In today’s episode, I share why our brains tend to focus on the negative things around you… it’s actually designed to work that way for a purpose!
But I want to notice all the good, I want to let go of the cringe-worthy moments that keep coming up for me and I want to be able to choose the thoughts I have so they support my life!
Today’s episode is great for anyone who tends to harp on the negative, can’t get out of their own head or has big events coming up and wants to feel in control of their emotions along the way!
Thanks for listening! If you liked this episode, the greatest gift I can receive is you sharing the show with your friends!
Welcome to the art of living day. I’m your host, Betsy Pake, and this podcast is designed to share interviews and new ideas to help you redefine what could be possible for your life. Now, let’s go live big. Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. I’m excited that you’re here. Today, we are going to be talking about something that I get asked about all the time. Like, I think every single coaching client one on one client that I’ve worked with, we’ve talked about this, I’ve talked about this, it’s one of the questions I get every single time I, I do a group coaching or anytime I speak, it’s always something that people come up and ask me about afterwards. And I know it’s because this is such an important topic. And this is such a thing that affects everybody it affects everybody affects me, it affects you, it affects your best friend. And that is how to actually squash the negative self talk. So you know, the negative self talk, it’s like you’re going through your day. And then you start like replaying a loop in your head maybe of something stupid that you did a couple days ago, or something that you’re thinking about as you’re driving to work. And all of a sudden, you realize you’re thinking about like somebody that got under your skin or something that didn’t go the way you wanted it to. And so it’s sort of a weird phenomenon, right? Like, why do we have so much negative self talk, and we know it’s not good, we, we see all of the posts on Instagram and on social media, that tell us that self love is so important. And you’re great just the way you are. And all of those things are really nice. But how do they really get us to stop that cycle of negative thinking? So I want to talk about that today. It’s funny, because as I was prepping this, and you know, I talk a lot about being aligned. And I try to do these shows based on the kinds of questions and the things that are coming up for me each week, so that you get something that I know must be resonating with you because it’s happening to me too. And I believe that we all have this connection. And it’s funny because I have a girlfriend who messaged me the other day, I had just finished a bunch of research, I like to make sure that the things that I share with you actually have a basis in science, right. So I always like to double, I double check. I fact check everything before I jump on the show. And I had done this research and written out all these notes. And then she sent me a screenshot from some book that she saw, like someone posted on Instagram. And it was the exact same research that I like, of all the research in the world, it was the exact same research. So I was like, Okay, this is really something I’m supposed to bring to you. And this is the week that I’m supposed to bring it to you. So Alright, so let’s get into it. We have in the research that we both had found was Dr. Rick Hanson, he has a TED talk. That’s really good. And that might be something that helps you. But what he actually talks about is how we have a hard bias in our brains for negativity, which, if you think about it from a, like a scientific standpoint, it totally makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, that if I am a caveman, and I’m running through a field, and I hear a rustle in the grass, and it’s a tiger coming to eat me, it’s really important that that gets hardwired in my brain that I never forget that that I know that as soon as I hear that sound, the adrenaline better pump, I better get going, I need to run as fast as I can. And I if I survive that. I don’t want to forget that. And so remember my brains, one of my brain’s biggest jobs is to keep me alive. And it doesn’t realize that my my biggest issue is like the, you know, the mascara I pick today doesn’t realize that it’s the tiger is not really my big issue, right? So my brain is actually getting all of this feedback, but it’s been biologically designed to focus on the negative stuff. So if you’re having that loop of negative self talk, it’s actually your brain is working perfectly.
