I was asked a great question recently, which was ‘how do you change your thought patterns?’
It’s a great question because it’s such a deep topic.
Changing old belief systems and detrimental patterns is a big part of what I do with my clients because it’s so crucial to gut health.
Your internal belief systems determine what you think, how you feel about yourself, the things you say to yourself and the actions you take towards your health.
Your belief systems will dictate whether you work yourself into the ground or give yourself a break, whether you eat healthy food or get take-away, whether you exercise, how you dress and your attitude towards life.
It may feel like these things are dictated by external circumstances, but they aren’t.
Sure, you have external situations, but the way you respond and how you handle those circumstances will depend on what you think and feel, which depends on what you believe.
One lovely client had experienced this her whole life. She had always been taught that you must never show pain, that you just shut up and push on. This ‘worked for her’ until she got older and her body started to give up. But she didn’t know how to stop or change this way of thinking. Her partner didn’t even know she was in pain because she didn’t show it.
We worked on changing her old belief systems and helping her to reprogram these old patterns of thinking and now, she’s allowing herself to rest and allowing herself to accept pain relief. Her body is responding, and she feels much more grounded and calmer.
Changing your thought patterns requires some digging and some healing. However, at a basic level, the process is to become aware of what your beliefs are and practice believing new things. Obviously there is a process to this, but I’ll share this as best as I can in an article!
Think of a current challenge that you’re facing. For example, when you think about your gut, what comes to mind? Do you feel hopeless, like no one can help you or like you just don’t know what to do?
Whatever your internal response is, this has come from a belief you formed elsewhere in your life.
If your thought is that no one can help you, what has happened in your life to make you feel this way? Have you been told that people are unreliable, that you can only trust yourself, or have you asked for help before and been let down? Have to had to fend for yourself?
Then we need to reframe that belief into something more helpful for you at this time.
Perhaps the belief that no one can help you saved you at some point in your life where you had to rely on yourself, or maybe it helped you to become independent. But in this situation, the belief is not helpful. However, because it’s ingrained into your being, your thoughts automatically go in this direction.
A more helpful sentence here might be ‘someone can help me’. Because the reality is that someone can. There are 7 billion people on the planet, and we’ve all been through all sorts of situations and challenges. There ARE people that can help you, and once you believe that to be true, those people will start to come into your life.
Essentially what we’re doing here is creating new neural pathways in the brain, which isn’t easy. It’s like digging a new tunnel against a hard rock wall and carving out this new path. It’s even more difficult because you’re digging this new tunnel alongside an already established tunnel, which you could easily just walkthrough. The temptation is to take the tunnel that’s already been established rather than slaving away on this new one. But the established tunnel won’t take you anywhere new.
So, you need to practice believing your new, helpful, beliefs. Write them out every day if you have to. When your brain goes back to the old way of thinking, commit to your new beliefs and stand strong in them.
Breaking old thought patterns and reprogramming your brain does require support to do. I have had, and still do have, support with this myself. Especially because I’m slightly stubborn! It can be difficult to see from the inside out, and it’s all too easy to slip back into old patterns without someone there to help you embody your new beliefs.
But, the place to start is by becoming aware of what your beliefs are and where they came from.
What in your life lead you to believe these things, and are these beliefs still serving you?