Leonard: Part 3-Hack Monkey Mind; Transform Your Life

By Laura Leonard
Doctor of Chiropractic
Los Alamos

Do you ever wonder why you keep getting stuck in certain aspects of your life? Could it be that your monkey mind, aka subconscious, aka negative file folders are the cause?

Welcome to part three and the conclusion of my series on creating personal transformation in any area of your life. This three-part series began with understanding how the subconscious works to block us, followed by last week’s article on becoming aware of subconscious patterns in order to start changing them. Today we arrive at the solutions. Where the challenge lies, is not in recognizing the subconscious, the challenge lies in getting comfortable with a new level of self-awareness.

When I personally began doing this work, I began to understand how some of my childhood experiences had created blocks for me in adulthood. Once you start to see what triggers you and why, it’s not always an instant shift. You become much more aware of your past stories, your triggers and how much positive reframing it takes to create change. This can be frustrating, but the reward of personal transformation is definitely worth the work. Training for a marathon, new job or having children all require time, patience and effort.

This type of work is no different, it gets easier as you begin to place effort into it. Disclaimer… before you decide to dig in, if you have major trauma in your past or have been diagnosed with PTSD, you should consider working through this process with a licensed therapist who is specialized in trauma.

One of the files I have worked on personally, comes from an experience I had in elementary school. When I was in 3rd grade, I had to recite my times tables in front of the class. As the new kid in school, this created so much anxiety around math that I became convinced I was never going to be good at it. As a result, I developed a pattern of avoidance around math and school. This avoidance manifested as procrastination and lack of effort in school. Hey, at least I could say I failed because I wasn’t trying! This thinking stuck with me until college, where I realized I needed to put in maximum effort because I was paying for it.

At the time, that was enough to motivate me to change but looking back I was still unaware of how that subconscious program was affecting me in other areas of my life. Today, I understand that my tendency to stall, avoid and procrastinate around certain triggers are tied to this old file in my database. Yes…I know….it’s still in there despite my best intentions to remove it! This is a big one for me and why I shared this particular example.

Some of the stories will affect your life in small ways and some will have a big influence. Personally, I have discovered some frustration with being conscious and aware of my tendency to avoid and procrastinate. Opening up this file got down to the deepest layer of my blocks…worth the effort because it gave me the power of awareness. There are three keys to working with your blocks as you uncover them….

1. Re-write your story in a positive light.
For example…I was the new kid in school and anybody in my situation would have struggled with being called up to recite times tables. Given my circumstances, I performed exceptionally well. I’m good at certain types of math but memorization of numbers and formulas is not something I enjoy. Struggling through the anxiety of being the new kid pushed me to excel at communication and public speaking.

2. Detach from triggers and negative thinking.
Certain situations and people will trigger your patterns. Being aware of this is incredibly empowering. The way you detach is through shifting your focus back onto yourself. We can only control our own internal state and thoughts, we will never control outside events or other people. There are always going to be unknowns in the outside world. Optimism is the other key to detachment.

Be mindful of the people, places and things which are triggers for you and work towards changing your thinking about them. Gratitude, compassion and positive re-framing are very powerful tools. Focus on the positive things about someone or something, even if it’s only one thing. Above all, be aware of what you consume from a media perspective or the types of conversation you have with other people. Negative content can really get your monkey mind chattering and take you in the wrong direction.

3. Prayer and daily meditations with affirmations.
YouTube has a wealth of videos which contain meditations to help you overcome and re-frame areas of blockage. These are fantastic because you can integrate them into your daily life. Listen at night while you are sleeping, during your commute or when you are out for a walk/run.

This is an easy one to do because they require limited effort and can be really helpful at creating change. One of the channels I enjoy listening to is ‘Rising Higher Meditation’.At the end of the day, resilience and transformation come when we are willing to dig into dysfunctional patterns.

Accepting past and present struggle as essential to personal growth helps us be more peaceful in life. True power comes from learning to control what’s happening on the inside.

“Life is like photography. You use the negatives to develop.” Ziad Abdelnour

“Growth occurs when individuals confront problems, struggle to master them, and through that struggle develop new aspects of their skills, capacities, views about life.” Carl Rogers

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

“It is repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” Muhammad Ali


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