what’s happening is we have this hardwired negativity bias, the bad sinks right in to keep us alive. But the good sort of glosses over the good sort of light comes in and we go good and bounces right off of our brains. Think about it, think about your morning already. And I bet if you had a bad experience that comes to your mind look just like that. But I bet you had a lot of little good experiences too. And those you might have to actually search for as we’re thinking as we’re talking. So we have a negative a hard or hard bias for this negativity so that we remember it and remember we’ve talked about this and Some of my other episodes in the episode on science, I think it was like 77, how your brain works is that if there’s an emotion attached to it like a really strong emotion, it gets embedded in your brain even more. And chances are, if you have a really strong reaction to some negativity, then that’s not only being embedded in your brain because of the negativity bias, but also being embedded because it’s got a high emotion around it. And when things start firing together, when your neurons fire together, they wire together. And again, that’s an evolutionary process so that if my neurons start firing, when I hear the rustle in the grass, they’re wired together. So every time I hear this little rustle in the grass I get on I hightail it, right, I get going. So this is how come you seem to notice that you have all of these negative thoughts that you might be saying some negative self talk or having these reoccurring thoughts. Now, we have about 90,000 thoughts that come into our brains every single day, and about 60,000 of them are just repeats from the day before. So if you have been having negative self talk, the chances that the negative self talk is going to be continuing unless you do something different, is really high. So just know that if that’s you, and you’re listening right now, you’re perfect. It’s working perfectly, your brain is designed this way, and it is doing its job. But we live in a different world. So we want to start to shift things, we want to change it. And so that’s what I want to talk about today. You know, it’s funny, because whenever I’m going to speak,
like for a large group, not
like on the podcast or not, I do a coffee and coaching like a local thing every month here and not
that. But if
I talk to a large group 200 people about a week before, I mean, I start remembering the most cringe worthy, awful things that I’ve done, like just stupid stuff, not even things with any sort of meaning, but just dumb stuff I did you know, in seventh grade, or, you know, stupid stuff, I wish I hadn’t tripped while I was walking through a hallway, when there was nothing to trip on, you know, like, I start thinking about those things. And that may happen to you too, like right before you go into a meeting where you’re going to present or you’re meeting with a new client or something’s happening that’s putting you out of your ordinary. So remember, my brain will like ordinary, because ordinary is safe and ordinary means, okay, I can relax because I’m not going to get eaten by a tiger. So if I’m doing something different, if I’m having these moments where I’m putting myself into a situation that’s out of the ordinary, my brain is going to try to protect me by showing me all of the negative crap. And so when that starts to happen, you’re gonna start, you may start to notice that you have this influx of negative self talk an influx of stupid memories that are coming back up for you. And so just know that that’s totally normal to, and what we need to do is we need to develop a plan so that whether it’s a particular event that’s happening, that you’re noticing an increase in self talk, or it’s just your every day, right, so there’s everyday stuff, where you notice you walk up to the mirror to brush your teeth, and you go, oh my god, I’m so wrinkly, or whatever it is for you. Okay, so. So let’s get started, let’s get started on a couple ways that we can do this. Now, one of the ways is that we can actually start to reinforce the good. So the bad comes in and gets embedded, it gets really deep into our brains and our brains latch on to it for dear life, literally. But the good sort of bounces off bounces off. So what we’ve started doing it My house is celebrating the good. So we’re reinforcing it. And one of the things that we do if something happens,
even if it’s something little,
so like, I’ll get a new coaching client, which I love my one on one coaching clients, that is the that is so fun to me when I get to work with my coaching clients. And so when I get somebody new to work with, like, my brain likes it, because it’s like, ooh, somebody
new somebody new, right,
our brain likes novelty. But when I would get coaching clients, I would go Oh, yay, that’s good. And then I continue to move on with my day. But now I text my husband, I tell my kid, and we do something little to celebrate, we talk about it at dinner and everybody sort of cheers and I think about it and like I let it really embed. Now if I do a workout that’s particularly hard, and I do it, and I finish, then I do the same thing. I
go Yes, that was so good.
