Psychologist's Tools For Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind | Nicole LePera on Impact Theory | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Psychologist's Tools For Reprogramming Your Subconscious Mind | Nicole LePera on Impact Theory".

1970-01-07T23:39:20.000Z

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Introduction

Intro (00:00)

So the way we want to create and maintain change is acknowledge that discomfort is part of changing. It's part of doing something new. It's that unfamiliar space that my subconscious likes to avoid. We can even reframe it. It signs that I'm moving in a direction of difference. How great. So don't expect it not to be there. And then we learn to work with it. We integrate it in a sense by making one small promise and we focus on keeping it. Everybody welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. I am here with somebody you guys are going to love. Welcome Nicole LaPera to the show. Thank you so much for having me Tom. I am super excited. So you are a trained psychologist. You had a private practice. You're about to become a best-selling author. I'm calling that right now. I'm telling you, you know, me the book. How to do the work is going to smash. I am super excited to talk about this. I'm really freaked out by how much one's childhood impacts them. And I want to start with that. So the book, give people the subtitle, which I think is brilliant and is going to inform exactly what we're going to talk about in this interview.


Understanding Self-Improvement Techniques

How to create your future (01:06)

Yeah. So the subtitle, how to essentially heal from your past, understand your patterns to create your future. And if I'm honest while, you know, I trained for very many years as a clinical psychologist, I know we all like to joke about how, you know, part and parcel of the whole psychology field, we like to think about our past and to wonder how it informs our present. If I'm honest though, Tom, I didn't necessarily learn how powerful our past was in my training. I knew it played a part. I knew our past experiences, you know, carried with us in some ways. I don't think I understood though how much so and how much most of us into adulthood are actually operating from that past and our autopilot that many of us are living day in and day out. Yeah. Talk to me about how these things that happen in our childhood, which don't need to be mega, become the patterns that are our lives. Yeah. And I saw the same patterning in my practice. So week after week, I would speak to these people who got it who maybe even saw right the ways that their past choices or their continued choices weren't benefiting their future yet week after week, a report of that same habit, that same pattern, those that same stuckness would come in. And what I saw was that in my personal life too, I struggled to create change just like my clients. And I came to understand why after of course feeling pretty shameful, pretty broken. I think a lot of us do. I would start to hear from my clients reflections of that disempowerment right back hopelessness, helplessness, a belief that maybe I can't change. Maybe this future isn't meant for me. And that was really heartbreaking. What I came to realize is that the reason why we can't change is stored in a very powerful part of our mind called our subconscious. So that upwards of 90, 95% of the time that I think is now the sighted percentage right of our day that we're not really paying attention or that we're in autopilot. And what I've realized is in that autopilot are all of these pathways, neurons that fire together, wire together. If we've practiced pathways, most of us from childhood and beyond, we get kind of these ruts as I call them in our subconscious. So just a contrast from my conscious mind, I have insight, I can use my past, break and inform patterns that I want to change into my future, yet unbeknownst to most of us, we're slipping back into that autopilot. And we're repeating those old patterns. And like I said, for many of us, we can feel really shameful and we can feel really broken and wonder why we can't create these changes or maintain these changes over time. I want to talk about those ruts. So this is something that I've thought a lot about in terms of. So I think people will get the neurons that fire together, wire together, but they don't realize that that can be. So your brain is a just caloric monster. So something like 20% of the calories that you intake go to your brain, your brain equals two and a half pounds of body weight. So I mean, it's a minuscule part of your overall weight, but calorically, it's just the cookie monster. And what it's coughing back up into your conscious mind, isn't just, oh, I'm putting two thoughts together. It's this feeling I'm used to feeling. I need to be calorically conservative. So I'm going to, whatever I do a lot, I'm going to make that easier to do. So feelings that you feel become easier to feel. And when I began to understand like how there was this whole tapestry of thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors that were like a ball, that sort of once I triggered one thing, it was a whole cascade of stuff. Now what I love about your book is you're giving people the tools to unwind that.


So Nicole, what are those tools? Yeah. And so I love that you're bringing up Tom, the caloric expenditure. I mean, that is one reason. There's another reason why we like to stay in those ruts or in those patterns, because it's familiar. And according to our subconscious or our evolutionary instinct to keep ourselves alive, that which is unfamiliar or unpredictable is uncertain. It could be threatening. It could be the thing that ends my system's life. So according to my subconscious, we prefer to avoid that at all cost to keep ourselves safe. So before you know it, for reasons like you're saying to, you know, contain calories, we get really good at certain things, at certain thoughts, at certain feelings, and they map on to our familiar physiology. So the way out, first and foremost, we want to become conscious. We want to see those patterns. We want to see ourselves operating as what I call our habit self. We want to learn how to consciously become an observer of ourselves. For a lot of us, that's the first practice, because consciousness is a practice. It's actually firing up our prefrontal cortex. It lives right behind our eyes, our forehead. And a lot of us aren't used to living from that space. The easiest access point to our conscious mind is the present moment. And I like to call, I like to reference using hooks for our attention, because a lot of us, we don't we don't flex our muscle of attention very often at all. We really do have choice. We get to decide what whom or where I'm expending my attention in any given moment. Yet for most of us, we're worrying about our past, we're thinking about our future, we're lost in thought or somewhere else. So for our entry into our conscious mind, we can use the present moment through one of two hooks, our breath, we're always breathing. So if we can learn how to flex that muscle of attention and put our full focus onto the act of our breathing body, we become in body. Now I'm in my body, and I'm present to what's in front of me. Another hook we can use is our senses. The senses, what are we seeing, what are we tasting, can we touch something, anything that we can do that senses based can also be our access point to conscious awareness. The more constantly present we are, the more we have choice. We can begin to create new habits and patterns in this moment. Okay, so now let's talk about how people begin to develop that muscle. So you've talked about setting alarms, people can do that just throughout the day, so it'll ping them, and hey, what are you doing right now? So people begin to train themselves to see how much time they're spending outside of that. What techniques do we have beyond that things that are the mental equivalent of going to the gym? We want to practice it consistently. So starting there, this isn't the light switch, I like to say. A lot of us maybe discover consciousness, we know it's there, maybe we've practiced once, oh, I can use my attention, I can come here, be present, yet we don't practice consistently enough. Even those of us with a meditation practice, where maybe that's the purpose of that one or two or five minutes where I'm sitting, my question always remains, what about the rest of your day? So if you had to force rank the tool, so is meditation number one alarms or number two, like what is the value stack of practicing attention? Consciousness is the foundation. So whether or not you can develop your consciousness muscle by sitting as a sitting meditation, for some of us beginning, if I were to speak from my own experience, Tom, that was so overwhelming. My body didn't feel safe, my thoughts raced, I felt so agitated when I would try to sit silently, that I actually began to build my consciousness muscle in real time, setting those alarms, because I found that as I went about my day and my alarm went off and say I was on a walk, being consciously present on my walk felt a little less intimidating. So I say that to say consciousness is the practice, we can develop it sitting in quiet, turning inward, or in real time. And those of us that feel a bit overwhelmed by the first practice can do it in any thing we're doing. We can use any context, any activity, and use our focus of attention to be conscious.


