understanding neuroscience & reframing
3 Steps to Improve Your Mental Fitness
“Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it ” – Marianne Williamson
I wanted to share my ‘3 Steps to Improve Your Mental Fitness’, as I know they have been a huge help to me.
As a child growing up, I struggled with daily stress and anxiety. I looked for things to worry about and unknowingly back then, I built a habit of worrying. Can you relate?
In 2018, I realised I needed to make significant changes in my life following a decline in my overall mental and physical wellbeing.
For a few years prior, I experienced memory loss, brain fog, and a lack of focus. I put it down to being a busy working mum and wife, as well as getting older now I was in my 40’s!
I didn’t know at the time that I had an autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s. This was diagnosed that year and I realised it was increasing my level of stress. It resulted in that I started to isolate myself and had increased anxiety about my weight gain.
How did I turn my life around? Read on for more on my 3 steps to improve your mental fitness.
In 2019 I studied the neuroscience of change and developed my understanding in the evidence-based techniques in neuroscience which improve overall brain function. These techniques increase your mental fitness if you incorporate them into habits which is what I did, and my life started to improve as a result.
How Neuroscience can Improve Mental Fitness
How this works is that when the brain senses a threat or perceives a threat, this activates the amygdala in the brain which is responsible for triggering the fight-or-flight response. This led to me realising I was focusing on the things which worried me, and this was triggering the fight-or-flight constantly. What I discovered is that the Amygdala activation shuts off the pre-frontal cortex in the brain which is responsible for realistic thinking. Amazing hey?
What this means is that the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex cannot be active at the same time. I realised it was therefore beneficial to me to strengthen my ability to choose how I responded to stress by increasing my mental fitness.
Changing Habits for Mental Fitness
From all this learning, I discovered I needed to build a habit which would strengthen my ability to keep the pre-frontal cortex ‘online’ preventing the amygdala triggering the fight-or-flight response.
Reframing is one of the many evidence-based techniques in neuroscience, and using it gave me the transformational results in increasing my mental fitness.
The 3 steps of reframing helps to activate the pre-frontal cortex during a stressful situation resulting in a state of calm and sense of control over how you respond.
So what are those steps? Read on…
1. Be Aware of your thoughts
The first step is to notice your thoughts during a stressful situation. Write them down. Look at how are you interpreting the situation? Why are you interpreting the situation in this way? Why are you feeling this way?
2. Challenge your Thoughts
It’s important to challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if your interpretation of the situation is based on a previous similar situation. What happens is that the brain uses patterns of thinking to drive the same behaviours unless you break the cycle.
Therefore, how you responded in the past to a similar situation is likely to be the same way you respond again. Do you notice a pattern in your thinking? Are you interpreting the situation from a realistic viewpoint?
3. Reframe your Thoughts
Next third step is to create an alternative realistic viewpoint. Ask yourself:
- How could you interpret the situation differently from a realistic perspective?
- How do you choose to respond to the situation?
- Are you ready to engage a realistic viewpoint.
By doing so you will activate the pre-frontal cortex for a state of calm and sense of control.
Ready to Reframe?
An experienced Coach can assist you to become aware of your thoughts and old patterns that are playing out and impacting your life, helping you to improve how you respond to stress and live a life of joy and calm.
Ready to set yourself up so you can live a life truly aligned with your true Self.