Week Eleven / Day Seven – Exercise Day! A Quick mind expansion exercise

 

NB – there is no audio available for this exercise

 
Congratulations! You have finished the second last week of the PNDR Program and are now onto the final exercise of the program.

This exercise will help you to pull together all of the learning and application of your learning into your day to day life so that you can keep going with growing those new neural connections in the brain that will fast become your new habitual thinking. Remember the more you do this exercise the faster this thinking will become habit.

I encourage you to get yourself a new notebook to practice this exercise over and over again, and keep pen and paper with you as often as possible.

The steps are simple, and if you do them consistently, they will quickly become habit for you and instead of writing it down, you will start to to do this in your head. But to begin with I suggest that you do each step in your notebook as it helps you to a) Remember the steps; and b) reinfoces the new thinking in your mind.

Step One

As often as possible, whenever you notice yourself feeling stressed, depressed, anxious, angry, guilty or any other negative emotion, put your attention onto your thinking and answer these two questions:

  1. What am I thinking?
  2. What does this situation mean about me and my life?

This is step one of the TRACK Process – Thoughts. What you are doing here is quickly getting to the nitty gritty of why you are feeling the way you are. The bottom line is that all of your emotions will come down to what you believe this situation means about you, so you need to get to that part of your thinking in order to upgrade it. We don’t want to spend much time on the cause of stress. We want to create new neural connections in the brain that align with the thinking from The Reality Thinking model, so just answering these two simple questions should identify very quickly where you are at.

 

Step Two

Write down one statement from each of the reality thinking model components – the reality of the situation, the reality of being a parent, the reality of life and the reality of your self-worth

This is step two on the TRACK Process – Reality. Because you don’t have a lot of time as you are going about your day to write long paragraphs of upgrades, I want you to get into the habit of just finding four upgrades to change your thinking whenever you feel low or emotional about something. Over time you will begin to think like this unsconsiously, but for now you need to keep doing this step deliberately in order to train your mind to think this way habitually. The more you teach yourself to look at life this way, the better you will feel about the challenges that arise.

 

Step Three

Next to the heading: My Aim – Write down what aim you have in regards to this situation. From week seven you have a list of aims for being a parent, your life and your self-worth and possibly already have a situation aim. Write down which of those aims are relevant to your current situation.

This is step three on the TRACK Process – Aim. In this step you want to remind yourself of what you are aiming for, both for the situation and on a larger scale. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate answer, just a quick few words about what your aims are in regards to this situation. What we are doing in this step is quickly expanding your mind to stop the feelings that are occurring. If you do not have a specific situation goal already stated for this particular situation, then your aim would be to do steps three to five on the TRACK process when you have more time to set and assess. Even having the intention to be solution focussed about this situation rather than getting sucked into being consumed by it, can make a huge difference to how you feel.

 

Step Four

Write down some options for dealing with this situation right now. Either remind yourself of the choices that you have already chosen from the work already done, or just brainstorm two or three things that you could do right now. Do a quick mental assessment of what your priorities are for choosing each option – the self-worth component

This is step four on the TRACK Process – Choices. You are now looking for the solutions to your challenge and how to get to your aim.
 

Step Five

Write down what your next step on your action plan is and do it. What do you need to do now? What is the step that is going to get you just that little bit closer to your aim?

This is the final step on the TRACK Process – Know your Plan & Action it. You need to do something every day to move towards you aims. Sometimes you need to do something every time the situation arises (for example, staying calm when your child is not co-operating). Writing down this step keeps you aligned and focussed on where you are going, not what has happened in the past.

 
 
Now it may seem like it will take a lot of time to keep writing down each of these steps, but let me assure you that this is a two minute exercise. Here’s an example of how quickly you can do this exercise:

Scenario: I feel guilty and regretful for having yelled at my child

Step One – What am I thinking?

  • What am I thinking?

    I shouldn’t have yelled at him like that. It was horrible to see the look on his face when I did that.

  • What does this situation mean about me and my life?

    I feel like a terrible mother. I should be encouraging him, not breaking his spirit by yelling at him like that.

  •  

    Step Two – The Reality Step

    • The reality of the situation: I did it. I yelled and I can’t change that now.
    • The reality of being a parent: Sometimes my child is going to do things that don’t match my expectations. They are learning what is and what isn’t appropriate behaviour.
    • The reality of life: This moment was just one moment in my son’s and my relationship. It does not define our relationship, nor will it define his existence.
    • The reality of self-worth: I am a person who is learning how to be more patient and am a continual works in progress. Both of us are learning and growing throughout all the experiences in our lives and this is one where both of us will be learning and contributing to each other’s development too.

     

    Step Three – What is your aim?

    • I am a calm and loving parent to my child

    • I am patient

    • I enjoy being a stay at home mum

     

    Step Four – What are your choices for right now?

    • To go and cuddle him, then sit down and play with him for a few minutes

    • Apologise and explain that my anger was not his fault (NB: It doesn’t matter what age your child is at, you can still do this)

     

    Step Five – Know your plan & action it

    Remember the steps that I set out for handling misbehaviour of my son – the time out method. Remember to calmly implement these steps when appropriate. This will keep me on track with a) dealing with my son’s behaviour and b) working towards my goal of staying calm.
     
     
    Now it’s your turn. This exercise is not just for today, nor is it just for next week. Use this exercise as often and as long as you can until you begin to think this way habitually and no longer need to write it down.

    Good luck, and remember, if you get stuck head on over to the Q&A Forum to ask your question on how you can change your thinking or become solution focussed.

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