Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and master coach, Kara Loewentheil.
Hello, my chickens. This is the season of just amazing bonus surprises. And so, I wanted to tell you that I have done an incredible collaboration that I want to tell you all about. It is with Headspace on their show, Radio Headspace. And on my takeover, which is a whole week, we’ve got five episodes. We are talking about how to change your thoughts. We’re talking about where our anxiety comes from, where our insecurity comes from and how we can change our thoughts to really feel more self-confident.
That is one of those things that we talk about all the time because it is kind of the root cause of so many of the challenges that we face in our brains if we are socialized as women, or socialized into really any marginalized group. What we’re being taught is that we are not good enough and inferior. And so, learning how to root that out is the work of a lifetime.
So, I’m so excited about this collaboration, it is so fun to get to teach this stuff in the context of the Headspace platform, reach new people but I also want you guys to check it out because you are going to learn a ton. And they’re nice, and short, and to the point, just like we do things around here.
So, what I’m going to do is we’re going to share the first episode here right after this intro. But if you want to hear the rest, go check out Radio Headspace on the Headspace app or wherever you listen to podcasts, it’s Radio Headspace. And then you can get all of the episodes and go through our whole conversation. I cannot wait for you guys to hear this. Take it away, me.
Hi, this is Kara Loewentheil, your host for Radio Headspace this week. I just wanted to let you know that there’s a little explicit language in this episode. So, listener discretion is advised. Now, let’s start the show.
Hello, welcome to Radio Headspace and to Monday morning. If you don’t know me, I’m a former civil rights lawyer, a master certified life coach and the host of UnF*ck Your Brain, a podcast that teaches you how to rewire your brain to create true inner confidence so you can get what you want out of life. Now, my podcast often focuses on how women are taught to think about themselves. But my advice on how to retrain your brain to think differently applies to everyone.
And one of the things that I’ve been vocal about is how society can condition us to feel like we’re not good enough, even when we achieve great things. So, this week we’re going to talk about how to live a life with less insecurity and more self-confidence. Today we’re going to explore what it actually means to unfuck your brain, it’s all about how you can change your mindset in a way that serves you better and will help you blow up your life in the best way possible.
When I talk about unfucking your brain I’m using an irreverent term to refer to a really lifechanging scientifically based process which is the process of becoming aware of what you’re thinking and then actually changing what you’re thinking on purpose. Most of us have no idea what we’re thinking, which sounds wild but it’s true. You have so many subconscious thoughts that you are not even aware of and they are driving your emotions, and your behavior, and the results that you create in your life every day.
You can think about your brain as sort of open source programming. You’re born and you know almost nothing and you have to learn everything. The problem with open source programming is that anybody can get in there and program it. Everything that you encounter is feeding your brain with ideas about who you are, who you should be, who’s valuable and worthy and who isn’t. And so, because we live in a society that has inequality in it we absorb a lot of messages that may not really align with our own values, how we want to live our lives, what we want to believe about ourselves and the world but we’re not even aware of it.
The beautiful thing about the human brain is that it can change and grow forever and this is called neuroplasticity. So, it seems kind of funny to think about now but until not super long ago, the scientific consensus was that your brain didn’t really kind of fundamentally develop more after a certain point in your life. Thankfully we know now that’s just not true, your brain can continue to grow new neural connections and develop your whole life. And neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to do that.
But that change can either happen unconsciously or consciously. So, you might learn something new, get a new idea, hear somebody say something and start to think about that and believe it, and not really be in control of that process at all. Or you can take control of that process and change your brain on purpose. So fundamentally what it means to change your brain is to literally choose to practice thinking different thoughts than you have previously been thinking.
If after listening to this you feel like you want to start working on maybe changing some of the ways you’re thinking, the first and most important step is becoming aware of what you’re actually thinking. The best way to do that is to write it down, pick a thing in your life that is bothering you, you set a timer three to five minutes and then you just write, you don’t judge, you don’t edit, you just write down everything you’re thinking about. And then as you read over what you’ve written just notice whatever kind of self-talk you have about what you have written down.
Are you judging yourself? Are you telling yourself it’s silly? Are you telling yourself you shouldn’t think that? Are you telling yourself you’re a bad person for thinking that? All of that meta commentary we have about our own thoughts is actually some of the most challenging and painful thinking that we have. If you feel ready to actually challenge some of those thoughts, one of the things you can just ask yourself is, so what, or why? Can I know that that’s true? These are just different questions that help challenge your brain a little bit, shake it up, shake up its perspective.
Fundamentally what we’re trying to do is create some distance between you and your thinking so that you are not so identified with your thoughts. So that you can see that there is a part of you that thinks and there is a part of you that observes your own thinking. The more you are in the part of you that observes your own thinking the better able you will be to start actually changing some of those thoughts.
As we’re going through this week and we’re talking about unfucking our brains, don’t fall for the, well, I call it perfectionist fantasy that you can get to this point where your brain is perfectly unfucked and then you feel amazing all the time forever. Your brain never gets completely unfucked, it doesn’t have to. You’re always going to be a human. But the goal for me is you develop a better and better relationship with yourself, you’re better able to weather the storms of life, you feel more in control and the fun part is doing things you didn’t think you could do and blowing your own mind.
You can find my podcast UnF*ck Your Brain anywhere you listen to podcasts. We’ll also have it linked in the show description. That’s it from me today. Tomorrow we’ll explore how many of our confidence issues come up as anxiety and how we can stop our thoughts from spiraling out of control. Until then, don’t believe everything you think.