Like I’ll put a picture of it on my snapchat like all do something to help embed it in my brain. Now you can do this right now. If you Just want to think about something good. That’s happened. Think about it, find it get in the moment, how does it feel? Do you feel really good? Can you get into that good feeling thought like, what right where you were when it happened, you know, I like to lift in my garage. And so when I’m doing this right now, as we’re thinking, I’m thinking about that. And I’m imagining what the air feels like, because it feels a little cool out still, but it’s, I’m hot, because I’ve been working out. And it smells sort of like the chalk dust from the hand chalk that’s in a bucket right there by my, all my weights, and I can feel the floor in the floor, I, you know, I lift on concrete, so I can kind of feel that under my feet. And I just finished the workout and I’m tired. And I’m huffing and puffing. And I’m done. And I’m looking down at the weights and going like that is over, I did it. And I feel like this sense of accomplishment. Now just me thinking about that. reinforcing that using all my senses, is bringing it back, my brain doesn’t know if it’s real, or if it’s just happened, right. So my brain doesn’t know if it’s real, or I’m thinking about it. And so for me, right now, it’s totally real, like I just did this, or I’m gonna celebrate that, like, put my hands in the air, like, that’s gonna change my brain chemistry, like lifting my arms over my head. Now,
like, if you’re in sales, and you get a great sales call,
like lift your arms over your head, go, that was really
good. If somebody hangs up on you,
just ignore it, right, but we’re gonna reinforce the good. So think about the ways you can start to celebrate your life. Think about the good things that happen and start to get your reticular activator noticing. So your reticular activators, your RA s, it’s a portion of your brain. It’s the thing in your brain that when you go to buy a car, and then all of a sudden, you see everybody else has a car just like that, you know that phenomenon. That’s your reticular activator. So when you start to notice, you’ll start to notice things that are on your mind, right, which is biological. So if you can trigger your reticular activator to start noticing good stuff, it’ll start noticing more and more good stuff where you can celebrate and make it fun. You know, I was in corporate America for 20 years in sales. And if I would get a sale, it didn’t even matter if it was a small sale, I would do this little high kick in the hallway. And like a little Boogie dance right now. I’m super animated. And I like to have fun. But like for me,
when I look back on those 20 years, like, I’m sure
I got the door closed in my face, I’m sure people said mean stuff to me on the phone, like I don’t really remember. But I do remember those like bogies in the hallway. And, you know, I had really successful sales career and I focused on the good stuff. Now, the next thing we can do is just to remove it. So if you’ve got something bad that keeps coming up, so you keep thinking about the same thing. And it’s this like negative experience that happened or it always pops up. Or maybe you always have the same thing pop up, that’s like your sixth grade
self doing something dumb,
right? We all have those cringe worthy moments from when we were young. So if that is whatever it is for you like that comes up that comes up. And don’t try to think about it now. But if it comes up for you later today, you’ll be just notice it. And then just like we did with the good, you know, we tried to like add all of our senses, I want you to try to do the same exact thing by changing those things. So instead of having where I’m really trying to like imagine the smell of the garage, and really trying to imagine the skin temperature and all that, when I have something bad. Typically, I will already have all of those things, all those modalities are already really obvious to me.
But to break the
state to make them so that they’re not
quite so pungent. I can just start to change them. So here’s one way I can do it. So. So I’m going to tell you a total, like total cringe worthy moment that I’ve had. So I used to live in Nashville, and I was on this board for this organization that I really loved. And I was on the membership Committee, which was so fun, because I got to know what everybody was up to, like I got to know what people’s businesses were. And then it made me a incredible connector, because then I could go, oh, Judy, you need to meet Tracy. And when people came in to the organization, I got to know who they were. And it was so fun. So here’s my cringe worthy moment.
We had an event.
Now at the time I was going through a divorce.
So I think I was probably really stressed out as I look back.
But we had an event where it was like a luncheon and everybody that was in that the head of their little part of the organization would get up and say what their organization, their rule was to try to get people to join so I needed to get people to join the membership committee. So what I said was, you’ll get joined the membership. It’s so fun, you get to know everybody and you You know, you kind of get to know the dirt on everyone. That’s what I said the dirt, which sounds like I wanted to know like the joke, like the bad stuff. And that’s so not what I meant. I am not joking you, I have thought about that for, like 10 years, it bugged me so much. And I remember I just like quit set Kwikset down, because I was like, Oh, my God. And then I was like, I can’t believe I just said that. Like, how did that come out? Because I don’t want to know the dirt. I really want to be a connector. And then I mean, I don’t think anybody joined because people were like, I just want to stay away from Betsy because she’s trying to find the dirt out on us.
So here’s what you do.
