Carol the Coach: Your Brain Can Change Your Motivation

I recently attended the best motivational conference in the world and much of it was about meditation and brain science. The take home message for changing your life boiled down to two concepts. If you want to change behaviors, you need to spend 5-10 minutes a day meditating because it will take you to that inner space that allows you to make the changes in your life. The second strategy was that if you want to be successful, you have to practice mental rehearsal for the changes that you want to see in your life!

When you can get your intentions to match your behaviors, you create the needed feelings and actions that can change your life. This means that you can heal the scars from the past and create the reality or the future once you apply it, personalize it and  make your actions equal to your thoughts. 

Although this sounds so “airy fairy”, the truth is this strategy changes your brain chemistry. These behaviors train your brain to make changes in your life that empower you into mastery. You align your intentions with your behaviors and your actions to match your vision which produces chemicals that provide emotions that reinforce your strengths and your desires for your own reality to come true. Therefore, much of what you believe about yourself can be altered by creating the chemicals in your brain that will produce the feelings that you want. When you produce those feelings, they reinforce what you believe about yourself, your intentions, and your ability to get things done. Feelings are the driver to produce neurochemicals that change your brain neuro-circuitry.
As you change your neuro-circuitry, they wire and fire together
which then sets up the brain to work differently.
The mental rehearsal allows you to create the event that you were envisioning and your brain supports you. You create a scenario in which you experience successful feelings which allows you to live a certain way and then you act it out accordingly which creates a synergy that supports the ongoing changes to take your life to that next level.

It does not mean that you have the power to change all of life's circumstances but you have the power to learn from them, to alter how they effect you and then to do the things that you need to do to feel confident about the changes that you would like to see.

This equates into confidence and mastery. Now you have created a map for the future which means you have learned to sync up your intentions with your behavior and your actions and more importantly you have learned to eliminate the old thoughts and behaviors that stopped you from achieving your goals and dreams.

I've been a psychotherapist for 35 years and in the past 10 years I have learned that people who have depression, or who have experienced trauma or have addictions, requires that I help them to understand that they're old behaviors have not served them well. I always ask them what they want and I ask them to describe it in great detail convincing them to use mental rehearsal which allows them to see themselves as being the catalyst for change. People make changes when they discover the formula for changing how they feel and then repetitively seeing themselves accomplishing their goals. 
Meditation allows you to intuitively know what you want and mental rehearsal creates the map to practice doing it!


"Carol the Coach": The Illusion of Love

Do you know someone who is in love with a figment of her imagination?  You know the type.  You have a friend who has conjured up, in her own mind, a scenario that reflects what she wants the situation to be…as opposed to what it really is.  

I recently saw a man who was not being treated well by his wife. They hadn’t had sex in months. She was always choosing her kids over him, berated him constantly and spent their money impulsively. After describing this dead-end relationship, he began to talk about how much they loved each other and about their plans for the future.  Although he bemoanedthe lack of love in the relationship, he quickly went into denial and stated that all he wanted to do was help her work through her issues.  He was clearly in love with the fantasy of love and was not clearly seeing the reality of his situation! 

This often occurs in dating.  For instance, a woman will come in and report that she’s still seeing Tom and that she is more in love than ever.  As we explore the mutuality of the relationship, my client will describe the real scenario.  Her boyfriend is not communicating.  She does not hear from him for days and he has not invested anything financially or emotionally towards their relationship for months or possibly years.  It appears that the relationship is not dependable yet my client seems to be “in love with being in love”, and in actuality she is getting nothing back in return. 

Although she may be able to fool herself for awhile, eventually she becomes saturated with disappointment and can no longer deny unacceptable behavior from the other person. 

There is no reason to accept sub-standard behavior or “to accept the crumbs” just to have someone in your life.  The first step to getting the love you want is to get honest with yourself and decide what you want from a partnership or a dating relationship.

Next it’s important to assess whether you can retrain your partner to be more reciprocal.  Unfortunately, you have likely put up with the old behaviors for months or years. Therefore, the behavior is pretty ingrained making redirecting or retraining tough. Practice being clear and direct with your loved one and let him or her know what your expectation looks like.  It may be, “Tom if you don’t call me by mid-week, I will no longer be available to you at midnight for a nightcap.” Or, “Jason, when you avoid my calls or refuse to make plans with me, I will need to make other plans.”  To the unfaithful spouse, “If you continue to cheat on me I will make the decision to seek an attorney and file for a formal separation because I will no longer put up with the third person in our relationship”.   

If your partner can’t or won’t alter the behavior, it is time for you to seek professional guidance.  If counseling is not helpful, you will have to make the difficult decision to end the relationship.  This of course means that you will need to get healthy so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship. 

All of this work requires that you get out of denial and get honest with yourself about what you aren’t getting from your partner.  “Being in love with being in love” is never enough to build a relationship.