are ac­tu­ally oth­ers’ be­liefs that have been con­firmed over time and ex­pe­ri­enced by us. And, be­cause we’ve cho­sen them and reaf­firmed them, our neu­ral net­work around them is con­tin­u­ally strength­ened. We tend not to chal­lenge those in­grained be­hav­iours be­cause quite sim­ply we look to con­firm our be­liefs – not to deny them. That takes work and the brain is lazy. We be­come what we think. So, if that’s the case, chang­ing the way we think changes the out­come. A lit­tle self-dis­ci­pline and self-aware­ness go a long way. Once you are aware, re­fram­ing is easy and means you are in con­trol. What can you reframe to en­hance your world? Nick Ben­nett is a fa­cil­i­ta­tor, per­for­mance coach and part­ner of Minds Aligned: mind­

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