Our beliefs are habits of mind, our acceptance that a statement is true or something exists. We feel trust in something or someone as a result of our beliefs. Actually, the same brain laws apply to our formation of beliefs as when we learn how to obtain food. The neurotransmitter dopamine acts deeply within our brain, in a region called the mesolimbic system, during both of these events. Today, neuroscientists agree, the “self” is in constant flux. Even during deep sleep we are able to process information. We are magnificent. We are ever changing. Which is why, at an organic level, we can drop self-defeating beliefs and adopt more accurate, empowering ones. We can retrain our brains.
We are socialized into some beliefs. Our family of origin, culture, gender, birthplace, education, just for example, all factor in our belief system. It’s helpful to find out how we learned, for instance, to associate pain with work. For me, childhood teachings, “You work HARD to get ahead”, “only hard work pays off”, laid a solid platform for decades of workaholism. What I did, and did hard, defined who I was. Today my beliefs are tempered with balance, gratitude and kindness. Are your childhood-teenage-adult tapes helpful, or are they holding you back?
Beliefs shape reality. Juliana Breines, PH.D. discovered that what you believe about yourself will influence your outcomes. Come from an inner reserve of great confidence? You’ll actually have more opportunities and a higher social status. Her research also reveals that how healthy you are is influenced by your beliefs about your health, and how you treat others will elicit a response to mirror that. Her suggestions to imprint empowering beliefs include use of a daily gratitude journal and the practice of mindfulness meditation.
As a fan of both habits, my own discovery led to a shift away from the lie of “less than”. You’ll recognize an inner belief of “lack” if you’ve thought or said things like: “ I don’t have time, I’m not creative, smart; I’m too old, too young, too inexperienced; I’m not tech savvy; I don’t know what I want.” These boil down to “I’m unworthy”, a core challenge for many of us.
Empower Your Beliefs
1. Know yourself.
This information is life changing power. Discover the roots of some of the false messages that play in your mind, and change that channel. It’s only static anyway. It served it’s purpose once and is no longer useful. Pay attention to self-talk that’s unkind or limiting (false). Replace it with messages of self value (truth).
2. Practice being curious.
It’s like a shift into neutral to coast, feeling the wind, taking in the scenery, calm, appreciative.
3. Practice no judgements.
We judge everything. Good and not so good. Practice being neutral with opinions. Before you speak, apply the three gatekeepers of the tongue: Is it true, is it kind or is it necessary?
4. Manage your input.
Be a good steward of your own company, who you hang with, what you listen to, read, watch on TV. Take the last 15 waking minutes at night to envision reaching your goals, and affirm in your mind “I am……(strong, clear, resilient, whatever fits best..)”, to imprint new beliefs as you sleep.
Take very good care of your very good heart and you’ll amaze yourself with empowerment.