- Listen or read the 10 episodes below (12-minutes)
- Try out a few of the Ask Lila prompts (6-minutes)
- Come workshop with question, best practice or idea to share with group.
HOW THE MIND WORKS
Your Three Brains
So, imagine your brain is like a group of three close pals working together in a team. At the front, you have the rational brain, which is like the thoughtful friend who’s always planning and making decisions. When you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to take that job or what you should make for dinner, that’s this guy chiming in.
Now, smack in the middle, there’s the emotional brain. Picture it as the heart of the group, reacting to things with all sorts of feelings. It’s like that buddy who’s always expressive, whether cheering at a fun surprise or getting teary during a heartfelt movie.
Tucked deeper inside is the habitual brain. This one’s all about the routines. It’s like that dependable friend who knows your favorite stories by heart. You know when you’re driving home and suddenly you’re there, but don’t remember every turn? That’s because this pal took the lead.
All in all, your brain’s like this trio of friends: one thinks, one feels, and one gets stuff done out of habit. They all pitch in, making your day run smoothly. Cool, right?
ASK LILA - "How do i balance my rational and emotional thinking?"
Self-talk is our inner voice, the constant chatter inside our minds. Studies suggest we have between 6,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day when we’re coaching, criticizing, or comforting ourselves, and this self-talk greatly influences how we feel and act.
When the voice is positive, we feel good, focused, and ready to tackle challenges. When it’s negative, we can become doubtful, anxious, or demotivated.
The best self-talk is neutral and non-emotional. It’s fact-based. It’s neither positive or negative - it’s neutral.
Self-talk is like having a tiny coach or critic on our shoulder all the time. It deeply affects our self-esteem, decision-making, and overall perspective on life.
Positive or neutral self-talk can boost confidence and motivate us to overcome obstacles, while negative self-talk can hinder our progress and dampen our spirits.
Recognizing the power of this voice is crucial. If you can manage your self-talk, you can manage your day and anything that comes your way.
ASK LILA - "How can I promote more positive (or neutral) self-talk?"
Mental Time Travel
Mental time travel is a blessing and a curse because our memories aren’t perfect video recordings. Every time we recall an event, it’s like we’re telling a story, and stories can change with each telling. Details might blur, get exaggerated, or even forgotten. This means the past we remember might not be 100% accurate.
Secondly, when we think about the future, our predictions are based on our past experiences and present beliefs. We might overestimate how good or bad a situation will be, leading to unrealistic fears or hopes.
Thirdly, constantly dwelling on past regrets or stressing about future uncertainties can be mentally draining. It might even contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of “what ifs” and “if onlys.”
Lastly, mental time travel can pull us out of the present moment. If we’re always thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, we might miss out on the joys and experiences of today. Finding a balance between remembering, planning, and living in the moment is crucial.
ASK LILA - "How do I stop mental time travel and focus more on the present?"
Most of the stress we experience is needless. A study at Penn State University found that only 8% of the things we worry about ever come true. This type of stress is referred to as “imaginary stress”, and it activates the same stress response systems in the body as real-life stressors.
This is all caused by something known as the “negativity bias.” It means we’re more likely to remember and pay attention to negative experiences than neutral or positive ones. This bias helped our ancestors survive, as being alert to possible dangers was often a matter of life or death.
But in modern times, this negativity bias leads to imaginary stress. Instead of immediate threats like predators, we now anticipate future challenges: deadlines, unpleasant conversations, and other potential sources of stress. Our minds exaggerate these potential problems due to the negativity bias, causing us to overestimate their impact.
If you’ve worried about something that never happened or wasn’t near as bad as you feared, you’ve suffered from imaginary stress.
ASK LILA - "How do I deal with imaginary stress?"
WHAT WE’RE TRING TO ACCOMPLISH
Imagine you’re driving to work. Positive thinking is hoping for no traffic. Negative thinking expects traffic. But “neutral thinking”, Trevor Mowad’s idea, is like focusing on driving well, no matter the traffic condition.
Neutral thinking is about looking at things just as they are, without added drama. Instead of just hoping for the best or fearing the worst, you look at facts and react to them. It’s not about being overly optimistic or pessimistic; it’s about being realistic and action-focused.
Say you didn’t do well on a test. Instead of saying “I’m terrible at this” or “I’ll ace it next time”, neutral thinking would be: “I got these questions wrong. Let’s learn and prepare better for the next one.”