As I take that I remember it. I actually remember, this is a this is so true. I remember what I was wearing. And I remember like looking down and seeing my clothes, that’s something that when I have an event that’s like has an impact on me, I just tend to remember my clothes. So I remember the room, I remember where I was sitting. And so all I’m going to do is dim that because right now as I’m thinking about it, it’s really bright. So I can really see all the vivid colors, and I can see my outfit, it’s really vivid. So I’m turning it as I’m talking and making it black and white. So now it’s black and white. So it feels a little different already. One thing is I noticed is that I’m in it. So like I’m looking through my own eyes. So I’m going to remove myself from it, I’m going to step across the room, and I’m going to see myself as if I’m watching a movie. So that actually feels a lot better. So now I’m only watching myself and it’s in black and white. So it’s just not nearly as compelling. I’m gonna make the image really small, like really small. And then I’m gonna, I have, I have sort of a visual of it where I could, I could point to like, I can see it, but I’m going to take it sort of with my hand and I’m going to push it far, far out, like as far as my arm will go. So now it’s this little tiny black and white vision, where I’m watching it. And I’m not in it. It’s watching like a movie. And it’s small, and it’s dark, and it’s black and white. And it’s pixelated, I mean, I can hardly see it. You know, so I and I have been doing this for a long time. But I don’t really feel any emotion. When I was telling you that story. I was feeling the emotion about it like the cringe worthy moment, but now it feels a little different. Now the other thing I can do is I can amp up the volume. So if it’s something someone said to you, for example, crank up the volume. So their voice is like a cartoon, you know how you can like change somebody’s voice like on Snapchat or whatever, change the volume, because it’s really hard to take something serious if someone’s like in a cartoon voice, right? So there’s all these different ways you can take something that’s happened negative and just take the emotion out of it. And when you take the emotion out of it, but you still have the memory of the thing, what are you left with wisdom. So remove emotion first from stuff. Now again, I’ve practiced this, but this might be something if something happens, or if there’s something that comes up that always comes up for you. Try this, see if it can help you. All right, the last little tip is to get a greatest hits. Sometimes, you know, I talked about how we have in these 90,000 thoughts and 60,000 of them are repeats. And we have to give ourselves new things to think about. I talked about this in the scripting episode, which was like, if you go to my website and backslash Betsy pake.com backslash scripting, it’ll bring you right to that podcast. But I think it was like podcast 82 or 83. In that I talked about how to start to give yourself new thoughts. And I think that’s a powerful practice. But if you have things that you’ve done that are really good, like those great moments that you’ve had, you’ve had those moments in your life that are really great. And it could be something you’ve done, that’s really great. Or it could be somebody that gave you praise. I think I’ve talked about this on the show before but when I first got on Facebook, like probably seven or eight years ago, whenever I got on Facebook, somebody messaged me now I’m 46 years old. So somebody messaged me that I went to grade school with and then they had moved away. And they said, I don’t know if you remember me, which I totally remember them. But they were like you were really kind to me when nobody else was really very kind to me. And I just wanted to thank you. I
to that’s one of the greatest moments of my life. like not even kidding, if I could be kind to somebody that needed kindness. So I wrote that down on an index card, it’s in my wallet, like anytime I’m having a bad day, I open up my wallet and I pull out this index card. And it has little things like that, that remind myself of what is true. Because probably the negative self talk you’re coming up with isn’t even true. But you’ve determined that it’s true. And so that’s become your reality, and that’s what you’re focused on. You have to change your focus. I woke up this morning thinking
about my grandmother and I was really close with my grandmother.
She was just such a cool Lady. And when she was transitioning when she was about to transition, she was in the hospital. And she said to me, I’m so brave, aren’t I so brave. She said to that to my sister and I, and I was thinking about that this morning. And I was like, hell yeah, you’re brave, like talk about that’s the ultimate braveness. Right, going into the total unknown. Other people have gone before, but they haven’t
lived to tell about it. And so I
thought that is
so profound, that at that moment, she would focus on what she wanted her brain to be thinking it like at that moment, you have no, but it took away all resistance
to anything else, because she had
no other option, right? Well, I guess she had another option, but that sure wouldn’t have been comfortable if she was like, holy crap. No, no, no. So imagine if you could use that in your life now. Take away all the resistance and just focus on the stuff that’s really great and who you really are? Because it’s chances are those that negative self talk, it’s not even real. I bet you that the thing that happened to me, that I told you about when I said thing, which is funny, because I can’t even hardly remember it. I’ve turned it into such a non issue for me. But when I stood up and said that stupid thing, I bet you nobody in the room remembers that.
So why am I rehashing it and using it to to like, kill myself right to put myself down, just not worth it. So, use these tips to heart start to shift the way you’re thinking because you are so good. You do way more good things than you ever do cringe worthy things. And chances are the cringe worthy things are only noticed by you. Nobody else notices. They’re too worried about their own cringe worthy things. So start to make those shifts start to tell yourself the reality you really want. Start to remove the yuck and move on with your life so that you can get to all the really good stuff that’s coming. So thanks so much for listening this week. Don’t forget you deserve to live a big life. Thanks so much for listening. Remember, you can find me all over social media at Betsy Pake. And,
as always, here’s a little message from my husband.