So, a lot of times it goes like this: I get an idea for a podcast episode, I start working on it, researching information if I need to, adding stories I’ve read about or anecdotes from my own life, or whatnot, and then pulling it all together hopefully in a concise, easy-to-consume 15 minutes or less. It takes me some time to do this, so I plan ahead. Two weeks ago, I talked about self-care and the balance that’s necessary to have in your life and in your mind. So I thought I’d follow it up talking about how to have a balanced mind the next week. But I didn’t because I felt lead to record something else. No problem. I’ll just push it to the following week. Well, I came back to read my notes and prep to record and everything I had written is gone. The original scratch draft is there with initial ideas and bullets points, but nothing that I had fleshed out and made into a congruent message. Poof. Gone. My week is crammed already with meetings and coaching sessions, so I didn’t see any available space where I could start over. And it got me thinking. I had a whole episode with concise messaging around a balanced mind. And the week prior, I stressed the need for self-care. So how could I balance my mind – exactly what I was going to show you how to do - AND show myself care right now?
Well, today I had a Group Coaching call that I offer to my past clients. It’s a way for me to let them go, so to speak, to flap their newfound wings and utilize all the tools I taught them to create and experience a new transformed life, and I want to offer as much support as I can so they’ll be successful. Group Coaching keeps my voice in their ear and helps keep them on track and accountable. Anyway, our focus teaching today was “Flip the Script” so I thought I’d just give you the exact same thing I taught them.
Here's what I mean by “Flip the Script.” We have about 60 thousand thoughts that whiz through our brains every day. Some of them are thoughts that help us experience life in a more abundant and free way. Some of them are a slippery slope to discontentment, worry, depression, and anxiety. And some can altogether tank us the minute we think them. We could call these positive and negative thoughts. And clearly both are powerful. So here’s our focus sentence: One powerful thought can change your life. Again, that could be a positive or a negative thought. But both will change your life.
So how to we get out and stay out of those negative thought cycles? It’s something we use in coaching called Bridge Thoughts. Bridge Thoughts create new perspectives of thought and interrupt the old cycle. Many times, we need to use Bridge Thoughts because the emotional brain is the first part of the brain to be engaged and respond as we experience any event. I was explaining this to a client once and said, “It’s like the emotional brain is always the first to the part, ready to jump in and start dancing. And the thinking part of our brain is always late to the party, and will sit back and watch the activity before ever joining in.” She said, “Oh my gosh, that’s just like me and my husband at a party. I’m always raring to go, and he’s got to ease in.” Okay, so good analogy. But though we can’t make our spouses behave any differently at that party, we CAN make our thinking brain behave differently. AND we can make our emotional brain behave in a more refined, calm, in-control way, too. We can slow it down and keep it from spinning out.
Let me give you an example of what that spinning might look like. A wife begins to wonder if she can trust her husband. The more she thinks about it, the more the emotional brain starts going crazy. The brain then creates evidence that she cannot trust her husband by making her question his phone calls or meetings, etc. It starts to make her go back through the past days, though the past weeks, looking for something that could suggest he’s not trustworthy. The brain offers, “Remember when he got a phone call at dinner and he slipped away to talk?” Then the wife’s brain says “This is evidence.” That’s coming straight from the Reticular Activating System. The brain is accumulating and stacking evidence to prove your thought true. And the result is, she doesn’t trust him.
In order to get a better, more clear perspective – or one that’s not being run by the emotional brain, but instead by the rational, thinking and processing brain - we need to invite that thinking brain to the party. We need to intentionally do something to balance our brain so we can think clearly and rationally.
Bridge Thoughts elevate the pre-frontal cortex, that executive, higher level thinking brain. Bridge Thoughts begin with words like, “Is it possible that…” Or “What if…” “What if (blank – the thing that you’re thinking) isn’t true at all. What else could it be?” When you’re asking yourself those questions, you’re inviting your higher level brain to think of answers to your question and give solutions to your problems. This is how we get our brain to work for us, not against us.
When the emotional brain is running the show, cognitively, you can’t think straight. Actually, what’s happening is the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn part of the brain is directing your actions or your words.
