Cindie Chavez – ©2019
If you keep telling yourself that you want something (better job, more money, new boyfriend, better relationship, best selling book, a nicer home, yada yada yada) and you don’t have it yet…you could blame your brain.
Well, actually, a little tiny part of your brain (really, the size of a lima bean!) affectionately referred to as the “lizard brain.”
The lizard brain is the most primal part of our brain, and is mainly concerned that we get fed, have sex, and stay safe. It is powerful. And…It. Does. Not. Like. Change. At all.
Famed family therapist Virginia Satir once said that “Most people think the will to survive is the strongest instinct in human beings, but it isn’t. The strongest instinct is to keep things familiar.”
That instinct to keep things familiar is primarily how lizard brain manages our survival.
But, why on earth would we want to keep things familiar if familiar means we never have quite enough money, we keep tolerating a crappy (maybe even abusive) relationship, or we are experiencing less than optimal health, or any other ‘familiar thing’ that is basically keeping us miserable? Why would we want to stay stuck?
Why do we say we want something and then sabotage the fulfillment of it?
Because we are familiar with the status quo and we know we can survive it.
Our lizard brain knows that even though our current situation sucks, it hasn’t killed us. So we are willing to do the familiar again and again and again, instead of trying something new. Because that new thing? It’s not familiar, it might not be safe, and it might kill us.
Silly? Probably, but hey, this is how we’re made.
So if you’re feeling ready for a change, if you keep saying you want something and yet find yourself staying in that same familiar place, here are some ideas to get that old lizard brain to quiet down a bit so you can experience something better.
- Do a familiar thing in a different way. If you travel a certain route to work or school every day, take a different path. If you’re running to the grocery to pick up a few items, try a new store. Instead of reading a book in your favorite comfy chair, try sitting outside under a tree for a chapter or two. Doing our familiar things in a slightly different way offers a shift in perspective while still allowing us to feel safe.
- Try something unfamiliar in a small safe way. If you order the same thing at the same restaurant day after day, order something that you haven’t tried yet. Pick up the latest issue of a magazine you’ve never read before. Try a new simple recipe with one new exotic ingredient. Listen to a new podcast, or a new style of music. Trying these new things bring us a heightened sense of awareness while allowing us to feel safe.
- Dance. One of my favorite quotes is from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (who was said to be ‘beleaguered by melancholy’) – he said, “The only way to rise after a fall is to dance your way up!” Recent studies have proven that dancing not only improves mood, but it improves brain function as well. And it’s okay to dance in the privacy of your own home if that feels safer than doing the twist in front of a bunch of people.
- Blow bubbles. About five or six years ago my friend Hiro Boga taught me this magical idea – blowing bubbles explodes energy patterns. And, it’s fun! As soon as I learned this neat trick I told my husband about it and he went right out and bought two bubble wands. Those wands still sit on our kitchen counter, the “break bubbles in case of emergency” remedy for a bad day, a bad mood, and especially powerful when attempting to solve a problem or a mystery.
- Take a few moments to listen to yourself. Get quiet, breath deeply, and ask yourself what you need to feel better. Then listen. Listen with awe and wonder. Listen carefully, without judgment. Listen as though a goddess were speaking (because she is.)
- Phone a friend. Phone a friend you haven’t talked to in ages, just to ask how they’re doing. No need to unload your current stuckness on them, just ask how they are and listen to what they have to say. You’ll probably generate some good feelings just hearing their voice. Connection is the beginning of miracles.
- Revisit your childhood. What brought you joy as a child? Hopscotch? Sidewalk chalk? Blowing bubbles? Drawing? Singing? Jumprope? (Don’t hurt yourself). Going to the zoo? Eating cupcakes? Do you have a favorite childhood movie or actor? (Mine was Hayley Mills in Parent Trap!) Go do that thing or watch that movie. Revel in the simple joy of your favorite childhood pastime.
- Salt. Salt has been used for thousands of years in religious rituals of all sorts as a means of purification and energy clearing..in other words, removing bad juju. If you don’t have access to the ocean for a quick swim and a deep breath of salt air, a sea salt scrub is a good stand in, as well as an epsom salt bath. Add a few drops of lavender for extra calm.
- Declutter something. Anything. My go to areas to declutter are my purse or wallet, my refrigerator, and my vanity. All quick fixes and always a shift in energy that is palpable. Here’s how to turn a quick de-cluttering task into a powerful ritual for change.
- Be generous. Give something to someone. Reach out and ask how you can help. Brainstorming on someone else’s needs will shift your focus and in the process probably shift your perspective and energy as well. Kindness is an energy shifter.
- Make friends with the Moon. Bonus! Seriously, watching the moon wax and wane can teach us much about the ebb and flow of life. We all experience ups and downs. We all have times of shining brightly and times when we’re in the dark.
The next time you’re feeling stuck in a crappy mood or a lousy situation try a few of these energy shifting strategies. Once you’ve burst a few bubbles, scrubbed yourself with salt, phoned a friend, and cleaned out the fridge your lizard brain will calm down and you’ll be able to experience the adventures that are a natural result of a shift in mood, energy, and perspective.
More by Cindie:
Cindie Chavez is known as “The Love & Magic Coach”. She is the creator of MOONTREAT™ – and she has some great free stuff for you at her website: www.cindiechavez.com
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