Cant disconnect thoughts and feelings (09:52)

I've heard people say that they get overwhelmed with meditating, but I've never understood like what what is the mechanism? Are they having feelings? Are they having thoughts? Like what what is the genesis of the overwhelm? Well, interestingly enough, we can't disconnect those two because thoughts thought long enough lead to a feeling. So in my opinion, and this is part of a limitation, I believe in the old model, when we try to think about CBT, change our thoughts, change our bodies, change our actions, because those are connected, they're in communication at all times. So before long, a thought thought long enough equals a feeling. So for some of us, when we sit, it's that monkey mind, my racing thoughts, if they're worried, some thoughts before long, I'm in worry now. And so that's what's spinning people out of control. They're sitting there, suddenly there's no activity to keep them from just like, I have to do this and this and this. And then they're becoming uncomfortable. Some of us, our bodies based on past experiences, maybe we're unsafe. Maybe we lived in a home where our bodies, you know, had boundaries where we're crossed, our limits, or we just didn't feel safe in our bodies. So for some of us, even the action of being present in our body equals is an uncomfortable, unfamiliar place to be. Okay, so if they're living in distraction, they're falling sort of 90% into the default mode network, what you were, you know, the unconscious mind, where you drive to work, you don't remember how the hell you got there, but you got there. Going back to that caloric thing, it's a strategy, the brain employs to make sure that you don't have to think about everything, which would be really overwhelming. So if they're living 90% of their life in the default mode network, the default mode network is worry, is the trauma, is thoughts about all that. What is it about sitting? So let me explain why I'm pushing on this. So I take a very different approach in life than you. And so I am very intrigued. You are, you are much more compassionate and gentle.


Why should someone not meditate (11:49)

Like the way that I speak to myself is very aggressive. And by being aggressive with myself, meditation ended up working for me. And it was this huge breakthrough. But it was just me saying back to the breath, every time I thought, I wonder back to the breath. And every time somebody tells me that meditation doesn't work for them, I want to give them all the opposite advice. But you have touched so many lives. So I want to understand like, why should somebody not force themselves to just sit and come back to the breath? Why is that breaking down somewhere? Yeah, no, I appreciate that. And I was giggling when you were when you're saying that because you're very similar to my partner. So it's very interesting to hear both sides of that. The reason why we don't is because of safety. I keep going back very intentionally to that concept, talking about are we safe in our body? Are we safe, you know, to hear the thoughts that we're thinking to experience the underlying sensations or what we know as emotions? Are we safe? The reason why I keep focusing on that word is because our nervous system is always responding to cues, specifically around safety is my body safe. Am I safe in what's happening? Remember the predictable, the familiar equals safe. And when we don't feel safe, for most of us, because of very real events in our life, very real experiences that we had where we fell out of that regulation, where something did overwhelm our emotional system or maybe even our physical system in the instances of actual abuse, we don't feel safe. And so to create safety, we don't actually want to dive into the deep end with, you know, with no raft on and just sink or swim, we want to, it's called widen the window. We want to very gradually show ourselves through living the experience of tolerating this comfort that we can. And to do that, we want to widen it gradually because we have to remember what created the situation of dysregulation was overwhelmed. So jumping into that deep end creates another situation of overwhelm. We want to empower ourselves. Most of us, by the time we reach adulthood, feel so disempowered around our emotions, we don't know how to make sense of them. We actually don't know how to navigate them. We don't have resilience around them. What is resilience? The ability to become dysregulated with a moderate or a mild amount of stress, and then to come back into safety or regulation. Again, those of us who don't feel safe can actually risk that overwhelm and create another trauma in a sense for ourselves if we just dive right in. It's really interesting. And knowing your story, it's beginning to become clear to me that there is this entire array of experiences, whether that experience is stress, not feeling safe, how you process trauma, whatever. So the fact that you at one point in your life were just fainting for no apparent reason, with no real like, I can pinpoint what caused this. That's really interesting. Talk to me about how you regrounded yourself into your body so that you could then widen that window so that you could begin using my own words, become more courageous in the face of feeling unsafe. That process seems to have had pretty magical results in your life. And I'd be very curious to hear the details.


