Bestselling author and mindset expert Debbie King explains how these questions can help reprogram your subconscious to set you up for success.
These rules make up a hidden instruction manual we use to evaluate ourselves and other people.
At work, we have additional instructions. Whole sections of the manual warn us not to trust our competitors (they’ll steal your clients), prescribe employee behavior (they should be faster), and dictate how we should show up (never let anyone know you’re worried).
Most of the time, we’re unaware of this manual, but it guides our actions anyway. The instructions are beliefs that form a lens through which we see the world. The brain automatically notices and finds evidence to reinforce our beliefs, making it seem as though they are “true.”
It’s not bad to have a manual; it saves your brain from decision fatigue. The trick is to periodically examine your manual and update your beliefs, so they work for you.
To do this, start by noticing how you feel. When you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, ask yourself these questions:
1. WHY AM I CHOOSING TO FEEL THIS WAY?
This question makes clear that how you feel is a choice. It creates an opening for change.
Feelings don’t just happen to us. They’re not caused by situations in our lives. Feelings are caused by thoughts.
When reality doesn’t match our manual, the mind produces negative thoughts because the world isn’t following our “rules.”
2. HOW DO I WANT TO FEEL?
Asking how you want to feel can jolt you into awareness that you have a choice. If you’re frustrated because you or someone else missed a deadline, you may feel justified because you’re thinking, “This will damage our relationship with the manager or client.” But it’s this thought that creates the feeling of frustration, not the person.
Do you really want to feel frustrated? You’re the one feeling it, not anyone else. They have their own feelings. If you prefer to feel calm, clear and focused as you go through life, choose thoughts like: “There must be a reason this happened and I’m going to put a system in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. ”
3. WHAT AM I MAKING THIS MEAN?
This question helps you see that you’re the one assigning meaning to every situation and it’s up to you to decide what that meaning is. For example, if an employee quits, you could make it mean “I’m not a good leader.” But does it serve you to think that?
Uncover the story you’re creating so you can see that it’s optional. Write it down.
Over time, you’ll likely discover you have many variations of similar stories because they’re connected to long-held core beliefs in your hidden instruction manual. Stories are interpretations, not facts, so create stories that increase your confidence, like “I’m growing as a leader.”
4. WHAT ELSE COULD THIS MEAN?
The primitive part of the brain is quick to imagine the worst-case scenario in order to keep you safe, but its judgment is often wrong. This question helps you imagine other possibilities.
Maybe your employee quit because of their own story. The scowl on your client’s face may mean they just don’t feel well. The proposal you lost is for the best because it was for work you’re phasing out anyway.
At a minimum, every situation offers the possibility to learn and grow.
5. WHAT IF I DID KNOW WHAT TO DO?
Asking this is especially useful when you feel overwhelmed, uncertain, or worried. For example, you lost a client, and need to make up the revenue to reach your goals.
Answering this question engages your prefrontal cortex, and your brain will start solving the problem and creating plans. Expect that there is a solution, and command your brain to find it.
You’re more capable of solving problems than you realize. Doubt and uncertainty create interference, slowing down your brain. Ask this question instead.
6. WHERE ELSE DOES THIS HAPPEN IN MY LIFE?
This question will help you find patterns in your instruction manual. The brain develops patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that lead to similar results and point to core beliefs, like “I’m not good enough,” or “Leaders must always be right.”
Because many beliefs form during childhood, you may not be aware that they’re beliefs at all. You may think they’re facts. But patterns provide clues. Once you identify patterns that create negative results, you can begin to change them.
7. WHAT WOULD THE BEST VERSION OF ME DO?
This question is a great reminder that you have a choice in how you show up.
The best version of you would respond with reason and calm, poise, and grace. Picture what the best version of you would think, say, and do. Then, bring those thoughts and actions into the present moment.
You can’t change what you don’t see. The practice of asking yourself these questions will help you uncover your hidden instruction manual and habitual patterns of thinking.
When you become aware of how your mind interprets the world around it, you can create new rules to reprogram your brain to work for you.
This article first appeared on Fast Company.
1. Hunterdon County - This county has topped the list for 6 years in a row, with the highest average life span in the state of New Jersey. Smoking and adult obesity rates were considerably lower than the state average, and a higher percentage of residents reported exercising regularly. This county is home to numerous charming towns including Flemington, Clinton, Lambertville and Frenchtown. The Hunterdon County Art Museum is pictured.
2. Somerset County - This county reports the lowest rate of excessive drinking in the state, a longer average lifespan, and a lower percentage of uninsured residents. This county is home to Duke Farms in Hillsborough, a lovely place to be active, and Far Hills, one of the wealthiest towns in New Jersey. The above photo was taken in Basking Ridge.
