Woo-hoo! After a fabulous near-month at home, I’m ready to embark on some new traveling adventures. I leave in a couple hours for Wilmington, North Carolina. If you’re anywhere near, come say “hi!” tomorrow at the Unity Church where I’ll be speaking from 7 to 9. On Sunday, I sail from New York to Bermuda with America’s Top Chefs. Can someone say delicious?
In the meantime, I’ve got lots of friends here in cyberspace who can fill in for me on the blog. Enjoy this post from Cloris Kylie. She even mentions the nocebo effect, the evil twin of the placebo effect which happens to be one of the experiments in the new book.
Take it away, Cloris!
As an avid cyclist, I’ve met most of the riders in town. Some of these athletes ride state-of-the-art bicycles three times lighter than mine. Early on a Sunday morning, I was riding downhill when one of the cyclists with a fancy bike passed me by.
“No coasting!” he yelled.
I scrunched up my face. Coasting? I’m not coasting!
I switched my attention to my motionless legs during this part of the ride. The guy is right. I am coasting, I thought.
I pedaled, and started to gain speed. Now I looked like a real athlete. My ego was satisfied.
But I had stopped enjoying the scenery.
During the rest of the ride, I couldn’t take my attention away from whether I was pedaling or not. The harder I tried not to notice my legs, the more attention I paid to them.
I thought of the countless times somebody mentions a supposed flaw in ourselves that previously wasn’t an issue but becomes an issue once we are aware of it.
I also thought of the “nocebo effect,” a term used to describe what often happens when we’re prescribed a medical drug and read its supposed side effects. We read, “Headache and abdominal pain may occur,” and moments after, our head hurts and our stomach cramps.
It all comes down to our chosen subject of attention.
The power of this knowledge is that we have the choice to align with stimuli that instead of hurting us, helps us manifest the kind of life we desire. Here are some strategies that have worked for me and might work for you, too.
Avoid starting and ending your day by watching the news. You can remain informed about what’s happening in the world, but choose to gather the information at times when it will have less power over your overall outlook on life.
Wake-up time is your opportunity to gather positive momentum to create a joyful day, and bedtime is your chance to feed good-feeling stories to your subconscious mind.
Also, avoid watching news and stories that won’t serve you. Do you really need to know the gory details of the latest murder or car accident?
Raise the energy vibration of those around you. When people bring up what is wrong about the world or about you, either change the topic or ask them what they would feel if the circumstances were the complete opposite. When people visualize a favorable outcome, they are uplifted and less likely to continue focusing on the negative.
If you don’t want to hear bad news, don’t seek them. This means no asking for details when people complain, and avoiding websites that make you conclude your tension headache is sign of a terminal disease.
Use your negative emotions as a gauge. Your feelings will tell you whether you need to switch your attention to something different. When you experience a hint of fear, anger, or sadness, switch to a thought that makes you feel better about yourself or about the situation (even if this good-feeling thought is related to something different.)
Act promptly when you realize you need to switch your point of attention. A negative thought will attract another negative thought, which will attract another negative thought and so on. It’ll be a lot easier to switch thoughts when they haven’t gained momentum.
In my case, feeling anxious about “no coasting” should have alerted me that I needed to remove my attention from how fast I was pedaling. By the time I realized I needed to think of something different, the momentum of the anxiety-producing thought had become too strong to stop it.
Create a habit to focus on what is right about your life. If placing your attention on a flaw magnifies it, focusing on the gifts in your life will make these gifts grow and multiply. As Pam Grout says in the New York Times bestseller E-Squared, “…by changing what you look for, you can radically change what shows up in your world.”
What can you appreciate at this moment? Focus on that. When I wake up, the first words that come out of my mouth are, “Thank you!”
If you choose to make goodness the focus of your attention, the negativity and drama in your life will progressively and surely fade away.
Cloris Kylie is a personal development author, motivational speaker, coach, and radio show host who focuses on the inner power that each of us has to manifest an extraordinary life. A sought-after lecturer and receiver of top communication and leadership awards, Cloris reaches every corner of the world through her blog, online courses, and radio show. Her new book is Magnificent…Married or Not: Reaching Your Highest Self Before, During, and After Divorce, available on Amazon and other online retailers.