Desire to remain in the familiar (15:07)

By the time I started fainting, Tom, I actually didn't know what was wrong with me at that point because the symptoms seemed so physical and seemed so brain based. I was scared, if I was honest. I wouldn't have imagined that as I dove down and began to peel back the onion and unpack all of this, that this was related to overwhelming emotions in childhood. That was not my first path of exploration. My first path of exploration was what is wrong with me. By that time, just kind of going back on the physical side of things for me, I had headaches my whole life. I had brain fog or kind of that that foggyness, not really feeling like my brain was awake all of the time, my whole life. Out of nowhere, as I entered into my 30s, I started to forget my words mid sentence. Memory issues that I always kind of had now seemed to have a really hard time even remembering things that happened last week, for instance. And then out of the blue, I started fainting. So of course, I was like, this must be something wrong with my brain. What is it? And when I dove into research, I then met all of this work on epigenetics and the effect that our daily choices and or events that happened to us have on our physical bodies. Diving in deeper, I really understood my nervous system. And now I understood my fainting as the effects of accumulate years of living in that dysregulated nervous system. So now that I understood what the cause of it was, which goes into my definition of holistic, holistic for me not only means honoring our mind, our body and our soul, the interconnectedness of our being. It also means exploring what for many of us are the deeper underlying imbalances that are causing what we're calling symptoms or even diagnoses or syndromes. So now that I understood, oh, for me, this fainting could be a symptom of something deeper, could be a symptom of how I'm treating my body and how dysregulated my nervous system is. So as I began to dive into this research, I noticed something else, how disconnected I was to my body. So once I build the foundation of consciousness that we just talked about, once I began to teach myself how to safely inhabit my body, I began to do some nervous system regulation techniques and tools. The quickest and easiest one that we all carry around with us is around breath work. And I started to tune into how was I breathing, just checking in with my natural flow of breath. And I realized that like many people who struggle with anxiety, I had a really shallow chest breath. I noticed that sometimes, Tom, when I'm really stressed out, I hold my breath. I actually don't really breathe much at all. And what I learned is each time I do both of those things, either just breathe really shallowy or I'm holding my breath, I'm actually contributing to my anxiety because I'm keeping my nervous system locked in that fight or flight mode. So I learned a new way to breathe. I learned how to use my belly, which was hard at first because all of my posture was reflective of all of this constriction and all of this threatening kind of posture and stance of a lifetime. Though once I accessed my belly, I learned that I could learn how to bring, teach my body. Can you walk people through how you did that? Because belly breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, changed my life. So I'd be curious to know what tools you use for that. Yeah, so for a lot of us who struggle with our posture, it's hard. So back straight shoulders, back. So I started laying down. It was difficult for me. So I would begin my practice either right before bed or right when I woke up when I was already laying. And for me, it started with just a small daily promise of five breaths from my deep belly area. For me, putting my hand on my belly physically so I could feel it when it would expand and when it would deflate was really helpful. So that was just a daily promise every time, every morning or right before bed, I would put my hand on my belly and just practice, practice, practice. But then like I said, I wanted to become more aware of how I was using my breath all day long. And then building on that foundation, can I harness my breath all day long when now life's happening and I have the actual things to be stressed out about, right? Can I use my breath to regulate myself in those moments? So it becomes a foundational practice that we can build upon. Nicole, I often hear people ask you how your account grew so quickly. And I listening to you now for as many hours as I have, I'm going to tell you exactly why you've grown as fast as you have instruction manuals should be written by people that struggled to build the item because when you struggled to build it, then you know sort of where the pitfalls are like the fact that you can explain to people the concept which you bring up a lot, which I think is really brilliant, is these small promises that you make to yourself and earning credibility with yourself. Things that you know if life just sort of came easily to you, I don't know that you would have access to explaining that to people. Why small promises? Why five breaths? Why not an hour of breathing from your belly? What's the idea behind those little promises? Yeah, thank you for for highlighting that and for for asking this question. It goes back to that subconscious and its desire to remain in that familiar. So we create another situation of overwhelm for ourselves, those of us who decide that starting tomorrow, my life will be different from top to bottom and maybe I have five new 10 new things on my to do list. I'm diving into that deep end. I'm telling my subconscious that wow my life's going to do a you know 360 180 by tomorrow. I'm probably going to overwhelm. So the way we begin to build and create change, what's important is not five new things for as long as I can white knuckle it. What's important is one new thing from now until forever that consistency of the habit. So we want to make a small promise. We're already going to be uncomfortable. I talk about this a lot to a concept that I call resistance because every time we set an intention to change, even if logically you can have as many of us do a court case for why I really need to stick to this change this time. Right when I go to either the first time I go to do the new thing or maybe it's the fifth time that I'm trying to now maintain my habit. It's only a matter of time before one of two things happen. We either get mental resistance in our mind and our thoughts that could look like the endless to do list of other things that we should be doing or maybe the million reasons why this won't work this time or some of it drops into our bodies where we just start to feel agitated or just different than we normally feel. And before long, one of those two reasons can convince us back into that familiar right before long I go back to being as I normally am. So the way we want to create and maintain change is acknowledge that discomfort is part of changing. It's part of doing something new. It's that unfamiliar space that my subconscious likes to avoid. We can even reframe it. It signs that I'm moving in a direction of difference. How great. So don't expect it not to be there. And then we learn to work with it. We integrate it in a sense by making one small promise and we focus on keeping it.


Reframing (22:46)

So I love the mention of reframing. Talk to me about how big of a piece of your practice was that do you encourage people to do that? Do you see big changes from it? I think reframing can be incredibly important. You know, thinking about it just when I first learned about CBT. That's what's based on this idea that if I can begin to think differently, if I reframe my thought, I can access a new feeling, a new behavior, a new choice on the end of that feeling. I still use principles of that. We become very locked in the one way we think about things. So the more we can expand in any area, I talk about expanding a lot, creating space, allowing maybe I have my go to my default thought, but maybe I can begin to reframe that and make space for two thoughts, three thoughts. Can you give me an example, especially as we think about childhood defining so much of our presence, can't go back and undo it, but you can reframe it. What's an example of using that? So I talk about reframing in childhood a lot as we become aware of our patterns.


