Previously in our Brain In Love series, you discovered how to see and hear your thoughts that block love. Now see how to change negative brain habits of thinking to create the life and relationships you love in highlights of my radio conversation for A Lasting Love with Dr. Sean Sullivan.
Dr. Sean is a Harvard-educated psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. He guides people on Mind Master Journeys world wide.
Hadley: When we get triggered emotionally, we can have a knee-jerk reaction that pushes people away, that builds armor instead of amore’. How do we break that knee-jerk reaction of negative thinking so we can attract love and build connections instead of walls?
Dr. Sean: The good news is we can do this. The challenging news is that you need to recognize that there’s a commitment to this.
In the same way your brain changes positively over time, it also gets reinforced negatively. So if you’ve been struggling with something for a long time, it means you have to consistently practice a new approach to your inner world, to your inner dialogue for an sustained period of time.
That’s why I created a 21 day (Mind Master) program, because that’s how long it takes to create a new habit.
Hadley: I call them Love Habits. You can repeat a new behavior consistently throughout the day and for only 21 consecutive days, and this changes your behavior, your love habits and your life. This is so powerful and exciting.
Dr. Sean. It is. What I point out to people, so you’re not looking through rose-colored glasses, is the reason that it’s difficult to make changes and sustain the habit for the 21 days that’s necessary. It is because unpleasant experiences come up inside of you. And you’re being asked to confront those unpleasant emotions for 21 days. A lot of people push away from that, and they don’t want to practice.
Hadley: They want to escape the discomfort. Each day you wake up and you want to clear the windshield of your mind from all the junk that landed on it. So you clear the junk. You focus on what to accomplish on the beautiful road ahead in each day. That also becomes a habit. You can write to clear out the junk. What else do you recommend?
Dr. Sean: I also have people notice the first thought when you wake up. Oftentimes, that’s before you even open your eyes. It forms a habit to notice your inner movie when you start each day. It also makes you notice you really are on autopilot. Before you’ve even decided how to start your day, you’re having these thoughts.
So the first step is noticing what’s going on consistently.
Hadley: And write it down? Do you have people keep a journal of these thoughts, like you keep a dream journal? I find the process of writing is a cleansing and releasing of that energy.
Dr. Sean: Absolutely. In my 21 day program online, people type in their answers to questions identifying challenges. It’s important not only to define what you don’t want, the negative things, but also to get really clear on what you do want.
The reason for that is if you don’t have a clear vision of what you want in your life, then your inner world, your inner dialogue will function on autopilot. So you have to intentionally choose the way you live. You need a clear imagination of what you want in your life.
So if you want to develop a wonderful new relationship, be clear what that means. Get a clear sustained image of what that looks like.
Hadley: A universal law states that what you focus on expands. So if you focus exclusively on everything you do want, that’s what you bring into your life.
If you focus on things you don’t want, like most people have that habit which needs to be broken, guess what comes into your life? More of what you don’t want, because that’s where your energy is going and growing.
So it makes logical sense to make this minor shift in your habit of thinking to make a major change in the results you get in your life.
Dr. Sean: There’s no doubt. The challenge we all have is that when you go on unconscious autopilot, because you’re triggered in a certain way, even from the first thought in a day.
Say you have something coming up that day that you’re anxious about. And you start going into this cycle of thinking that’s habitual, but negative.
So let’s say you’re going in to talk with your boss with the expectation that you’ll get good news. Then you feel anxious about it, and you change the whole dynamic of the conversation. You’ll produce very different results than if you go in with a positive, optimistic outlook.
So I agree that the things you’re thinking about not only drive the changed cell make up in your brain, but we also are interconnected. That change also affects your outer world, how you perform in your job, how able you are to love and receive love. All of this is driven by your brain habits.
Hadley: How do we gain the health, success and happiness benefits of the brain in love?
Get the answers in the next highlights of my radio conversation for A Lasting Love with Dr. Sean Sullivan. Want to hear the entire episode now? Click here.
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