Well, friends, we are officially into our second month of 2023! While I hope that you are cruising along with grace and energy, I understand that many people struggle. It’s the middle of winter, the days are still shorter than we would like, and a lot of us are still carrying some anxiety and residual stresses from a tough couple of years.
I know many students, and schools in general are grasping to find some sense of “normalcy” and forward momentum. It can be difficult to break out of patterns and form new habits (as many learned last month with New Year’s Resolutions!) and part of it can be about changing the way our brains perceive things, and working to change that. It all comes down to the stories we tell ourselves.
You see, we all have this function in our brains called “Confirmation Bias” – simply put, it’s like having an attorney in your mind, that is constantly trying to prove your case. If you firmly believe something, your subconscious mind will always be looking for clues to prove your belief correct – your mind wants you to be right!! So if, for example, you wake up and start your day by thinking and saying “Well, this is going to suck” – it probably will. By the same token, if you start things differently (as I try to every day) by saying something like “Today is going to be a great day” – things can change.
Do they change overnight? Nope.
In a week? A month? Maybe not. But over time, it can and will change. It’s all about repetition, the more you tell yourself the story, the more your confirmation bias will prove the case!
It’s like all the digital media we consume: Netflix, Spotify, Social Media, Amazon, Google etc etc… the more you watch or listen to a certain type of thing, the more that thing is suggested. It’s all based on an ALGORITHM these things have, with a singular purpose: Give you more of what you want!! Watch a bunch of True Crime, Netflix will suggest more of it under the title of “Because You Watched.” It’s curating our reality; and the thing is – WE get to be in charge of curating our own reality!! But so often, we don’t. We think we are not in charge and that bad days just happen to us. They can, and outside forces and events can occur – but our response dictates our reality.
Trust me, the more you tell yourself that things are good, or that the day is going to be great, the more it will tend to be. Not all the time, but most of the time. It’s an oversimplification, yes. I am also not discounting mental health struggles, they are very real. But when it comes to attitude and your default position… this stuff works.
So if you are struggling, or your students are, or your kids are, and you need to shake things up… think about changing your own algorithm. One day, one step at a time. But as with that digital media, the more you tell yourself something positive, the more positive you will get back!
If you’d like to chat with me, or want more information about my presentations, you can reach out to the amazing crew at CYSB at [email protected].