Reframing (23:41)

A lot of times we'll here make statements of blame, right? You did this to me. A great reframe in that moment, understanding that we were all raised by caregivers that are limited to the extent of what they know, how they themselves live, what they themselves were modeled. So I think that can be an incredibly helpful reframe, that things weren't done necessarily to me or because of me in childhood. I live the effects or the results of the very real limitations that my caregivers had based on their own past experience. And so the words you just said are what you would tell yourself as you begin to get pissed off or whatever about something that happened. It's like, hey, whoa, whoa, mom, dad, lover, whatever, like, hey, they've been through a lot. And by thinking about that now, you're seeing something different. Is that the idea? And just to be clear, you're making space for something in addition. You don't have to negate because some of us do this. And I actually became a pro at this. I would explain away my experience. I would become so forgiving because they were limited that I wouldn't leave space for my initial. So when I say expand for an additional experience, you can absolutely keep the space for your anger, your hurt, your disappointment, and maybe make space for compassion or empathy or forgiveness, something else. We don't have to just switch it. And again, I speak this from my own lived experience of becoming really good at explaining why all of my experience based on the very real limitations that I perceived in other. So it becomes my favorite word. And I can feel this and and and and. How do you make sure the ands are productive? Productives. Exploring. I mean, we can become part of the journey of this is getting really curious because for some of us, an and could be really productive, whatever that reframe is. And for another, that and could lead down an unproductive road. So we have to determine for ourselves. That's why I talk about becoming a self healer. Really just becoming intimately knowledgeable about yourself. So that means exploring, witnessing. Am I the person who this reframe can create helpful space? Can help me make room for a new feeling, a new behavior, a new choice? Or is this and a limitation in my life in a different way? How do you help people wrap their heads around like, hey, I'm really upset about this thing. And that's useful or I am really upset about this thing. And this, this is a pattern we have to interrupt. I think sometimes it's exploring, exploring the outcomes, exploring. A lot of times it's getting clear on what kind of utility or usefulness are we looking for? And what do I mean when I say this? A lot of us when we're looking to create change, we actually want the people around us to be the ones changing. So it's kind of the radical self responsibility ownership. The conversation I always have around boundaries. Boundaries aren't ultimatums. They're not me pointing some finger at you, Tom, giving you, if you do this, this will happen. If you don't do this, this will happen. Boundaries are for self empowerment. So I answer and I think about things in the same context. What am I looking? What pattern am I owning here? What role am I playing? And how can I create change? Whether or not you're being an active agent or an active player as well? And sometimes this means being radically honest with ourselves and exploring what our intentions are, what our behaviors are, and how we're participating in the pattern, even in the moments where we're pretty much convinced it's not us. So I think a lot of times it's that deep level of self exploration that can give us clarity on that.


Reframing (22:46)

So I love the mention of reframing. Talk to me about how big of a piece of your practice was that do you encourage people to do that? Do you see big changes from it? I think reframing can be incredibly important. You know, thinking about it just when I first learned about CBT. That's what's based on this idea that if I can begin to think differently, if I reframe my thought, I can access a new feeling, a new behavior, a new choice on the end of that feeling. I still use principles of that. We become very locked in the one way we think about things. So the more we can expand in any area, I talk about expanding a lot, creating space, allowing maybe I have my go to my default thought, but maybe I can begin to reframe that and make space for two thoughts, three thoughts. Can you give me an example, especially as we think about childhood defining so much of our presence, can't go back and undo it, but you can reframe it. What's an example of using that? So I talk about reframing in childhood a lot as we become aware of our patterns.


Reframing (23:41)

A lot of times we'll here make statements of blame, right? You did this to me. A great reframe in that moment, understanding that we were all raised by caregivers that are limited to the extent of what they know, how they themselves live, what they themselves were modeled. So I think that can be an incredibly helpful reframe, that things weren't done necessarily to me or because of me in childhood. I live the effects or the results of the very real limitations that my caregivers had based on their own past experience. And so the words you just said are what you would tell yourself as you begin to get pissed off or whatever about something that happened. It's like, hey, whoa, whoa, mom, dad, lover, whatever, like, hey, they've been through a lot. And by thinking about that now, you're seeing something different. Is that the idea? And just to be clear, you're making space for something in addition. You don't have to negate because some of us do this. And I actually became a pro at this. I would explain away my experience. I would become so forgiving because they were limited that I wouldn't leave space for my initial. So when I say expand for an additional experience, you can absolutely keep the space for your anger, your hurt, your disappointment, and maybe make space for compassion or empathy or forgiveness, something else. We don't have to just switch it. And again, I speak this from my own lived experience of becoming really good at explaining why all of my experience based on the very real limitations that I perceived in other. So it becomes my favorite word. And I can feel this and and and and. How do you make sure the ands are productive? Productives. Exploring. I mean, we can become part of the journey of this is getting really curious because for some of us, an and could be really productive, whatever that reframe is. And for another, that and could lead down an unproductive road. So we have to determine for ourselves. That's why I talk about becoming a self healer. Really just becoming intimately knowledgeable about yourself. So that means exploring, witnessing. Am I the person who this reframe can create helpful space? Can help me make room for a new feeling, a new behavior, a new choice? Or is this and a limitation in my life in a different way? How do you help people wrap their heads around like, hey, I'm really upset about this thing. And that's useful or I am really upset about this thing. And this, this is a pattern we have to interrupt. I think sometimes it's exploring, exploring the outcomes, exploring. A lot of times it's getting clear on what kind of utility or usefulness are we looking for? And what do I mean when I say this? A lot of us when we're looking to create change, we actually want the people around us to be the ones changing. So it's kind of the radical self responsibility ownership. The conversation I always have around boundaries. Boundaries aren't ultimatums. They're not me pointing some finger at you, Tom, giving you, if you do this, this will happen. If you don't do this, this will happen. Boundaries are for self empowerment. So I answer and I think about things in the same context. What am I looking? What pattern am I owning here? What role am I playing? And how can I create change? Whether or not you're being an active agent or an active player as well? And sometimes this means being radically honest with ourselves and exploring what our intentions are, what our behaviors are, and how we're participating in the pattern, even in the moments where we're pretty much convinced it's not us. So I think a lot of times it's that deep level of self exploration that can give us clarity on that.


