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Your Neuidentity

Strengthening Relationships During the Holidays

Posted by Stephen Hager

What better time is there to strengthen your most important relationships than during the holidays?  This may seem a bit counter intuitive, considering that the holidays are often the most stressful time of year for many people.  Multiple things are going on, such as event planning, decorating, gift purchases, budget concerns, and family expectations.  However, what’s the sense of getting your to-do list accomplished, when your stress level rubs off on others and everyone around you is in an agitated state, rather than being in a grateful and playful mood?

Holidays are windows of opportunity to celebrate life with the people you love and care about. Life is meant to be joyful and shared with people who support and love one another.  The key to strengthening your relationships is to get in touch  with and prioritize the qualities of your kind and caring nature; it’s ”how” you treat yourself and others as you accomplish life activities. This simple mental refocus shifts relationships to the high road, while providing more meaning and fulfillment to your life.  Things still get done; the difference is that you have greater peace of mind and less stress, plus, you feel better about yourself and have stronger personal relationships.

Following these practical neuroscience steps will make this holiday season the best and most memorable ever:

1. Reflect deeply and honestly on the following questions to be more self-aware of your patterns of thinking and behaviors. A visual record of your stream of thoughts will help you process the information, and gain clarity on what you want to change.

a. What do I see and feel are the true purposes for the holidays?
b. What is my state of mind before the holidays?
c. Are my favorite memories linked to:

  • Doing and getting things done?
  • The quality of interactions with others?
  • A dynamic balance of giving and receiving?

d. Where and how do I expend the most time and energy?
e. Who are the people I most want to celebrate life with?
f. What’s my state of mind and body during this period?
g. How satisfied and fulfilled am I after the Holidays?
h. Am I willing to change my thinking and priorities for better outcomes?

2. Shift your focus from your sense of obligation and responsibility for “doing” to getting clear on what you really want to experience with people you care about. The litmus test is achieving outcomes that serve all parties in good and reciprocal ways.

3. Communicate your intention of making relationships, with the people you will be with, your #1 priority during the holidays. Use language that truly reflects your deeper, caring nature.  Communicate: “I intend to be more (fill in with the qualities you select) with you.”  Examples of “being” qualities include kind, forgiving, grateful, patient, happy, playful, fun, helpful, open, available, respectful, trusting, empathetic, compassionate, generous and trusting. You’ll be amazed and touched by how people respond, when you communicate that you care about them and they are an important priority.

In summary, putting your caring nature in charge of relationships and how you go about accomplishing life activities is your key to greater happiness. You may even find that you will get more accomplished in less time with less stress, when you get your relationship priorities aligned with your "high road self." By now, you most likely have come to the conclusion that these strategies are ways of living and being, not just for seasonal use. Becoming and being a “Neu and Better You” is a continuous and joyful journey.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  Please take a look at the Events page for our special, Home for the Holidays: Building Stronger Relationships Webinar. We will build on the theme of this blog post and provide high-impact, practical neuroscience communication tools.  We will respond to questions during the session and craft personalized messages via email. We will also cover how to repair and improve damaged relationships.

Look forward to seeing you online!

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Simple Steps to Be the Best You Can Be

Posted by Stephen Hager

Being the best you can be is the motto and mantra of the neuidentity blog. If you believe you are a “work in progress” with the potential to improve, you are on the road to becoming the captain of your life. Your brain is designed for learning and making choices that contribute to creating positive and negative outcomes. Imagine making “high-road” decisions to consciously control your positive response to people and situations. Can you feel how good it is to be skillfully navigating your ship?

Captain of Your Life 

So, take a deep breath, relax, and learn how to continuously move toward being a “neu” and better you. The power of neuroplasticity is alive and available to anyone willing to engage and unleash the power within.

1.  Accept that you are doing the best you can in every moment, given:

  • Your thoughts (composite of beliefs, attitudes, values, and life experiences)
  • Your physical state (pain free or hurting)
  • Your emotional state (positive, negative, neutral)
  • Your outer environment (events; situations; mental, physical and emotional state of others)

2.  Embrace that you are a work in progress and capable of positive change. Your choices are framed by your life experiences that include the “good, bad, and ugly.” A full range of experiences is a blessing in disguise, because you have the gift of contrast to form the basis of improved future choices. How do you know what constitutes a comfortable and tolerable temperature unless you have experienced hotter and colder conditions?

