61: Prime your Brain

Have you ever wondered where to start when it comes to your recovery journey? Well you’re in luck because over the next few posts, I’m going to be sharing the exact framework I give to my paying clients.

I’m going to walk you through each piece of the framework step by step so you can apply it to your own life. The first part of my framework is priming your brain.

What the heck does priming your brain even mean?

When you’re in an abusive relationship, your brain adapts to keep you safe.

So when you begin the recovery process, your brain is skeptical at best. You don’t trust yourself, you don’t trust others, and you’re scared.

The very first step to moving forward on your journey is acknowledging.

Acknowledging that this is where your brains at and then getting your brain prepared for the work to come.

You may be tempted to skip this step. Here’s my insight: don’t.

For the first half of my recovery journey, I avoided doing a whole lot of brain work. Instead, I went too deep too fast.

What happened is that my brain got overwhelmed. I became so mentally exhausted because I was throwing so much at my brain that my progress stalled and eventually stopped completely. It wasn’t until I took a step back, went back to the beginning and begin priming my brain that I was able to truly see progress.

That is why this is such an important step that you just can’t skip. There’s a reason why this is the very beginning of my framework, because this is exactly the first thing that I had to do in order to get my brain where it needed to be. This means that it’s more able to handle the more challenging concepts down the road.

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you know we talk about a lot of heavy stuff here. We talk about a lot of stuff that can be overwhelming, even downright scary and triggering. So when your brain is not ready for all of that, you’re not going to be able to move through those things. You’re going to find yourself getting stuck because your brain just doesn’t know what to do with this information.

Priming your brain needs to be your first priority on your recovery journey.

Prefer to watch? Here’s the video!

How do you even do that?

Starting with journaling and affirmations is a great way to kick start the process.

An affirmation is something that you say every day, out loud several times a day, to build consistency and trust with yourself.

This phrase also becomes solidified into the brain and new chemical connections are created.

Affirmations are important because we’re about to step into a whole lot of hard work. Recovery isn’t easy at all, there’s nothing that you can do to say that recovery is easy. Anyone who says it is doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they are in extreme denial.

Recovery is a process and it’s hard. When your brain begins to get used to the fact that you’re telling yourself that it’s capable, strong, intelligent and worthy, it’s going to be more open to the things that you’re going to do down the road.

If your brain doesn’t believe that you can do it, it won’t.

Even if you don’t believe the affirmations, say them anyway. That’s how they’ll become solidified in your brain.

The next step is journaling.

There are two parts of your brain.

This is very much an oversimplification, but I promise it’ll make sense.

There’s a conscious and there’s a subconscious.

The conscious is what we’re aware of. It’s the thing that we know we’re thinking.

If we’re telling ourselves that we’re stupid, and we are aware that we’re calling ourselves stupid, that’s a conscious thought.

The subconscious is the things that drive us that we aren’t aware of.

For example, I had someone talk to me recently, where they couldn’t figure out why they thought they were so stupid. They knew that they thought they were stupid, and they believed it to their core. But they didn’t understand why.

It wasn’t until I started prompting with certain questions (just like journal prompts) that they realized,

“Oh my gosh, it’s because a teacher told me that I was never going to be making anything of myself. This teacher told me that I was illiterate. And I was stupid. When I was in I think the ninth or 10th grade. And I held on to that.”

This person is now in their 40s. Once they became aware of that thought, they were able to recognize that this subconscious belief that this teacher placed in them years and years ago is driving their life.

If you are not aware of the subconscious thoughts and beliefs that drive you, you are not going to be able to move forward.

Journaling is one way to unlock the subconscious mind and allow yourself to really dig deep.

When you first start journaling, it’s difficult. I absolutely love to write, but I hated journaling for a long time. And I’ll be honest, it’s still not my favorite thing.

But I know how important it is to my recovery journey.

If you are brand new to journaling your responses to prompts or whether you’re just free thinking and writing it down, it’s going to be more surface level.

Surface level isn’t a bad thing.

When you’re digging a hole, you have to start at the surface. You aren’t just going to automatically put yourself into the ground.

So that’s okay. When I say surface level, I’m not saying that to be negative, it’s just the fact.

When you first start journaling, it’s going to be more of that top soil. It’s going to take a while for you to get deep enough to get to the roots.

You’re not going to feel like it’s really mattering much.

That’s okay, but what’s not okay is quitting. There is so much power in consistency. The more you journal, the more you dig, the deeper you go. So as you make the journaling a daily practice, you’re going to get deeper and deeper.

The deeper you go, you’re going to begin to unlock certain parts of your brain. You’ll make connections you didn’t even realize existed.

Just like my friend who didn’t know that it was a teacher that planted that seed of stupidity in them. The thought that they were stupid was driving their life from the time that they were a teenager to now they’re in their 40s. If they never became aware of that, that was going to drive them for the rest of their life.

You can’t change what you’re not aware of.

If you’re not aware that your arm is bleeding, you’re not going to think to go to the hospital to get clean and stitched up.
If you’re not aware of that you just gashed your head open, you’re not going to get it taken care of.
Once you become aware, you can begin to heal. Journaling is such a major part in both of the both of those things.

Journaling is the thing that could turn the tide and make you realize things that you didn’t even know about yourself.

Your journal is your safe space.

When I first started, there was a lot that I didn’t want to share. I didn’t want to tell therapists, my coach, I didn’t want to tell anybody.

I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I was completely closed off. But I had my private journal that I kept the hidden. Although I didn’t have anyone that was looking for it, this helped me because it kept it sacred. This meant that I could go and I can brain dump everything into that journal.

What I realized when I really got into it was that free writing was really, really hard.

If your brain is not used to free writing, that’s ok.

It takes a bit of time.

But I didn’t know that when I first started. It was difficult and incredibly discouraging.

As a straight A student all growing up, I was the kid who would get nauseous with anger if I got a 99% instead of 100%. I would punish myself because I needed that hundred percent so badly.

A major struggle for me is that if it’s not easy right away, I don’t want to do it. Because if it’s not easy, it makes me feel like a failure.

Journaling is one of those things that made me feel like a failure because I wasn’t good at it.

So if that’s you, know that you’re not alone. This is where journal prompts come in.

So once I found the power of journal prompts, I spent around $15 on this ebook that had a bunch of journal prompts in it. However, I didn’t touch it for probably a month. I bought it to make myself feel better. But as we all know, if you don’t do the work, it’s not gonna work.

You can’t just buy the workout plan and expect to get a six pack in six months. You have to actually do the work.

But once I actually began to answer some of these journal prompts, I realized that my issues were a whole lot deeper than I realized. In fact, it’s because of journal prompts that I recently had a realization that something that happened to me as a kid was a whole lot worse than I thought it was. It made a lot of my behaviors, fears and worries today make a whole lot of sense.

It’s because of journaling that I was able to piece everything together and I was able to forgive myself for the struggle.

This is the power of journaling.

This is why I created Worthy: A Journal for Survivors. This 30 day printable journal contains all of the pieces put together in a beautiful layout to help you on your recovery journey.

Not only does it have daily journal prompts, but a gratitude journal, victory journal, and so much more. I know that journaling takes practice and can even seem intimidating, so I also included a mini course teaching you how to journal your way to freedom in less than 15 minutes a day.

The course even shows you what to do after you’ve completed your 30 days to help you continue your journey.

As a super fun bonus, I included over 45 printable affirmation cards.

This whole bundle was put together with YOU in mind. The powerful woman who has decided to take her power back. This journal will help you do just that. Click here for the details. I can’t wait to see you thrive.

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