Tools (27:38)

What are the tools that you give people? There's a lot of prompts in your book and again, called How to Do the Work. It's a really pretty extraordinary handhold for people where you walk them through, you give them tools that they can use on a daily basis, which I was very impressed by. How do you get them to like, we'll take the hard example of they're convinced they're right and yet they're stuck in a rut. They're not making the progress they want. You recommend that they use like some real radical self honesty. What's that process look like? Are they journaling? Are they telling a friend? Are they seeking feedback? Like what is the step? Any and all of those things could be helpful. Journaling, you know, for some of us helps us get get the information out there. It can help us look at it a bit more objectively once we've written something and we can review it later. I'm saying objectively that can be information that is offered to us when we seek support or when someone views upon us for our patterns. This looked like oftentimes my partner in the very beginning of healing where her being separate from me, she could offer observations on habits and patterns and how they were affecting me. Perfectly honest, I did not want to hear that at first. I became very defensive. She was definitely wrong and for sure not being supportive of myself. So it's very hard to learn how to, I think, take those objective vantage points, objective perspectives in. I also believe we can become an objective observer of ourself. We can learn how to see how it is that we're participating, like I said, in real time. Can you tell me how? Yeah, absolutely. As we fire up that conscious part of our mind, we can be viewing ourself in real time. We can hear and see the patterns in our subconscious. We're narrating life, the larger majority of our day, all day. As we drop in and begin to hear and see those narratives, they are very repetitive. They are usually around the same stories. Do you have a North Star for people? So if my North Star for people is you have a goal, you're either moving towards it or you're not.


North Starts (29:51)

Do you have a North Star around you feel safe in your body or anything like that that people can use to navigate? I think great. Yeah, safety in our body. How does it feel? I often think about expansion, feeling open and receptive and feeling tight and closed and constricted. For me, those are my markers of my nervous system. When I'm feeling open and expansive and receiving of the world, I know that I'm feeling safe. I know that I'm in a creative space. I'm in a space to connect with other people. When I'm feeling tight, I even can reflect it sometimes. I can catch it in my musculature. Explain that. I don't understand. I can catch tension. I can catch when I'm holding my shoulders up, when I'm crunching myself, when I'm feeling more constricted. That's a marker that I go back too often because I've learned that maps on to my nervous system and when I'm feeling safe versus when I'm feeling not safe. So that's language that can be helpful for people. Do I feel light? Do I feel like I've left someone and I want to go see that person again? I'm thinking about them positively or when I've left this lunch engagement, do I hope that you've lost my number? And I never hear from you again. I mean, that can be interpersonal markers. Am I always dodging this type of experience or this type of event? Or am I always dodging this type of person or this relationship? We can begin to see our own cues, our own markers. Like I said, for me, I go back to constriction and expansion or feeling receptive. And that's how I know if I'm safe or not. Do you work with people at all on identifying what their either attachment style or attack patterns? I'm not sure what language you would use around that. But you gave a great example of you and Lolly how when she's coming at you, then you're closing down, which makes her come more or vice versa. I can't remember the exact dynamic. But it was literally polar opposites.


How to shift your patterns from negative to actually helpful. (31:45)

And I thought, man, this is a recipe for disaster. And how you began to unwind that I think is really interesting. So a lot of people listening might have heard, you know, attachment styles, am I anxious, am I avoidant? I think similarly in those terms, I think globally, or I know globally, that we are impacted by those earliest models of relationships, meaning the roles that we play, the dynamics that we got, here's that word again, familiar with, right, earliest in life, that we maybe started repeating once we were toddler age and had peers, right, we become the helper at home. And now we're the helper in our friend group, or we're the the yes person always saying yes, or the caretaker, we tend to be really repetitive in how we relate. And I'm of the belief that those earliest patterns, again, are just repeated in time. So whether you do reading on attachment styles and you know that you're anxious or anxious avoidant, or you just observe your dynamics and relationships, the takeaway is always that which I did in childhood, that which was familiar, how do I feel bonded to people? How do I feel safe with people or not safe with people become those patterns that I repeat over time? Awareness is key here, becoming aware, what are my relational patterns? How close do I feel to people? Are there emotions I bring into my relationships? Or do I keep this type of emotion out or all type of emotions out? Again, do I tend to play one particular role? Is there always a need or maybe all of my needs that go unmet in my relationships? Or do I feel comfortable expressing myself when I have a need, etc? And again, I believe that we're very patterned all that lives in our subconscious. So becoming aware and conscious allows us to over time begin to break some of those habits and patterns that don't serve me, beginning to put up a boundary, beginning to say no, beginning to express my need when I have it. That all makes sense. So the subtitle of your book, which we talked about at the beginning, I think we've covered two parts of that. So we've got the finding our patterns, we've got the healing from the past. Now I want to talk about something that I found really interesting, which is creating your space self, which I was very intrigued by that it wasn't creating yourself, it was creating yourself. What did you mean by that? How do we create? He didn't say discover, he said create. So how do we create ourself? Yeah, and this is interesting because for me, this really turned a belief that I had internalized for quite some time on its head. And for a very long time, I think like a lot of us, I didn't believe that there was much creation that was possible. I thought that, you know, whatever genetics we were born with, whatever circumstances we were born into, pretty much that would unfold and that would become our path in life with many things outside of our control. This was, you know, evidence in the field for a very long time when we used to believe in genetic determinism, that idea that whatever it was we were given that we don't really change, we don't grow, we don't evolve, our genes are our destiny. And now we understand differently. We actually know that we operate with our choices, meaning what I have genes, right, that load the gun, and then the things I'm doing each and every day determine how I am in life. I even believe that things such as personality, these patterned ways of being, this is exactly what you and I have been talking about. We could call that our genetic personality, or we could really look at that as a conditioned way of being. So when I began to realize that, wait a minute, things aren't as set in stone, I began to entertain many new conversations with myself of possibility of change. And I now believe that we actually can create ourself, we can create our future by beginning to make new choices now. Okay, so how do we set the course for that? I know you talk about basically future self-journalling, walk people through that process. So future self-journalling is actually as someone who never really journaled, I never really had a journaling practice growing up. However, I was diving into the research on neuroplasticity and our incredible brains power to imagine futures and create change just through imagination alone. And I created a model, a new way to journal, based on changing or working toward a future that's different. And I called it future self-journalling and I used it myself right from the very beginning of my healing journey. I found it really helpful, first and foremost, to help counter that autopilot. I found that for me every day, I do my journaling in the morning, though you could do it throughout your day at any time, the act of sitting down and setting an intention to that day can begin or to continue to do one new thing differently, that for me, that was the make it or break it between even just remembering that, oh wait, I'm wanting to do something new, because I just like everyone else can wake up tomorrow and slide right into my autopilot and go right into those habits and patterns. So for me, it was that intentional, that conscious mind where I reminded myself that I'm, wait, I'm actually working toward creating, again, one small daily promise. I also harnessed then our brain's incredible ability to harness imagination, writing in the present tense as if those changes had already been in fact the case. So my earliest journaling was around, I'm sure this is probably of no surprise to listeners becoming conscious. So every day I would journal how my intention was to be a conscious being, to be present in the given moment, and I wrote it as if it was the case, I am a present being, I am conscious, I use my breath to become attentive to the moment at hand or whatever it is I would write. As I'm writing that, and as I'm quote unquote saying that essentially to my mind, my brain, it in that moment doesn't know that's not in reality already happened, that I'm not already that conscious being according to my mind in that moment, it's as if it's true. All of those neurons are firing as if it's true, all of that release of the emotions as if it's true. So now I'm harnessing practice, rehearsal, mental rehearsal. So the more consistently I harness that intention to change each and every day I became conscious about what I wanted to do different. And then I began rehearsing it as I was writing it in my journal before long I was able to build a third step in the practice, go out and practice, remember then throughout my day to tune in to my conscious moment. And through utilizing that daily practice of journaling, not only did I create a new habit of being conscious, I was able to build on that habit and create an incredible amount of change. So I have since released those, the template, the journal prompts, so anyone who's interested can grab those on my website and can get started creating some change toward their future self. Thinking about the future self and constructing that in a very intentional way, I think is one of the most important things that any human being can do.


