Finding your inner superpower
If I say to you that I am going to help you find your inner Superpower what do you think of? Do you think of Clark Kent quickly changing to reveal his Superman cape and running off to save the world? Perhaps it’s a little far fetched but that’s exactly what I want you to imagine todays exercise will consist of. Finding that inner super power of yours and being able to tap into the confidence and self assurance whenever you need to so you can save your own world.
We, as humans, are fortunate to have such a fantastic, highly evolved organ that sets us aside from the rest of the animal kingdom. The Brain.
The human brain’s capabilities are incredible and we can see proof of this by just looking around us. Everything man made that you see is a product of someone else’s thoughts.
As humans it is not possible for us to breathe underwater for long periods of time, and yet submarines full of humans can sustain underwater for months at a time.
Humans do not have wings to be able to fly and yet aeroplanes fly across our skies everyday carrying thousands of people to destinations around the world. These ideas all came from someone’s brain.
The brain also carries the responsibility of our thoughts and feelings. You’ve heard me talk before about how the way we think affects the way we feel and subsequently the way we see and react to the world around us.
Two operating systems
We have two main operating systems. One is the sympathetic nervous system. This is more commonly known as our ‘fight or flight’ response. The second is our parasympathetic nervous system. This is our rest and digest function of our body and our mind.
When we are stressed and anxious our sympathetic nervous system shuts down all other brain functions that aren’t needed for survival. Very important for our ancestors in the Neolithic era, who perhaps needed to quickly escape from a bear and ensure their survival. Arguably less important however for modern day living.
This is why when you are stressed or anxious it is harder to think rationally, creatively and about the long term future. Your parasympathetic operating system must take over and save the day a la Superman.
This will be your inner power.
Your ability to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system when feelings of anxiety take over. You can quickly revert back to a state of mind where learning, creativity and confidence is prevalent.
How to activate your parasympathetic nervous system
Sit up straight and close your eyes so you can fully concentrate on your breathing technique. Breathe in through your nose for three counts, hold your breath for two and breathe out through your mouth for four counts, fully exhaling the breath.
By concentrating on your breathing you will slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. You should feel instantly more relaxed.
You can practise these breathing techniques any time and anywhere. If you feel anxiety setting in simply take a few minutes to practise this exercise and allow your stress and anxiety to melt away. You’ll feel much more positive and in control in a very short space of time.
2: Stand up tall and power pose
Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy gave an interesting TED talk about the high power pose. How body language can not only influence the way others see us but also the way we feel about ourselves.
The most well known power pose is named the ‘Wonder Woman’ pose. You stand tall with your hands on your hips and your chest out.
This pose raises your testosterone hormone levels which leads to feelings of confidence. It also lowers your cortisol levels which improves your ability to deal with stress.
Try performing this pose and holding it for one minute every morning before you leave the house. If you are entering a potentially anxiety inducing situation, take one minute to yourself in private to perform the pose as a booster before hand. This way you’ll feel confident and less stressed before anxiety has the chance to creep in.
Deep meditative states, daydreaming and carrying out automatic tasks create Theta brainwaves (4-8Hz). This is the perfect state for being able to learn new brain processes and re-train the brain to perform as you want it to.
Hypnosis works by relaxing you into a trance state. Then suggestions enable you to relax deeper and deeper to begin suggesting certain things that are a benefit to you. You are starting to strengthen neural pathways in the brain. You are staring to create positive changes in your automatic thinking and we know that thoughts influence behaviour and physiology.
Using self hypnosis daily will equip your brain with the most positive tools to face stressful situations with more ease, calmness and confidence.
4: Light exercise
Yoga, light jogging and swimming are a few excellent examples of ways light exercise can engage the parasympathetic nervous system.
Yoga is a relaxing form of exercise that involves gentle breath based exercises and concentration on the body and movement, allowing other thought processes to be kept at bay.
Swimming and light jogging also are less strenuous exercises that allow the mind to enter a very light trance state. This is where your conscious and subconscious mind come together and are focused on the same thing. This again leads to regular, relaxed breathing and lowering of blood pressure.
Try practising these four methods from today. You’ll quickly start to notice how much calmer, confident and in control you feel when facing stressful situations. This will unlock your inner power of positive thinking and enable you to become your own version of Superman or Wonder Woman, in charge of saving your own world.
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