Trevor believes this approach helps athletes and people succeed. It’s about understanding what went wrong, making a plan, and taking action. Instead of getting stuck in emotions, you deal with situations head-on, step by step.
No drama, just action.
ASK LILA -
The 90-Second Rule
The 90-second rule is about how our emotions work. When something happens that makes us feel a certain way, our body releases chemicals that cause this feeling. These chemicals only last for about 90 seconds. This means if you feel upset, angry, or any strong emotion, the intense feeling itself will naturally go away after roughly 90 seconds.
After those 90 seconds, if you still feel that way, it’s usually because you’re thinking about it and keeping the emotion alive in your mind. In other words, after the first minute and a half, if you’re still feeling strong emotions, it’s often because of your own thoughts.
So, the trick is to remember that strong feelings will fade after 90 seconds unless we fuel them with our thoughts. By understanding this, we can give ourselves a short pause when something bothers us. After waiting a bit, we might find it easier to choose how we want to react, instead of just acting on impulse.
This rule reminds us that we have more control over our feelings than we might believe. By waiting for the initial rush to pass, we can make better decisions about how to handle things.
ASK LILA -
The Law of Substitution
Imagine your mind is like a movie theater, and you’re the director. At any moment, there’s only one movie playing on the big screen. Now, the “Law of Substitution” is a cool trick you can use to control what’s showing.
Basically, this law says that you can’t think of two things at the same time. So, if a negative or scary movie starts playing in your mind, you have the power to switch it out for a happier or calmer one.
Let’s say you’re nervous about speaking in front of your team. Instead of replaying scenes people pushing back, you can switch that movie with one where you’re confidently sharing your ideas and your team is listening intently.
Every time the worrisome movie tries to play, press ‘pause’, and choose to replay the positive one. The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at controlling the movies in your mind.
So, the “Law of Substitution” is like having a remote control for your thoughts. Don’t like what’s playing? Change the channel to something better!
ASK LILA -
Law of Reverse Effort
The Law of Reverse Effort is a concept from Emile Coué. It means that sometimes when we try really hard to do something, it backfires and we don’t succeed.
Imagine being told not to think about a pink elephant. The harder you try not to, the more you end up thinking about it.
The same thing happens in sports. If a player thinks too much about not missing a goal, they might end up missing it.
This happens because our brain gets stuck on that thought. It’s like when you’re told not to touch something; suddenly, you really want to touch it.
This law tells us that sometimes it’s better to relax and not overthink things. Pushing ourselves too hard can be the problem. It’s not about giving up or being lazy. It’s about finding a balance.
When we’re calm and trust ourselves, we often do better. So, in some cases, the trick to success might be to stop trying so hard to control everything and just let things flow naturally.
ASK LILA -
A worry break is when you set aside a special time just to let yourself think about whatever’s bothering you. Instead of letting worries pop up all the time, you choose a specific time to deal with them. It’s a bit like scheduling a meeting with your worries.
When you give yourself a set time to worry, you can approach those worries with a clearer head. Often, you’ll see that what you were fretting about might not be as big a deal as you thought.
By deciding when you’ll worry, you start to feel more in charge of your thoughts, rather than letting them take over anytime they want.
If you’re not constantly distracted by worries, you can focus better on what you’re doing, whether that’s work, reading, or just enjoying a movie, and knowing there’s a time to handle your worries can help keep stress levels down during the rest of the day.
Once you get the hang of it, you might find you’re not lying awake at night with worries buzzing around in your head.
So, in a nutshell, scheduling a little “worry time” can make the rest of your day a lot smoother and more enjoyable.
ASK LILA -
Imagine your brain is like a busy train station. Trains come and go, carrying loads of thoughts, plans, worries, and memories. Sometimes, it gets so crowded that trains get stuck, and everything becomes a noisy jumble. That’s when we feel stressed, tired, or overwhelmed.
Now, what if every once in a while, we paused all the trains, letting the station clear out and become quiet? That’s what a “thinking break” is - giving your brain a moment of peace, like a mini-vacation.
Just like resting your legs after a long walk, giving your brain a break helps it recover. You’ll think clearer and feel more energized.
When the station is less crowded, it’s easier to see where each train should go. Similarly, with a clearer mind, we can make better choices.
Ever noticed how ideas pop up when you’re relaxed? When the brain isn’t overloaded, it can come up with new and creative solutions, and giving your mind time to rest reduces stress and helps you feel calmer.
So, every once in a while, remember to give your brain a little break. It deserves it!
ASK LILA - "Give me best practices for taking thinking breaks and help me plan them into my day."