How to apply Future-Self Journaling to your specific self-improvement. (39:08)

I love that you've got such a focus on that. How many areas does that apply to? Is that all for self healing? Do you have people use it for career advancement? Like what what are the limitations of future self journaling? There are no limitations as far as I see it. So you can repurpose reuse. I still use the same template. I change the pattern or what I'm working on each and every day. You know, whether or not we want to use it, I have a lot of people who use it. Ourself creates our world. So whether or not we're talking our business self, our relational self, how we feel about ourself and how we relate to ourself internally, maps on to how do I relate in my relationships? How am I a leader? How I express in the world is affected by the relationship I have with myself, by how I'm tending to my own needs or not tending to my own needs, by how comfortable I am expressing myself to myself, let alone to the world. So very early on in my field, I found and I started to get people from business. I'm coming in with a business problem. Really, we're coming in with a self, a relationship with self issue, a limiting belief, a lack of worthiness, scarcity around money, etc. So I think most roads leave, leave back to self. So future self journaling and working on this self can help facilitate its expression, whether it's in our business world, in our personal world, or really anywhere, our creative world. A lot of us are blocked creatively because of our relationship with ourself.


Creative Boundaries + Creativity NPCs (40:49)

That's interesting. So what is the number one way that you find people are creatively blocked based on themselves? Is it a lack of self worth, a lack of their belief in they're creating something of value? Is there anything universal there or is it just like as many reasons as there could be? Yes, and I think the most foundational reason we're blocked creatively is because we can't access creativity. If we want to go back to Abraham Maslow, some of us might have heard of him and his hierarchy of human needs, I'm going to really simplify this at the bottom are our physical needs, having a body that's physiologically regulated. Again, really simplifying it. This is my Maslowian pyramid. We have our emotional needs, having the ability to tolerate stress to fall out of regulation and to come back. And at that tip where he's called self actualization, I believe that's the center of our spiritual needs, our heart space. That's where creativity lies. We have to be in flow. We have to be so fully present to what's happening to be even safely present to what's happening, being able to fully receive the whole moment to even be able to access that part of our brain. So I believe that so many of us are dysregulated at those foundational layers that we can't actually access creativity. Some of us can't access joy or ease or playfulness. This someone was me. Again, back to me, I was so dysregulated. You would have never heard me refer to myself as a creative being or a creator. I mean, now regularly refer to myself. That's what I do for my job. I'm a teacher. I'm a creator. I would have never spoken those words. Having a joyful laugh, having playful moments, that didn't factor into my daily life. And for me, it was because I wasn't safe enough in my body. So that's a big, big reason. And I bring that up here. Yes, as we become safe and as we become regulated, a lot of us then have deeper levels of lack of self worth, where it translates to the inability or the fear of putting our art or our creation or our essence out there. But a large majority of us, Tom, are dysregulated at this core level that we can't even safely enter a creative mind. Because I've heard you talk a lot, I know the depths of which you're speaking to the dysregulation.


Personal Growth And Transformation

The Value of Physical Abuse (43:15)

I'd like to drill into it. So as a guy building a mindset company, I didn't want necessarily to talk about health, but I do a whole show around health because I fully understand that without getting your body regulated to use your words, just your body, like you're eating right, you're exercising, you're sleeping, you're doing some sort of, I would say meditation, but you know, breath work, focus work, being attentive to the moment. If you're not doing that stuff, the number of things that break down is really quite terrifying. So for instance, like you, I went through crippling anxiety, and I don't know how badgers was, but mine was truly crippling. And I didn't understand that probably 60% of it was my diet. And it was crazy. As I got my anxiety under control and was doing all the mental things that I thought would get me to 100% and it didn't, and then really started looking at diet and microbiome and what an impact that has on triggering my anxiety. That was pretty eye opening. What advice do you have for people that are dysregulated at forget childhood trauma, just like at a physiological level? My similarly to your story, Tom, the foundation of my nutritional balance, my sleep, sleep is a big critical area that many of us aren't getting enough of or lying to ourselves about how much we're getting. And or if we're getting it, we're not sleeping well. So for me, it was building those physiological changes, shifts in my lifestyle that was a game changer for me. The types of food I was eating, I had a lot of inflammation that was causing my brain fog. And again, I think this is the case going back in time to my clients of those moments of disempowerment. Only so much insight. This is why again, I talk about the need for a holistic model of wellness. CBT for a very long time was our gold standard. If we're in a dysregulated body, only so much changing or reframing our thinking can go so far. So this was the big group of people that I was included in and my heart was going out to and I was feeling disempowered right alongside because no amount of cognitive shifts could affect the dysregulated body. So our nutrition, getting really conscious about what we're putting in our body, how it's making us feel. Do we eat when we're hungry or do we eat for the many million reasons why many of us eat otherwise outside of being hungry? Do we even know how it feels to be hungry? For some of us just getting really conscious in our body through trial and error, determining what makes my body feel the best and then consciously and I make conscious choices all the time around food. For me, this is a reframe, I can offer that can be helpful. It's not about restricting when I decide not to eat the gluten for this meal. It's about knowing the choice and the outcomes of that choice, knowing that if I eat gluten this time and sometimes I do eat gluten, I love pizza and every now and again, I want a gluten-filled pizza and I will eat that consciously knowing what the fallout will be. I know myself enough and I'm embodied enough. So for many of us, it's just getting in our body, determining what food makes me feel like I can perform. I have my brain that's sharp and I feel rested. Sometimes it's sleep, getting honest around our sleep. Yeah, everything is trade-offs, especially when you're talking about food.


