How to concentrate on your awesome
Focusing on the bright spots
Wellness Coach, Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, Bell Silverthorne shares how to switch your focus from the negatives of a situation onto the bright spots of a situation.
What behaviour have you changed successfully over time? It could be something as simple as making your bed every morning. Or getting up 20 minutes earlier so you’re not running late for work. It could be making more time for exercise most days of the week or making better lunches for the kids. Think about all the steps it took for you to make that behaviour consistent in your life. Did the notion of wanting to change come like a bolt of lightning out of the blue? Or had you been considering it for a while? Did the idea seem hard before you tried it, but once you got into it, it actually wasn’t that difficult? What helped you make the habit stick? Was being organised important? Was having some sort of accountability helpful? Were there any roadblocks you had to overcome? Did you stick with the behaviour for a short while, or a long while or are you still going strong today?
How to change our behaviour
Behaviour change is shifting our baseline of “normal” which can seem daunting but fear not, there is hope! I read a fantastic book called “Switch – how to change things when change is hard.” It outlines real world projects which have achieved significant behaviour change. Even on a huge scale such as changing the nutrition status of an entire country. One of the great pearls of wisdom which has stayed with me was the notion of “concentrating on the bright spots”. When we aren’t happy with something it’s so easy to concentrate on what’s wrong with the situation. Our brains are unfortunately more wired to respond to negative/threatening situations. However, if you instead focus on what worked well or what are the bright spots. It can change your whole outlook. The bright spots are the early glimmers of something working well. If you can figure out what works well for you, then apply it to other areas/behaviours and you are more likely to have long lasting change.
Focus on the bright spots or what worked well
For instance, I know I am MUCH more likely to stick to team sports or exercise classes. Rather than just relying on my ability to self-motivate and go for a walk or cycle on most days of the week. So each week I commit to at least 3 different group activities. This can also include a social fix, like walking with one of my mates and grabbing a coffee before/afterwards. If I do this, I know I will find it easier to do a walk or cycle by myself (or with family members in tow) once a week. Rather than trying to aim to do that every day. By concentrating on my strengths, I feel great not only because I’m keeping physically fit. But also because I’m putting into practice what works for me. Rather than trying to focus on why I can’t seem to be that person who seems to be so wonderfully self-motivated who jogs or cycles everyday by themselves. It’s win-win feeling.
Everyone has their own bright spots (even if you might be racking your brain to think of a good example). We all find things which work better for us, the trick is to match up what works for you, and constantly talk to yourself why that behaviour change is important to you. That will help you make your new habit stick.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about “bright spots” check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbLNOS7MxFc
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Bell Silverthorne is an exercise physiologist, wellness coach and lifestyle medicine practitioner with a passion for every day Australians to be that little bit healthier. Whether it’s sleeping better, exercising more, eating more fruit and veggies each day or doing your best to maintain a good headspace. Bell is a massive advocate of lifestyle medicine – harnessing your everyday lifestyle habits to help prevent, manage or even reverse chronic disease.