Meeting new people for an introvert can be on the scale of difficult to impossible, because we so easily go into overwhelm. But that’s actually happening when we go into overwhelm?
If you look at our physiological response it’s like our sensitivity is turned up too high and the physiological sensations we are having are literally too much for us. Whether that is we feel we are beginning to panic, or that the panic is increasing to a point where we just have to get out of there. We’re like the deer caught in the headlights and don’t know whether to look after ourselves and run or get hit by the onslaught of our loving caring friends and co-workers...
Most of the time if we’ve spoken to anyone about this - a coach or a therapist or a friend over a few too many drinks or even just thought things through ourselves unfortunately whatever insights we reach don’t actually lead to any real world solutions other than of course avoiding those situations.
But rather than “think” which we are generally a bit too good at what if we were to pay attention to what we are actually doing at that physiological response level, at the somatic level, and notice what our body is doing and make a change there?
I think of this as “seducing yourself”. You may have noticed that when you come out of the gym you feel physiologically different, and no I don’t mean just knackered… But you have a kind of a “buzz” going on. This is the chemicals you’ve generated while exercising that are still flowing through your bloodstream.
You could say you’ve intentionally gone through a process of generating good chemicals in your body and that’s now making you feel different.
When you link this idea to the ideas of mindfulness and neuroplasticity you hopefully get some idea of how you can change your experience of overwhelm.
Or at least when you remember how I describe neuroplasticity as: “The mind creating the brain which creates the mind.” And you can think of mindfulness as the first part of that sentence, which I’d say as: “The intentional use of the mind to create the brain."
So when the panic has increased to the point where you just have to get out of there it’s a bit late to do anything other than get out of there and reset yourself. It’s not impossible to do something different here but it is much easier to make the changes upstream when you first are starting to notice the first signs of those feelings of overwhelm and you may not even think of them as overwhelm then. They may just be categorised in your mind as feelings of discomfort or not feeling as comfortable as you do when everything is going the way you want it to.
This is the mindfulness piece, the noticing when you are starting to head in the direction that you don’t want to go AND making a change then.
So what’s this change that I am talking about, it probably seems magical by now the time I’ve spent leading up to it… And it’s actually as simple as choosing to feel good and making the associated physiological shifts so you do feel good.
So that sounds incredibly simple doesn’t it. But just because it is simple it doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. REMEMBER you’ve currently wired yourself so you feel bad more often than you feel good - great decision that was wasn’t it!!!
And this is the point, you have to start where you are now and it genuinely is not your fault for having fucked up wiring in your head. You can blame your parents, your friends, you can blame everyone you’ve interacted with. And you can blame what was on TV that conditioned you, that hypnotised you to be this way… Until now that is.
Because now you know that you have a choice.
You can choose to feel frightened and afraid or you can choose to feel good.
So what’s this idea of “Seducing Yourself” then?
If our sensitivity is higher doesn’t that mean we more easily feel pleasure as it does panic?
Think about it.
What would you rather be feeling?
Fundamentally this is what I do with clients. I help them rewire their brains to feel pleasure rather than panic. To feel good rather than feel bad. Some people get this idea and run with it. They get that they have choice. Others need more help in learning to feel good and it’s a more step by step approach to help them rewire themselves.
This is why I don’t just do live face to face sessions, I offer email coaching where I’m available every day (except weekends which is Friday to Sunday) and I interact with clients in the system I use to help you reprogram and rewire your brain because you need to be doing this every day. That's what mindfulness is all about, making the conscious choice to choose for the life you want as opposed to living a mindless life on automatic.