3. Morris County - This county has a low teen birth rate, low violent crime rate, and a longer life span than much of the state. The parks department is very important here, encouraging residents to get active and enjoy the outdoors. The county is home to architecturally stunning Mountain Lakes and larger cities including Parsippany-Troy Hills and Morristown.
4. Bergen County - One of the wealthiest counties in New Jersey, Bergen County provides plenty of hiking opportunities at Palisades Interstate Park, pictured, and Ramapo Valley Reservation in Mahwah. Air and water quality here are slightly better than the state average and smoking and obesity rates are lower. Larger cities include Hackensack, Paramus, Fort Lee and Ridgewood.
5. Monmouth County - Residents here have easy access to exercise opportunities, perhaps they're spending time surfing at the beach? Babies born in Monmouth County tend to be healthier as well with a lower premature birth rate than the state average. The quality of life is also higher than average, and it's no surprise with charming towns like Red Bank, Asbury Park, Long Branch and Manasquan. With a laid back lifestyle and easy access to NYC, the county is a celeb favorite.
6. Middlesex County - Middlesex County is home to New Brunswick, which is often referred to as the "Health City." The headquarters of pharmaceutical and medical supply company, Johnson & Johnson can be found here. Smoking and drinking rates are low and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is located in the county. Other large cities in Middlesex include Edison and Old Bridge.
7. Sussex County - The stunning Sussex County is home to portions of the Kittatinny Mountain Range and Appalachian Trail. There are endless outdoor opportunities from hiking to biking, and skiing to rafting on the Delaware River. The county has a significantly lower rate of children living in poverty than the state average. Larger towns include Newton, Franklin and Vernon.
8. Burlington County - Burlington is pretty much on par with state averages for life expectancy and quality of life, though the percentage of uninsured residents is significantly lower than the rest of New Jersey. Home to Fort Dix and McGuire Airforce base, perhaps our physically fit military personnel have something to do with the county's higher health rankings. Larger cities include Mt. Holly and Evesham.
9. Mercer County - Mercer County is home to our state capital, Trenton, and portions of the Delaware and Raritan canal. Mercer county has some of the cleanest drinking water in New Jersey and above average access to medical care. Home to great schools like Princeton and TCNJ, larger cities include Hamilton and Ewing.
10. Union County - Union County ranks #7 out of New Jersey's 21 counties for length of life. The smoking rate is slightly below average and the access to exercise opportunities is significantly above average. Larger towns include Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Westfield and Mountainside. You'll find several golf courses and the Watchung Reservation here.
11. Warren County - Located on the Delaware River, Warren County is home to a portion of the Appalachian Trail. While the smoking rate is above average, outdoor activities and clean drinking water help place this county at #11. Larger cities include Hackettstown, Washington, Hope, Blairstown and Stewartsville.
A regular fitness routine may help protect those diagnosed with COVID against hospitalization and even death. Although COVID-19 still threatens our health, staying true to a fitness routine may be one of the best ways to protect ourselves from the worst outcomes, according to a recent study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center examined health records from 48,440 adults diagnosed with COVID. Patients were organized into three groups — consistently inactive, somewhat active, and consistently active — based on their self-reported physical activity over the previous two years.
Only 6.4 percent of the patients were consistently meeting physical-activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week, and 14.4 percent were inactive, reporting a maximum of 10 minutes of weekly exercise. The majority fell into the “somewhat active” group.
After controlling for factors including age, race, and underlying medical conditions, the researchers found that the least active patients were 2.26 times more likely to be hospitalized, 73 percent more likely to require intensive care, and roughly 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID compared with regular exercisers.
And some activity was better than none: Compared with those who engaged in some activity, mostly sedentary patients were 20 percent more likely to be hospitalized and 32 percent more likely to die as a result of the virus.
The researchers had anticipated finding a relationship between physical activity and illness severity, but the study’s lead author, Robert Sallis, MD, was surprised by the strength of the associations.
“Even after we controlled for variables such as obesity and smoking in the analysis,” Sallis notes, “we still saw that inactivity was strongly associated with much higher odds of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death compared with moderate physical activity or any activity at all.”
In fact, except for age and a history of organ transplants, the results suggest that physical inactivity may pose one of the most significant risks to COVID patients — even more than commonly cited factors such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Despite the report’s limitations — physical activity levels were self-reported and the observational study doesn’t prove a causal relationship — the findings offer substantial support for the protective effects of regular exercise.
“We are hopeful,” Sallis says, “that the message that a little exercise can go a long way will be heard and acted upon.”
By the Numbers
14.4% Segment of study participants who reported getting less than 10 minutes of weekly exercise. The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes.
2.26 Number of times more likely that the least active patients were to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, compared with regular exercisers.
Article By Molly Tynjala | Experience Life October 4, 2021
Written, Compiled & Edited by
The Bergen Review Media Team