Have you heard of someone experience something that elicited strong emotions and right after the event, they can’t remember exactly what they did or said at all? They just went blank. I heard an interview with an NLF football player the other day say that in the game, he loses his mind. He said, “It’s like an out of body experience. I’m not even totally aware of everything I’m doing.” His actions are out of emotional response. This is why he’s a good tackler, but he would not make a good a quarterback. Quarterback needs to see things and think clearly. The tackler is running on those emotions and he’s able to have those quick, fast reactions based on those emotions.
For us, we need to engage the adult brain – that higher level thinking brain – to be able to think clearly and to respond in effective and appropriate ways.
Going back to the husband and wife with trust issues. The Wife’s flip of the script could be: “What if I’m just being paranoid? What I’m just letting my past experience get in the way of what’s actually true? What if I’m letting my brain make up ridiculous stories? (It does that you know?) What else could be true? My husband is trustworthy. He loves me and doesn’t want to hurt my heart. He has shown his love and devotion in so many ways throughout the years. It is worth risking any hurt in order to have the kind of open, loving relationship that I want us to have.”
These thoughts get the brain out of the negative thought cycle – it interrupts the spinning - and gets it into considering that something else may be true.
Now, after you flip the script using Bridge Thoughts, one way to make it a permanent change is to support the new thought with scripture. This wife might choose First Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way.” Or she may say, “And even if things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, God will take care of me. He always has, and He always will.” Then pick a supporting scripture. Psalm 46:1-3 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 50:15 says Call to Me in your times of trouble and I will rescue you. Genesis 16:13 shows us that God has His eye on us; He sees us; He sees where we are, and He takes care of us. He is El Roi – the God Who sees.
So, let me give all this to you in 5 easy steps to “Flip The Script”:
Step number one, notice when you have an energy shift; where perhaps you were feeling great or peaceful and then you started feeling heavy or weighed down.
Step two, stop and make yourself aware of the negative thought or thoughts that were just running through your head. What were you thinking about? This thought is the “shift maker.”
Step three, take that negative thought captive. Second Corinthians 10:5 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” That simply means, to say “no” to thinking any way but truth – God’s truth. That includes all thinking not like that of Christ Jesus’. To check, you could ask yourself, would Jesus say this to me? Would Jesus say this about me, about my situation? Most, if not all, of the negative thoughts we think are lies, not of Christ, and imprison the mind. And we should be determined to take them captive.
Step four, use Bridge Thoughts to create new perspectives and, thus, new neuropathways. Let your brain start coming up with alternative thoughts to what you had identified as the “shift maker.”
And step five, find scripture or Biblical truth to support your new way of thinking and/or dismantle the old, negative thought. This will create a stronger foundation from which all your thoughts are derived. Bringing truth into the situation always dispels the lies. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, according to John 16:13. And if you open the Bible and search for truth, He will guide you into all truth. And where the Spirit of Truth is, there is freedom (Second Corinthians 3:17).
Taking those five steps, we’re able to flip the entire script so that our emotional brain is not the one running the show. And we’ve brought in or elevated the thinking brain that allows us to think our way into logic and reasoning. Bringing your faith and adding your belief to the process creates new pathways of thinking. And out of that new thinking, you can change your life and live in freedom.
Friend, where in your life have you let a powerful thought – especially a negative one – change your life? How can you “Flip the Script” on it? Use a Bridge Thought to get that brain working for you, not against you. One powerful thought can change the way you experience and live your life. One powerful thought can have you living in freedom. Flip that script, my friend!
Breaking cycles of negative thoughts is not always easy. Intentionality is key, but you also may need more direction and accountability. And I’d love to be your Life Coach and help you do this.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call if you’d like to talk more about it.
Also, don’t forget to get the free, downloadable guide that will help you work through this topic.
Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life.
Join me as we talk about how to “Flip the Script” to break negative patterns of thinking that ruin our lives.
Are you wondering how Life Coaching works? Would you like a free, 30-minute session? Click this link to set up a Consult Call: https://calendly.com/triciazodylifecoach/30min
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