Beth Wood – Unlock You – Author Glassboard
BETH WOOD [00:00:06] I’m Beth Wood, I’m with Andy Barker. I’m the author of Unlock You and Unlock You shows you how to be more calm, confident and happy in just 10 minutes a day, Andy and I run mind fitness training and we work with a huge variety of organisations, from tiny charities through to big, big corporates. And we also have teams working in schools that are funded by children in need. The mind fitness programme that we go through in the book combines CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and mindfulness. And we give a small slice of learning and then we apply it almost always using the imagination. We all have negative, unhelpful beliefs that cause us to self sabotage. And the mind fitness programme addresses those. But just as importantly, we all have positive thoughts and beliefs. And it’s about also bringing those to the front and centre of your life. All of the methods that we use are evidenced by science. Most importantly, scientists know about neuroplasticity, which is the fact that our brains continue to change throughout our lives. When we think something new, learn something new. We build new neural pathways and whatever we think about the most becomes our strongest pathway and our brain will always take the route of least resistance. And that means that if we want to change our thinking, we have to practise these new ways of thinking. Practise the new thinking and for most people, that takes about six weeks until the new thinking becomes the root of least resistance. Also important is using as much as we can something called adaptive behaviour, which is about embracing a practise of constant but small change. And that way our brain becomes better at building the new neural pathways and we become more able to cope in a crisis. So what happens in a crisis? our stress response kicks in sometimes called our fight or flight. And our body floods with adrenaline. Historically, that served us incredibly well because it’s meant that we will instinctively run if a wildebeest is hurtling towards us. So if we went in through our ears and our eyes we would come to our amygdala in the brain and most of the time the amygdala passes sensory information up to the prefrontal cortex. But in times of danger or perceived danger and that’s the key. Then the amygdala kicks in the fight or flight and it stops sending any information up to the higher thinking brain. So that means that at the time that you most need to be thinking clearly, problem-solving, decision making, you absolutely can’t.
BETH WOOD [00:03:21] So we all have to have techniques that we can use to get ourselves out of fight or flight. And through that, mindfulness is perfect as well as reducing the stress. It will also help with positivity, emotional control and motivation. Mindfulness also helps to quieten the noise that we have in our mind. We actually have about 60,000 thoughts a day, and scientists believe that only about 5% of those are spent on the task in hand. The rest is noise. And some of it, for example, negative self talk can be quite damaging. Because mindfulness teaches us to be reflective rather than reflexive. It also buys us the space to make the bigger changes. For example, when we’re trying to change a negative, unhelpful belief. So how do we tackle those unhelpful beliefs? In mind fitness, we use something called the A, B, C model. And the basic premise of that is that our stress or disturbance is not caused by an event, but by our response to the event and what actually determines our response is our belief about the event or situation. We can test that by looking at something called the 100 person rule. So if we put 100 people into a room. There we are. And they’d all gone through, say, a redundancy or a divorce. Then each one of those hundred people are going to have a different reaction to the situation. We’re going to see something completely different from each one of those because it’s about the belief. So the ABC model, let’s have a look at that. A stands for adversity, i.e., the situation. B stands for the belief that we have about that situation. And C stands for the consequence. And the most important thing to remember is that it’s always the B, the belief that leads to the consequence. So if we can identify on negative, unhelpful beliefs and change them into something more positive, then we will then change the consequence.
BETH WOOD [00:05:52] We can also use our positive side. So by identifying our positive beliefs, thinking about now positivity, we can use those to power our lives and our commitment to change. We are in fact pretty much organic computers. We have 100,000 chemical reactions per second. And it’s these chemicals that induce our emotions. So if we can reframe on negative beliefs to positive ones of negative thinking too positive, then we’ll send a different set of chemicals through our body that will cause us to be more happy and more positive. It is, of course, really important if we are going through a very difficult situation, that we do allow ourselves, the negative emotion, it’s then about learning to sit with it and not allowing it to lead you down that spiral of automatic negative thoughts. Andy and I call them the ants. So we all have something called cognitive bias. You will have thinking that feels to you absolutely right and true. That is, in fact, based on false logic. And when we’re trying to deal with the ants and we’re trying to keep the negative thoughts at bay and to change that for something more positive, to try and identify our thinking errors can be really useful. In the book and in the mind fitness programme, we list a whole load of thinking errors. But perhaps the one that we come upon most often is awfulising or catastrophising, where we’re convinced that a situation is more awful than it is. We all have a tendency to sweat the small stuff. How we can stop sweating the small stuff is by using positivity. If we can see ourselves, learn to see ourselves and the world in a more positive light. So if we’re using the analogy of cup half empty, then by using this whole process, the cup becomes more full. It’s actually rational thought seen through a lens of optimism. In terms of positivity, perhaps the most important thing is gratitude. Just simply learning to notice the things that you do have rather than the things that you don’t. Similarly, compassion. We actually get a huge hit of the pleasure chemical dopamine every time we perform an act of compassion or so key is a positive self image. We try to work towards something called unconditional self acceptance, where our self value is not relative to that of anybody else and is not conditional upon the money you make, the house that you own, the car in your drive. And finally, meaning. It’s really important that you identify what gives meaning to your life. And we find that when people bring together their goals, their beliefs, and their meaning that’s when they absolutely stop getting in their own way.