Notes from the book ‘Change Your Life in 7 Days’ by Paul McKenna on Neural Reconditioning.
The worst critic you will ever encounter is the one who lives inside your own mind. ~ Paul McKenna
Neural Reconditioning Techniques
The Inner Critic
The worst critic you will ever encounter is the one who lives inside your own mind. The way you talk to yourself has a profound impact on your emotional state.
- Stop for a moment and talk to yourself in your critical voice, saying all those nasty things in that unpleasant tone.
- Notice where you make that voice. Does it seem to be coming from inside your head or outside? Is it at the front, the sides, or the back?
- Extend your arm and stick out your thumb.
- Wherever the critical voice was, move it down your arm to the tip of your thumb, so it’s now speaking to you from there.
- Next, slow it down and change the tone of it. Make it sound sexy, or speed it up so it sounds like Mickey Mouse.
It sounds much less threatening.
Remember that criticism needs to be constructive if it’s going to be of any use – the intention is positive – to stop you from making mistakes and help you do things better.
- Remember a time when you made a mistake and you harshly criticized yourself. Recall exactly what you said.
- Now ask yourself, ‘How could I say the same message in an encouraging way?’
- Step back into yourself at the time you made the mistake. This time, give yourself the constructive criticism instead.
You have a choice. You are in control.
(The Russian scientist who would ring a bell before feeding his dogs and then finding that repetition caused the dogs to salivate even if there were no food.)
The brain is a mass of millions of neural pathways, with each idea or memory moving along its own path. Whenever we do something new, we create a new neural pathway so we can re-access that experience again more easily. Each time we repeat a particular behaviour, we strengthen the associated neural pathway.
Research has shown that these neural pathways in the brain actually get physically larger through repetition of behaviour. That is how people become ‘hard-wired’ to certain automatic behaviours, such as smoking and overeating We can use that same mental architecture to design pathways to success and happiness, and to create associations that allow us to ‘switch on’ certain feelings whenever we want them.
I’m going to guide you through accessing a strong positive state. Each time you experience a peak of the good feeling, press the thumb and middle finger of either hand together to create an association between confidence and the physical gesture. (Over time, this will become your confidence ‘switch’, enabling you to access your most confident states at will).
- Remember a time when you felt really, really confident. Fully return to it now – see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel how good you felt (if you can’t remember, imagine how much better your life would be if you were totally confident – if you had all the power, strength and self-belief you could ever need).
- As you keep going through this memory, make the colours brighter and richer, the sounds louder and the feelings stronger.
- Now, squeeze the thumb and finger together and relieve that good feeling.
- Repeat steps 1-4 several times with different positive memories until just squeezing your thumb and finger together begin to bring back those good feelings.
- Still holding your thumb and finger together, think about a situation in which you want to feel more confident. Imagine things going perfectly, going exactly the way you want them to go. See what you’ll see, hear what you’ll hear, and feel how good it feels.
Practice this every day. The mind is very sensitive, and as you feel more confident running through those scenarios, you will feel more confident when they occur in the real world.
Whenever you feel challenged, simply turn on your confidence switch by squeezing your thumb and middle finger together, concentrate for a few moments, and access your inner state of confidence.
What’s ‘Right’ With You ~ Confidence Building Technique
- Standing in front of a mirror with your eyes closed, recall a specific time when you were paid a compliment/appreciated by someone you respect or trust. Run through the experience in vivid detail.
- As you recall the compliment, and the sincerity of the person who said it, pay particular attention to your feelings of trust and regard for the other person.
- When you feel that as strongly as possible, open your eyes and look in the mirror. Allow yourself to really see what that person saw, and notice how that feels.
- When you are really feeling wonderful in yourself, squeeze together your thumb and middle finger. Allow the feelings of self-love and self-respect to blend with the feelings of confidence that are already there.
The Negativity “Fast”
When we indulge in negativity over the years, we literally hard-wire ourselves to be negative.
For the rest of the week, you are going to interrupt that pattern. You are going to starve yourself of negativity and retrain yourself to be more positive instead. Don’t just read – LIVE it for the next week. This process alone will rewrite the operating software of your mind – it’s a process that will serve you for the rest of your life.
For the next week, whenever you feel bad about ANYTHING, stop what you’re doing and follow these 5 steps:
- Ask yourself what you are feeling bad about and notice what image, sound or words come to mind.
- Listen for the message or positive intention of the emotion.
(negative emotions are just messengers sent by your mind & body to let you know it’s time to pay attention to something – what message does the emotion want to give you?)
- Act on the message!
(brainstorm some ways you can solve those problems)
- Turn off the messenger.
(drain it off colour, shrink it, move it off into the distance)
- Programme your desired future.
(how do you want it to be? what kinds of things would you like to do? what would you most want to have?)
Through the sheer repetition of this technique, you will totally recondition yourself for success. You will become more positive, energized and optimistic.
More notes from this great book:
- Change Your Life in 7 Days
- Change Your Life in 7 Days – Neural Reconditioning
- Change Your Life in 7 Days – Health
- Change Your Life in 7 Days – Wealth
- Change Your Life in 7 Days – Happiness
‘Change Your Life in 7 Days’, McKenna, Paul, Bantam Press, 2004