3.  Review events and situations involving  good and positive outcomes

  • Recognize that “good” is relative and always subject to improvement.
  • What were your mental, physical, and emotional states?
  • What personal thoughts and behaviors contributed to the “good” outcomes?
  • What would it look like if you could revisit, rewrite, and replay a situation as a “neu” and better you?
  • Establish a checklist of best practices; continuously update with improvements.

4.  Play “Monday morning quarterback” with events that had negative consequences for you and/or others; these are situations where you have a sense of regret, personal responsibility, and ideas for how you could have done better.

  • Remember, you were doing the best you could in that time frame.
  • Be gentle and kind with yourself.
  • View the analysis as a valuable learning experience.
  • What were your mental, physical, and emotional states?
  • What personal behaviors would make this situation better if it emerged again?
  • Reenact (in your “mind’s eye”) the situation with a new script; practice until you feel like a “neu” you.

5.  Ten seconds are all you need in stressful, volatile, or emotional situations to:

  • Put yourself in “neutral gear.”
  • Disengage judgment.
  • Suspend your need to emote, attack, defend, and “be right.”
  • Think: What are my best behaviors here for a good outcome?

In summary, being the best you can be is a continuous, never-ending cycle of learning and growth. All learning experiences are equally valuable. Negative outcomes provide the gift of contrast for better future decisions; forgive yourself and know you can and will do better the next time around. You can react, unconsciously, through prior and possibly faulty programming, or respond, consciously, with your highest-road behaviors. Self-awareness of your potential to improve, coupled with a willingness to make better choices, is a sure fire way to get on the pathway to being a “neu” and better you. You can do it! Up-shift your thinking, change your life!

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Neu Who?

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The “neu who” is a “neu” you! The “neu” in neuidentity represents using the power of neuroscience to reinvent yourself. No matter how old you are, your situation, or your circumstance, you can create a better life with the “power within.” Think of your brain as computer hardware and what it stores as the software. The software is your “operating system” for how you interpret and experience life.

You may not be aware that your brain is innocent and childlike; this applies to people of all ages. Your early software was built by parents, teachers, friends, religious authorities and life experiences. You had no trustworthy internal mechanism to judge the value and truth of what you took in; this process continues today from life and social media.

What’s stored in your brain and how you use it defines the life you experience. As you become more conscious of your beliefs and what you think about, you build the foundation to gain greater control of your life. Imagine no longer being a victim of unconscious programming that holds you back from that better life you so richly deserve.

This quick 3-step DIY exercise gets you started to be a neu and better you:

1. Pay attention to what you think about
Take 20 minutes after you get up in the morning and pay attention to your stream of thoughts. Pick a quiet and comfortable place to sit and write down your thoughts. Neither try to initiate, nor stop thinking; thoughts will come of their own accord. Pay attention to the way each thought makes you feel; then, record positive and negative symbols next to each thought. This exercise gives you a diagnostic view of what’s going on “under your hood.”

2. Use “high road” thinking to cancel out negative programming
Every thought with a negative feeling can be cancelled out with “high road” thinking and behaviors. As an example, you may experience fear about your financial situation. Make a list of your beliefs about your finances; they may include scarcity, competition, unworthiness, helplessness and victimhood. Reverse these beliefs with their positive counterparts; your neu thinking is now abundance, cooperation, worthiness, capable and captain-of-your-life. Even if you don’t believe this, “fake it until you make it.”

3. Use your brain strengths in a conscious manner
When you know your brain strengths you can leverage them to process incoming information, examine your beliefs and implement high road behaviors. Now your strengths are working for you instead of against you.

When you change your thinking, your behaviors automatically change; then, outer-world experiences automatically change. You can trust your brain to correct and change what’s holding you back from being the best you can be. The key is to keep thinking on the “high road” until your desired outcomes occur. Change your thinking, change your life., with its myriad of products, services and resources provides you with trusted practical neuroscience knowledge and tools to be a “neu you.” You can do it!

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