Top Tips for Positive Brain Time Travelling 

Time Travelling isn’t all about Michael J Fox and DeLorean’s!  Did you know our Brain time travels all the time if we let it?

Our brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality and that can get us in to real trouble if what we are doing is worrying about the past or the future. 

Our brain will start to think the situations that we are worrying about are actually happening. This is how stress, anxiety and depression can start to take hold.

But we can use that fact to help us too.  If we are thinking about the good things that have happened, or looking ahead to the good things that might happen our brain equally doesn’t know the difference and it starts to act as if these events are happening too.

Why is this so important?  When our brain thinks we are in a stressful situation it releases our stress hormone, cortisol, which at best makes us feel on edge but at worst causes all sorts of physical issues including Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  But if our brain is expecting good things it releases our feel good hormone, serotonin helping us to feel even more positive and happy and helping us to feel more motivated and more likely to cope with those day to day stresses.

Here at Inspired to Change we encourage all our clients to reflect positively on the good things that have happened and actively look forward to things they have planned and set goals for the future in order to boost our overall wellbeing.  We’ve pulled together our favourite tips here to help you.  Happy Time Travelling!

Looking Backwards

Tip 1 – What’s been Good?

In order to reflect in a positive way we must first bring our attention to the good things that are happening at the time they are happening. 

There is a really easy way to bring more of the good things into our awareness and that is practising the simple task of writing down one good thing that happens every day. I know, this one comes up again and again in our Top Tips but that is for a good reason! 

The brain science behind this simple activity is awesome and was summed up perfectly by one of my clients recently when I asked her “What’s been good?”.  She explained that she had a vague feeling that Tuesday that week hadn’t been great, that maybe work had been a bit stressful.  But because she was writing down something good every day all she could remember about that day now was the good thing she had written on her list – the rainbow she had seen on her way home.  That day at work that had seemed stressful at the time was no longer her focus, the thing she remembered most was the moment she had actively brought her awareness to in writing her list helping her to reflect in a positive way rather than a negative way.

Tip 2 – Dig Out Your Photos

One of the great things about technology is that it has given us instant memories at our finger tips.  Photographs are one of the easiest things we can use to help us remember the good times.  A quick flick back through your phone and all those lovely times and the feelings that went with them come flooding back.  Why not create a specific photo album on your phone to put those special memories, the ones that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face?  Or save one of them as your screen saver? Printing out your favourite memories and displaying them will give you even more opportunities to get that positive boost.

Tip 3 – Hear the Happiness

Songs are as good as images at transporting us back to times past.  Hearing a song can instantly trigger memories of when we heard that song before.  And of course, because our brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality it doesn’t just trigger the memory, it triggers the emotions that go along with it, giving us a hit of our lovely feel good hormone serotonin.  Try making a playlist of songs that trigger happy memories and listen to that on your way to work. You’ll find your work commute flies by when your brain thinks you’re having fun!

Tip 4 – Dedicate Time for Reflection

Our lives are so busy that it can be easy to just keep on barrelling through without taking the time to reflect.  The activity of positive reflection can be so good for our mental wellbeing as it allows us to borrow serotonin from the past so why not put aside some regular time for it to give you a boost?  Why not have one evening a month where you look back at photographs either from that month or from that month in years gone by?  A trip down memory lane is a great way to get the family together giving you an opportunity to share the serotonin too!

Looking Forwards

Tip 1 – Look forward to it!

Just as we can borrow serotonin from the past so we can borrow it from the future too!  Actively looking forward to things triggers the same release of serotonin as if we were actually doing it.  So don’t just book that holiday and forget about it until the week before, don’t put those tickets away in the draw until it’s time to leave, actively spend some time looking forward to your plans.  Think about how good it might be when you get there, what you might go and see, what it might be like, do some research online, look at pictures and speak to others that have been there to ask them what was so good about it.  Really build that lovely image of what it’s going to be like in your mind.  And this isn’t a task reserved just for holidays, you can do this for any activity – a weekend away, a day out, a cuppa with a friend.  To really make the most of these activities and get your maximum hit of serotonin allow yourself to actively look forward to them, enjoy them at the time and then positively reflect on them afterwards

Tip 2 – Know Where You Want to Go

Our brain is designed to act on what it predicts is going to happen next so having a clear vision about where we want to go and what we want to achieve is really important when we’re setting ourselves goals for the future. A vision is a picture in the imagination and it’s usually a long-term view of the future. It’s an image of how we want our life to be, providing a destination to move towards (and our brain really likes to know where we’re going!). But a successful vision needs to be more than that – it also needs to includes the core values that drive us and both inspire us and motivate us to take action – without that a vision is just a pretty picture!

Tip 3 – Define Your Intent

If you are building a vision of the future to work towards your intent is about the ‘what’. It’s about what you want your life to be like in the future. It’s the nuts and bolts of your vision.  Your ‘what’ stems from your desires. In others words, the specific outcomes you desire most. It’s about clarifying the kind of life you want. It’s about defining who you want in your life and what you want to be doing. It’s about getting clear about your environment and what you do for fun and development.  Being clear on what you want and genuinely desire can’t help but inspire and motivate you to take action.

Tip 4 –  Define Your Purpose 

Purpose is about the ‘why’. It’s about the ‘reason’ you want what you want. As far as our brain is concerned it’s this reason that is far more motivating than the nuts and bolts of our intention (although those are important too!). Your ‘why’ stems from your personal values which very simply are the things that are most important to you. In other words, it’s about the ‘reason’ you desire specific outcomes in your life. It may be for instance that you desire a happy relationship, or quality time with your children. It may be that you desire a promotion or a new job. The reason you want those things will have an emotional driver behind them and once you work out what that is, you will be more than inspired and motivated – you will be literally compelled to take the action necessary to make it reality.

Tip 5 – Make it tangible

In order to make your vision a reality you need to get your vision out of your head! The point of having a vision is that you want it to exist as reality at some point in the future so it’s really important that it exists in some tangible form, like a written piece of work, or a vision board, or some other representation.  Think of creating a tangible vision as literally creating your future history. The reason for this is that when your vision exists in some form other than in your imagination your brain starts to work towards it and your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and importantly, your actions all become aligned with it, and when that happens, you find yourself taking the necessary action to make it reality – naturally!

If you’re struggling to find the positives in either the past or the future then maybe it’s time to contact your nearest Inspired to Change hypnotherapist to book your FREE initial consultation. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information

If you feel your workplace could be doing more to promote good mental health visit Mental Health In The Workplace