You are stronger than you think!

May I break that down for you?

You – the person reading this blog
Stronger – greater emotional strength; resilience, fortitude and determination
Think – inner voice, narrative with self.

At this unprecedented time I cannot emphasis this enough; ‘How you think will dictate how you feel’ therefore, to be stronger you will need to think you are.

“How you manage your thoughts during this period of social distancing and when necessary self-isolation, is imperative so you can sustain a positive state of mind.”

Remember: How you think will dictate how you feel.

The importance of thought cannot be overstated. Think of thought as that inner voice that narrates your life. I believe mine is akin to ‘Red’ from the Shoreshank Redemption (aka Morgan Freeman). I noticed some time ago, on a friend’s fridge, a magnet that said ‘Morgan Freeman narrates my life’ and it stuck with me.

Positive thought is essential and the intellectual returns for your wellbeing will be significant. When we think, act and interact positively we facilitate the production of the happy hormone; serotonin.

Positive thought requires personal effort. Positive thought requires you to make that effort, it cannot be done for you, remember ‘How you think dictates how you feel.’

I do not want this perspective to come over as harsh or contrite however, understand this; the choice of how to think is in your gift and your gift only.

To nurture that inner voice and make you your very best friend start small.

Learning any new skill requires patience and compassion from the teacher and in this instance you are the teacher, teaching yourself to be more positive, patient and compassionate. Recall those individuals who taught you something, it is a fair to say that those who were patient and compassionate taught you something new making something easier for you.

Now construct a narrative where you are this kind teacher towards yourself.

• What small step can you take now to become more positive of thought?
• So what will be different for you in the future now you are more positive of thought?
• Now what will you be able to do now that you feel more positive?

These small steps are the archetypal foundations to sustaining and enduring positive thoughts, actions and interactions. It is by noticing, savouring and valuing the personal effort, application and learning you implement, that will fuel you with essential serotonin and see you through to the other side of this pandemic, a fitter and stronger version of yourself; You 2.0

Social media has never been so important to enabling connectivity with family and friends, indeed the face to face Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and others provide virtual contact and available neuroscience evidences that the brain cannot tell the difference between this and direct contact.

This means you get the same serotonin, endorphins and dopamine that you would get if you were in the same room.

Yet here is the rub… social media has always provided a platform for people to ‘shout’ and in the current pandemic it would suggest that so many are doing so. Well, good for them.

It’s important to see social media for what it is; brand diversification, marketing and self-promotion in these uncertain times.

Everybody is scared by change and although it’s ok to acknowledge that fear, it is not ok for that fear to dominate your thoughts. Fear is fuel to that negative narration of your life. When I am guilty of this, we all are from time to time, my narrator switches form the dulcet tones of Mr Freeman (Red) to the cold articulation of Professor Snape, he of the Harry Potter films and the late great Alan Rickman.

Remember ‘how you think dictates how you feel’. When I ‘hear’ Snape narrating my life I know I need to think differently. By thinking differently ‘Red’ will resume narration, deescalating my sense of fear and returning me to an equilibrium of calm, control and positivity.

Your salvation, during these uncertain times, is the anterior cingulate. The anterior cingulate is the area of your brain that literarily has the ability to slow your thinking down.

The anterior cingulate allows you to acknowledge that you are scared but, most importantly, not be overwhelmed. Once you’ve acknowledged the fear, slow your thinking down, relax and switch the polarity around and focus your thought energy on how you want things to be, so that you attract the solutions, you attract good fortune like a magnet.

Think of the anterior cingulate as your own personal assistant, (PA), every good Boss has one.

The Boss, in this metaphor proffered by John, J Ratey MD in his book ‘A users guide to the brain’, is your preverbal Morgan Freeman aka Red. The PA keeps the ‘silly’ off the Boss’s desk; most importantly the PA keeps the Fire Marshal, aka Snape, of the Boss’s (Red’s) call sheet.

This is to say at any time Snape’s snake like whispers begin to narrate your life, the PA is there to acknowledge those concerns but firmly send them away. This intervention by the anterior cingulate aka PA ensures that the Boss aka Red can focus their energies on a thorough assessment of any given situation and identify the solutions that are right for you and the people you care most about. This intellectual control ensures the Fire Marshal, aka Snape, stays away; unless the building really is on fire.

Adoption of a solution-focused mind set will help you to remain present, mindful and positive. There are many things that you can not affect during this current crisis however how you choose to think, act and interact is in your gift and it is how you think, that first small step, that will influence how you feel.

Stay safe, stay well.

Brett Rennolds is a qualified Solution Focused Hypnotherapist DSFH, HPD, MNCH NCH Supervisor and registered with the Complimentary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Brett will be providing signposting to aid in essential self care for all, via his website, in the sincere wish that the help helps.