Trade Offs in Life (46:47)

There are many a delicious thing that I will indulge in very rarely, but I will indulge in because it has this extraordinary brain chemistry reaction, but I know I'm either I'm not going to sleep as well or I might have an upset stomach or you know, just even putting on undesirable body fat but recognizing like you said that this is a lifestyle choice, not about restrictions, it's just about I know what the trade-offs are. Sure, I can have it. I'm only hurting myself. So if the pleasure in that moment outweighs what I know is coming as a result, then you know, by all means. And so it is interesting. Like one thing I've seen people really struggle with, I'm so curious to know if you've got to imagine you've come across this. I deserve to be able to eat this ice cream, smoke this cigarette, you know, whatever, whatever that's getting them into trouble. And I'm just like, I actually get the emotion. It does seem unfair. Like for instance, if my wife and I, who is half my size, if we eat the same calories, I will put on fat and she'll just get sweaty at night. It's crazy. So that's really unfair to me. I'm like, wait a minute, what did I do to deserve these poor genetics? And what did you do? And I'm happy for you, but it also seems unfair. But recognizing that that mentality does not change it. Like how do you help people out of something so gnarly that has a real reason to be upset about? That's incredibly difficult. And the end I think can imply here, honoring the upset, honoring the part of you that does feel like you got the short end of the stick or that it is unfair or that is still wearing the consequences of our past and making space for, you know, whatever it is that we want to see happen differently or whatever it is that we imagine would shift or change in our life if things were to be different. That and can go a long way. And I say that because I think for a very long time, in the beginning, it's very hard for those of us who have been practicing that short end of the stick dialogue, that it's not fair, just like all things, we can't vanish that overnight. So for some of us, it's just noticing when it's there and unhooking the attention, not expecting your subconscious to just realize that, oh, that's not helpful anymore. Okay, Tom, I'll just leave you alone. Then no worries. Absolutely not. Your subconscious is going to probably offer you. It's not fair narrative in every situation that you would otherwise have thought it's not fair. So don't anticipate that it's going to go away. What we have control over, though, is spending less time thinking it. So the first time you hear your mental rehearsal of it's not fair, instead of just doing whatever it is you typically do, going down the circle the drain of it's not fair. And so all the things that aren't fair, we all have the thing we do with the first thought once it becomes that first thought, spending less time. So that allows us to then expand to make space for something new. But I share that first part, because I think some of us do magically expect it to vanish, we get upset when it doesn't. And then when it doesn't, we then spend too much time so we can empower ourselves by acknowledging that it's there, and then by removing our attention and building our muscle and refocusing it, maybe here is where you offer yourself the reframe that you prefer to practice in that moment, which you're not going to believe. Let me add, and on that, do not expect to believe the new thought in that moment, don't expect to go from it's not fair to it's totally fair.


Changing Your Beliefs (50:17)

Of course, you're not going to do that 180, though you can begin to practice something new. I love that go deeper. So I, from experience, know that a lot of times you're not going to believe what you're telling yourself at first, but over time, just this sheer repetition, it becomes familiar, it feels safe to use your language. And so you start going, oh, yeah, this really is a, wait a second, no, this isn't true, but you've repeated it so many times that actually you do come to believe it. How do you help people through that process? Do you just say have faith? Trust me, repeat it enough, or do you have a different insight on that? So the more you practice it, I want to just first share why, because I go into this in the book, we actually have part of our mind, our brain, it's called the reticular activating system. So like you mentioned earlier, we're very grateful for this little part of our brain, because like you mentioned earlier, we can't take it all in at once. We can't think every thought at once. We can't attend every stimuli in this exact moment at once. We would completely overwhelm our system. So we have a little part of our mind that determines what's relevant for us. And it filters out anything else that's not relevant. The common example is when you decide you're going to buy a new particular type of car, right? So now you've practiced thinking about this car, you're researching it, you're going all these car lots, and now all you see is everyone driving that same car. Cars didn't just appear on the road, you just started to pay attention because now that car is relevant to you. Same thing happens with all of our beliefs. Beliefs originated simply as a thought that we practiced over time, that then got validated by our experience, because typically our thought arose from some experience that happened. And then any similar experience connects to those same thoughts, and then we become really practiced. And then our particular activating system comes on the scene and sets us up to confirm our belief, our thought, because I've practiced it long enough. So any opposing evidence in that moment, so say I'm not worthy is my common thought. It's for many of us. Any evidence in this moment of my worthiness will be deleted. And all I'll see is that side look or that call that went unanswered. All I'll see is evidence for how unworthy I am. And we're doing this on me knows to ourselves day in and day out. So to create a new belief, like I said, first we want to spend less time with our old beliefs entertaining them, engaging with them. While we don't anticipate that they're going to leave right away, we can refocus our attention. The more we rehearse than new beliefs, we're actually priming that particular activating system. So now we become a little more expansive, and I can let a little more new information in from my environment. So before long, when I start to actually see confirmation of this new belief in real time, that's when I began to shift. I don't think anything is a greater teacher personally, Tom, than wisdom, living the experience of change. So I can sit here on podcast after podcast and tell everyone all of the beliefs I've changed about myself. I urge everyone out there to create change for themselves. And you do it by practicing a new thought. By over time, allowing in a little more confirmatory evidence of that new thought. And then before you know it, you do start to see more and more evidence.


