Do you remember when you were a kid and you got so caught up playing that you tried to hold your bladder and ended up having an accident? Oh no wait, yesterday-that was yesterday. Ah yes! At the haggard age of 31-after growing and pushing a human out of my body, I have less bladder control than a 7 year old.
Usually it does not bother me, after pushing a child out of my body I’m okay with being uncomfortable. However, on this particular day I was in a terrible mood after a challenging and sleepless week (anyone else familiar with a teething 1 year old?) – so now I’m doing Insanity, crying and I have pee all the way down to my ankles….not a pretty picture is it?
Having had no sleep can do a lot of things to your mind and body-none of which are positive. In the middle of this workout the negative track in my brain was so loud. “oh feel how your stomach jiggles” “why would anyone work with you when you have a stomach like that” “you’re such a mess you can’t even control you bladder when you do jumping jacks” and so on and so forth. As I’m continually doing switch kicks- in tears, I wondered if this was ever going to get any easier? Am I ever going to be nice to myself and stop with this chaotic negativity in my mind?
Then I remembered what I read from the book “Hardwiring Happiness” by Rick Hanson, he teaches about neuroplasticity, our brains ability to change and rewire itself. Now I won’t get super technical here with psychobabble as my husband calls it. But basically, the neurons in your brain talk to each other and create divots over time. This is how habits are created- such as that bad habit you have of eating ice cream or drinking wine when you are stressed out, neurons that fire together- wire together.
your brain is naturally wired to be negative, this is part of our biology’s way of surviving since the dawn of time. We look out for whatever may be painful and hurt us and avoid it at all costs. So change or physical pain (as our primal brain perceives it) is something your brain will naturally avoid because it wants to survive.
So what is my point? If I want to change the negativity loop in my head that causes me tears- I need to change the divots in my brain that are wired for negativity.
It is no different than when you had to learn multiplication in school, It took work and repetition to master (or in my case– pass by the skin of my teeth). Retraining your brain for success is no different.
The way to retrain your brain is by one moment at a time. The deep divots in your brain that make up your bad habits and your negative soundtrack were formed over time and it takes time to mold them into new ones that serve you and feel empowering.
To change the deep divots in your brain that are not serving your life anymore you must:
- Notice the negative thought as it is happening. i.e “I am feeling incredibly frustrated because I’m tired and I am a grown ass woman with pee on my leg, this sucks.”
- Breathe into the negative feeling: we as people have a tendency when negative feelings come up- to block them out or buffer them away with food, alcohol or any other aid that keeps you from being in the present moment. If you notice yourself doing this, simply take some deep breaths and breathe into the discomfort. This may take a couple of minutes. This will help you gain perspective on what the thought is, and release the thought to make room for one that serves you.
- Ask yourself, what feeling do I want to be experiencing right now? For me, I wanted to feel powerful, the reason my pants are wet is because my body made a person and pushed that person out. THAT IS INCREDIBLE! So what if its a little worn now? I am still here, doing my insanity workout and loving it.
This simple reframe helped me get through my workout feeling stronger than ever and helped me change the divots in my brain-one moment at a time. So while I still may have a postpartum bladder- I can make sure I don’t let it affect my self-esteem and how hard I push myself in a workout.
What are the deep divots in your brain causing your life to look like? Are your habits and inner dialogue serving you? Or, like me, do you struggle with a negative feedback loop?
I highly recommend reading this book and becoming more aware of what is going on in your mind in each present moment.