Thursday, April 23, 2009

BRAINSTORM - the power of words

Continuing on from my previous post WHAT DO YOU WANT?

My teacher Swami Radha used to say that the way we use our words forms our reality.

Using hypnosis and self-hypnosis to achieve goals involves: goal setting, imagining, brainstorming, listening, reflection, restating goals from insights gained, taking stepwise action and reward (sometimes the action or the results are the reward).

In reality these are artificial divisions, aspects that shift and weave during an ongoing process of self evolution. Having said that, I believe it may prove helpful to explore the nuances contained in each aspect.

Brainstorming involves fact finding through questioning and listening to the words that we say and becoming aware of our body/mind responses to these messages.

This process develops clarity around the behavioural, thought and emotional patterns surrounding our challenge. Ask yourself questions and get specific about the answers; let the answer initiate more in depth questioning. Probe like DRAGNET’S Joe Friday – “just the facts ma’am” but with a little more warmth. Question like an insatiably curious innocent child whose response to any answer you give will always be “why?” or “why not?” Since we know the ultimate answer to why is “because”, phrase your questions in terms of: how, when, where or who to give yourself something to work with.

Taking a hypothetical example of a woman who wants to get rid of 20 lbs of excess weight let’s explore one of many goal setting questions – “What keeps you from achieving your ideal weight right now?”

Her answer is, “I have an uncontrollable urge to eat excessively at 3 p.m.”
What do you mean by this statement? Is there someone or some situation forcing you to eat? What do you mean uncontrollable? Are you aware as you are eating that you are eating excessively? When does this awareness kick in? Could you choose to stop once you become aware? What’s going on physically, mentally, emotionally around that time within and around you? How do you feel in your body at this time? What are you thinking about yourself or your situation as you feel the uncontrollable urge? Can you not physically remove yourself from the situation – what would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn’t eat? Is your initial assessment of the situation an exaggeration? And so on.

Seek more clarity regarding your challenge. Listen to yourself speak, to the words you choose. Observe emotional reactions, resistance to change, uncomfortable physical feelings as you answer goal setting questions – note these and move on to other goal setting questions to get an overview.

Most importantly, give yourself space between discoveries to allow new perspectives, awareness and possible solutions to surface. As you listen through the nonjudgmental wisdom of your body/mind you will be aware of a “feeling sense” about your answers. When there is clarity and authenticity there is a feeling of a grounded calmness and a “knowing” - that aha or light bulb moment.

As you become clearer rephrase your statement to more accurately reflect your new awareness of the situation. Using our example, “I have an uncontrollable urge to eat excessively at 3 p.m.” our new statement is filled with accurate information and contains the seeds of ideas for change.

“At 3 p.m. I feel extremely drowsy after sitting at my desk all day. I work in a high powered environment. We all eat our lunches at our desks. I can’t just lie down and relax for a few minutes as I don’t think that that would be acceptable at work. So since I need an energy boost I get a few cookies, which leads to more cookies and a cup of coffee. I realize maybe I’m dehydrated, that maybe I need to drink more water, but I think then I’ll have to pee all of the time. I commute an hour each way to work. When I get home from work I nibble while I make dinner for us and the kids. I clean up and by the time I get the kids into bed I’m just too tired to do anything so I relax in front of the T.V. and sometimes have some chips and pop."

As we can see in our hypothetical example, fatigue and hydration needs to be addressed but this new statement reveals many other challenges that she can address to help her balance her weight. The seeds of potential problem solving measures and actions are contained within her own words! Possibilities she would have otherwise not considered if she had accepted her initial assessment of the situation as uncontrollable.

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