Below are my personal notes of You Are Not Your Brain. These highlights were what I used to write my personal development book, Wiser Next Week, a condensation of many different self improvement books.
Separating Your Brain and You
- Unhealthy habits come from deceptive brain messages that are reinforced every time you engage in them
- Remember that you are not the disease, problem or disorder, you are a person looking to resolve the symptoms
- Deceptive brain messages: any thoughts, impulses or desires that take you away from your true goals. While the experience is real, the directive is false
- There needs to be a willingness to put forth the effort to examine thought patterns to find the deceptive brain messages in order to create positive change
- A strong desire to feel better without the corresponding effort actually makes things worse.
- This leads to disappointment and a sense of failure.
Origins of Deceptive Brain Messages
- We left childhood with many deceptive brain messages, they are rooted in unaddressed needs during childhood
- Roots of deceptive brain messages could derive from being:
- Childhood needs that may have been unattended to are:
- Attention: Ignored or received minimal access to caregivers
- Acceptance: Made to conform to incongruent standards, not loved for who you are
- Affection: Caretakers withheld comforting gestures or put themselves first
- Appreciation: Excessive criticism
- Allowed to be Yourself: Controlled or manipulated
- Do not seek validation or acceptance from others
- This leads to an unhealthy dependence to the swaying of opinions of others.
- Instead, cultivate your sense of worth from within
- Learn how to provide any deprived childhood needs for yourself.
- Become aware of the deceptive brain messages
- Increasing awareness exercises:
- Awareness of Movement Exercise: When engaged in another activity, notice every movement as much as possible such as coughing and small movements for 5-10 minutes
- Awareness of Sensations Exercise:
- Sit somewhere quiet for 5 minutes, removing all distractions.
- Notice all sensations (itching, cold, discomfort
- When done, take note on whether the sensation was focused on (ie. hunger, thoughts of food)
- Awareness of Breath Exercise:
- Sit somewhere quiet for 5 minutes and remove all distractions
- Count your breaths to help remain focused
- If you catch your thoughts wandering, make note of it and refocus
- Awareness of Thoughts Exercise
- Sit somewhere quiet for 5 minutes away from distractions
- Focus on breathing while simultaneously noticing when thoughts come up
- Write 1 or 2 words describing each thought
- Continually focus on Exercise #4, begin noticing patterns in your thoughts, they’ll help you identify your deceptive brain messages
- Rule of thumb: Ask yourself, “why am I about to do X? If its because its aligned with your true goals, it’s helpful
- If its a variation of “because I should (not)”, entails guilt/shame/anxiety/depression/irrational fear or alleviates distress, then you’re likely dealing with a deceptive brain message
- Ask yourself: “Why do these thoughts, impulses, desires, urges and sensations bother me so much?”
- Say to yourself: “This is just my brain” or “I am experiencing social pain, a past negative encounter”
- Recognize the deceptive brain message and dismiss the faulty logic and refuse to act on the impulse
- Accept that the thoughts, urges, impulses will arise, but you don’t have to act on them
- How you act and what you focus on shapes you
- Make a list of different ways you can constructively Refocus your attention on something mentally engaging:
- Go for a stroll, concentrate on the scenery
- Swim, bike
- Play basketball, tennis, soccer
- Focus on your work
- Spend time with friends and family
- Let the deceptive thoughts, sensation, impulses be present while you engage in a healthy activity
- Use the 15 Minute Rule: Wait 15 minutes, or longer, between when a deceptive brain message strikes and when you act
- Clearly see the thoughts, urges and impulses for what they are, sensations caused by deceptive brain messages that are not true and have little to no value
If these brief notes, peaked your interest in You Are Not Your Brain, you can check it out on Amazon here.
And be sure to check out my book, Wiser Next Week.
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