Building Trust in Uncertain Times

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by Theresa Conti

“I choose to believe things are possible, even when I don’t know how they will happen.”                  

– Jack Canfield

Life can be challenging. Health, financial issues, divorce, and other challenges, can leave us feeling scared and vulnerable. The more we focus on what could happen, the more afraid and vulnerable we become, and the more we hardwire our fears and anxieties into the brain. 

No matter what your fears and worries may be today – health, finances, a difficult relationship, or loss of income – you can learn to resource yourself with inner strengths, like tranquility, fortitude, and confidence, and in doing so, develop trust in your ability to handle whatever challenges may come your way. 

As a life coach and energy healing practitioner, I am continuously learning new skills and expanding my knowledge in order to best serve my clients, and facilitate my personal and spiritual growth.  Last year, I took a professional training course in positive neuroplasticity (1), and two related programs, with Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist based in California. I had previously purchased Dr. Hanson’s book, Hardwiring Happiness, and was delighted to have an opportunity to study with him. The training revolved around the brain’s negativity bias –  it’s tendency to lean toward the negative, based on our ancestors’ needs for survival, and growing inner resources to help the brain learn from the positive in order to meet our three core needs for safety, satisfaction and connection. 

A helpful analogy for the negativity bias is thinking of the brain like having Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive. For example, have you ever noticed yourself focusing on one thing that went wrong during the day when nine other things went well? That’sthe negativity bias in action. The good news is that the brain is always learning, and like a garden, we can plant new seeds.

To facilitate the brain’s learning process, Dr. Hanson developed a four-step model using the acronym HEAL. The steps include:

  1. H – Having an experience
  2. E – Enriching the experience by making it bigger
  3. A – Absorbing the experience into the body
  4. L– Linking – an optional step that combines negative and positive material and is best   done with an experienced facilitator or therapist

The key to growing inner strengths (a.k.a. resources), and helping the brain learn from a positive experience, is to match a challenge with a specific resource.  For instance, if someone feels timid and has a difficult time expressing him or herself, growing confidence and/or courage (rather than kindness, for instance) would be a good match.

To give you an example, I’d like to guide you through the first three steps of the process.

Given our current health crisis, and the uncertainty that many of us are feeling about the future, I’ve created the exercise below to help grow the strengths of trust, courage and confidence. You can do the exercise with eyes open, but you may find it helpful to close your eyes and reduce external distractions. 

1.– Have an experience

Sit in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths, letting your body relax as you let go of any tension.      

Next bring to mind a time in your life when you were faced with a difficult situation or challenge. The challenge could be something you experienced in your personal life that you successfully managed, or it could be challenge you helped someone else address.

E – Enrich the experience

          Open to the positive feelings that arise as you watch or think about yourself successfully

handling the situation, and try to sense it in your body.

Stay with the experience for five to ten seconds, as you gently let it grow bigger and recognize the sense of trust, courage and confidence you feel in your ability to successfully handle the situation. If opposite thoughts or feelings come up, it’s normal. Just notice them and bring your attention back to the experience.

3. A – Absorb the experience

Let the good feelings that arise become part of you, as you stay with the experience and let the feelings soak down into your body, like a warm golden ray of light filling you. Know that the trust, courage, and confidence are resources that exist within you and are always with you. 

If you would like to build these, or other resources, consistency, and Step 3 – Absorbing the feelings down into the body, are key steps in helping the brain learn from the positive experience. 

Experiment. Spend five to ten seconds, several times throughout the day, growing a resource you would like to develop to address a specific challenge. You can use the process anytime and anywhere during the day. Try it for 21 consecutive days, then notice any changes in how you feel or in how you address the challenge.

With love,

Theresa

(1) Also known as experience dependent neuroplasticity and refers to the brain’s capacity to change in response to an experience.

© Article and Photo Theresa Conti 2020

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Theresa Conti
Theresa Conti was born and raised in New York. She is a Certified Life Coach, Energy Healing Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator and Author with more than 25 years’ experience. Her books include Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself, and I Am the Treasure. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, and develop inner resources, like confidence, courage and resilience, so they can live with greater ease, realize their goals and dreams and better meet life's challenges. She is also a qualified English teacher and editor and often brings her coaching skills into her teaching to facilitate her clients’ learning. She offers a complimentary consultation to get acquainted, discuss your goals and see how you might work together. She can be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com.

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