Cognitive Reframing, Creativity & The Cathedral Effect

The newsletter which curates & delivers the best mind hacks, mental health tips & high performance strategies to you every single week.

🧠 MENTAL HEALTH TIP

‘Cognitive Reframing’ (Or… A Simple Way To Convert Anxiety & Fear Into Excitement & Confidence!)

Harvard University conducted a psychological study, exploring various techniques for managing anxiety, nervousness, or fear, particularly before a performance…

The study investigated 2 well-known techniques in "mindfulness / meditation training" & “breathwork", as well as 1 much lesser-known one… "Cognitive Reframing."

For the study, they applied a very basic, simplified version of this technique, where participants were instructed to take their anxiety & vocally repeat the phrase, "I am excited, I am excited, I am excited," instead of dwelling on their performance anxiety...

Surprisingly, this simple exercise yielded astonishing results!

The study revealed that merely uttering the phrase "I am excited" three times out loud surpassed the benefits of 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation when it came to managing anxiety & fear...

Isn't that remarkable?

Another study by Professor Alison Wood Brooks further highlighted the power of this simple “Cognitive Reframing” technique…

In this particular investigation, participants were tasked with performing the popular song "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey…

Beforehand, they were instructed to vocally express either "I am anxious" or "I am excited" or remain silent altogether…

By employing computer-based measurements of pitch & volume, Professor Wood Brooks observed that those who claimed to be excited performed better, despite their nerves.

(Additionally, this technique enhanced participants' confidence in their ability to perform well in future endeavors).

As Professor Wood Brooks explained upon analyzing the study's outcomes:

"The way we verbalize and think about our feelings helps to construct the way we actually feel."

So, how can you use this?

Well, the next time you find yourself experiencing anxiety, nervousness, or fear…

Such as before a significant presentation, sports event, date, or interview…

Consider using this technique to ‘reframe’ the emotional experience…

An additional part of the explanation for why this works so well is because fear & excitement are at a chemical level pretty much the exact same thing…

Both are primarily driven by high levels of dopamine & the rapid rise of the neurochemical ‘norepinephrine’ in the brain…

And the only, real major difference between these 2 high physiologically-charged emotions is the subjective intrepretation of whether the future has something good to offer or something bad…

(anxiety/fear if we think the future is bad & excitement if something good)

Which, given that the future is inheriently unknown, are equally possible & therefore it’s entirely subjective…

Or put another way, it’s becomes all about our interpretion of what’s to come…

Reframing in this way using these words/affirmations focuses the mind on the possibility of something good (which is based on reality as, again, the future is unknown) thereby converting the same underlying ingredients that were before interpreted as ‘fear’ into genuine ‘excitement!’

By applying ‘Cognitive Reframing’ you can transform your emotions & improve your performance 🚀 

💭 QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home... it's your responsibility to love it, or change it.’’

Chuck Palahniuk

💡 CREATIVITY HACK

Applying The ‘Cathedral Effect’ (Or… A Simple Way To Prime Your Brain For Creative Thinking!)

Have you ever noticed how being in a grand, awe-inspiring space (like a cathedral, library, or outdoors) can evoke a sense of wonder & inspire creativity?

This phenomenon, known as the "cathedral effect," has been the subject of fascinating research in recent years & scientists have discovered indeed that spaces with high ceilings…

(including infinite space above, like being outside & looking at the sky/stars)… 

…can have a profound impact on our cognitive abilities, particularly our insightfulness & creativity.

That’s because the “cathedral effect” taps into the inherent connection between physical space and our mental states…

When we find ourselves in an expansive environment, our minds are more likely to think in broader terms, break free from conventional thought patterns, and explore new ideas.

The sense of vastness & openness stimulates our imagination, encouraging us to make novel connections & consider unconventional possibilities.

How you can apply this starting today to boost creativity today:

  • Seek out high ceilings & expansive environments: Whether it's visiting a cathedral, exploring a nature reserve, or simply finding a peaceful spot with a view of the open sky, make time to immerse yourself in spaces that evoke a sense of vastness. These environments can act as a springboard for your creativity and help you break free from mental constraints.

  • Engage in sky/star gazing: Take a few moments each day to look up at the sky/stars (even if it's just through a window) can prime your mind to generate more good ideas & be more creative.

By understanding & harnessing the “cathedral effect”, you can tap into the wellspring of creativity within you…

So, look up, let your mind wander & discover the boundless possibilities that lie beyond the confines of your everyday thinking.

‎‍🎓 FEATURED COURSE

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