Practicing Selfworth (53:43)

And now you've lived the experience of changing a belief. All right, let's get in the weeds about self worth. I think that this is a fascinating one. And my sort of short punchline to self worth is for you to have self worth, you have to do something you think is worthy. And that there is an element of what you're talking about, you're going to rehearse that thought, you're going to open yourself up for some more confirming evidence. But if you're not doing things that you actually value, it's going to be really hard to develop that sense of self worth. Your idea of little promises, I think, is a brilliant step in that I said, I was going to do it and I did it. That's confirming evidence of self worth. Do you have something else that you give to people to use as they develop that? I think self worth originates when we take care of self. It can be as simple as caring for the self's physical body. For some of us, the habits and patterns we learned aren't self honoring, aren't self aware, aren't tailored to me and my body's physical experience. So for a lot of us, we begin to rebuild our self worth when we first and foremost keep those small promises, reversing that pattern of self betrayal, which is just, I've made a lot of promises that I haven't kept. So now that I've been in to make promises that I'm keeping, I'm showing myself that alignment. And for a lot of us, it does originate around just general day in and day out, I call it reparenting behaviors, self care. How am I tending to my physical body? Can I become worth it to be someone who cares for their physical needs? How about emotionally, the harder, harder still, right? Going down another layer. Can I be someone who cares for my own emotional needs, right? When I'm zapped, when I don't have resources about me, can I tend to that? Or do I continue to power through and show up in the world for everyone else? Can I be worth it in those small ways? And as I develop confidence and as I empower myself by keeping promises in those areas, now I can start to create a new experience, another snowball rolling down where now I can begin to set intentions, right? Of action, of creating, of living my purpose in the world, of doing things that are maybe a bit more externally worthy. And I think the sense that you're asking, I believe, though, to simplify the answer, it begins in small daily things. Many of us are confirming a narrative of unworthiness because we're not showing up for ourselves in the smallest of ways. No question. Can you define reparenting? That is an element of the book that I found really interesting.


Re-parenting (56:18)

Reparenting is the daily habits and patterns that typically center around our three areas of need. So what reparenting is typically is in adulthood a process that each of us, you know, undertake very individualized based on developing new habits in the areas where we could better modify some of those older habits and patterns and better meet our unique needs as an adult. One thing I find interesting about the concept and tell me if this is intentional and why you named it that is. So when you think about parenting, it automatically conjures images of the parent and the child. And when I think about the mind and the relationship that we have with our sort of conscious behaviors and our subconscious behaviors, the conscious behavior becomes the new parent who's doing your future self-journalling, they're setting intention, they've developed awareness, and now they're essentially communicating through what I think you would call practicing the behavior to the subconscious that's acting ways that are not beneficial, doing things that, you know, you would want to gently guide a child away from. Was that intentional in calling it reparenting? Yes, I actually call it the wise, inter-parent, which we all want to cultivate. And what inner child work is is really honoring that we do all have that space in our subconscious that contains those habits, those patterns. A lot of times it contains those more immature coping mechanisms where quite literally I scream and yell when I'm upset or I storm off and I take my toys and I don't want to talk to you anymore. I do a little bit of both. A lot of times we see that around our emotional reaction. So it's honoring that we all have that inner child like space within us. Again, it's stored in our subconscious. So our goal is that expansion, same thing, creating that consciousness where I can see those unexpressed needs, those old habits, those old patterns, I can witness them compassionately, right, developing that wise, inter-parent, just like a guide like you're saying. Man, as a metaphor, that one is so beautiful. That one really hits home for me in terms of as somebody's going through the process when they're doing the work that you're talking about for them to have one, a metaphor that when done well conjures images of warmth and nurturing and caretaking and patience and love and bringing all of those things to this process, which can be a very long process of constantly coming back to ground zero and there can be a lot of frustration around that, you know, and just walking yourself through it the way that you would show patience to a child that you love. That really landed for me. I like that a lot. And of course it's for many, most of us, I should say, much more difficult in practice. A lot of us do so much more quickly extend compassion. I've noticed and I notice this in myself to others more quickly than we do so to ourselves. So I just want to end by honoring the fact that it is a process and a lot of times the first step of it is acknowledging all of the ways and areas where we're not compassionate with ourselves and then obviously beginning to break some of those habits, spending a little less time in that critical voice so that over time we can make space for the much more compassionate experience that you're beautifully describing. Well, my friend, tell people where they can find you because you have become a true sort of wise inner parent to so many people and what you're putting out there is so extraordinarily useful.


Where to find Nicole (59:52)

Where can people connect? So each and every day I'm on the Instagram account that started all at the dot holistic dot psychologist and on there I'm sharing daily tools and healing, sharing aspects of my journey and I always love to shout out the amazing community of self-healers that exist and that is always engaging with the work on that page and I say that as someone who a big motivator for myself and the journey and the online aspect of it was looking for that community of people knowing that healing can be incredibly lonely. So there's a YouTube page as well that's currently getting revamped at the dot or the holistic psychologist that anyone can check out. So in the next month or two that'll be unrolled with a new look for the daily or the weekly teaching videos.


Implementing Personal Growth Strategies

How To Do the Work (01:00:49)

Nice. Well guys, trust me, this is a book you're going to want to read, "How to do the work by the extraordinary Nicole LaPera." So make sure that you guys check it out. It's really a phenomenal read and speaking of things that are phenomenal. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe and until next time my friends, be legendary. Take care. So even in the darkest moments of despair, getting sober at 25, it was that faith that led me into the next right action. Remembering trauma in 2016, it was the faith that got me out of bed in the morning and out of that desperation.


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