As we all know, the older we get, the more difficult it can be to make time to check in on ourselves. We power through our days, work through our tick lists and often operate on the assumption that we are “fine” because we’re able to get up the next morning and do it all again. We’re also a generation of “glossers”. We like shiny surfaces, magic plasters and problems we can gloss over with a lick of jazzy new paint. This can lead to a build-up of unresolved tension, limiting beliefs we didn’t even know we had, and a tendency to spend the majority of the day running on autopilot. It can also lead us to finding comfort in periods of stress and anxiety, simply because of how oddly familiar those emotions feel to us.
The problem is, if we operate in this way then the likelihood is that our children and students will follow in our footsteps, despite our best efforts to gift them stress-free lives. So, how do we prioritise our mental health and regularly take out our inner trash so that our children will do the same?
Whilst there are many ways to steer ourselves and the younger generation in the right direction, Revision is a great place to start and here’s why:
- It’s completely free.
- It only takes 10 minutes.
- It works for adults and children alike.
- All you need is your imagination.
Let’s dive in and see how it works.
RevisionWhat is Revision?
Revision involves taking a negative event from our day and reimagining it in a positive light. For kids, this could be a conflict with a sibling, a tough experience at school, or a challenge in sports. For us, it could be a heated conversation with a partner, a conflict with our boss or a traffic jam that made us late for work. You can choose any experience from your day that felt negative and reimagine it.
The Purpose of Daily Revision
The purpose of daily revision is to tell our bodies that there are no sabre-tooth tigers on the horizon and to place our bodies in a state of calm each and every day. Revision is self-care from the inside out.
Mind/Body Fact #1
Today, our bodies respond to threats in EXACTLY the same way as they did during our tribal days. That is, when they perceive a threat (whether it's sabre-tooth tiger, extinction, lack of food, dinner with the mother-in-law, a text from your ex) our bodies switch into a state of high alert because emotions of fear, worry or anxiety hit our bodies’ “Go” button. This produces adrenaline and activates our fight or flight mechanism. In the process, it also restricts our ability to tap into new ideas, focus and apply logic to decisions. After all, fight or flight time is not a time to invent, create or take a pause. It’s simply the time to react.
The problem today is that we activate our “Go” buttons so often, that our bodies yo-yo in and out of fight and flight. Worries about our children, the economy, our parents, and finances all hit our “Go” buttons and our bodies respond accordingly. Unlike in tribal days when tribesmen and women would relax their bodies by sleeping after a hunt or moving to locations of safety, we PROLONG our states of mental stress by seeing predators everywhere: the pile of work on our desks, traffic on the way home, an unexpected bill, a conflict with a friend, a forced trip to the gym, an unwanted salad in a hungry tummy. For kids, “Go” button activation could be friendship problems, social anxiety, the pressure of exams or the fear of disappointing someone. When we neither relax nor reflect, our negative emotions build up like trash which puts our bodies into states of dis-ease and burn-out.
Our grandparents operated in this way.
So did our parents.
And now we do it.
So unless we break the cycle, it stands to reason that our kids will do it too.
Mind/Body Fact #2: Our bodies are so objective that they don’t know the difference between an actual event and an imagined one. By using imaginary revision, our minds trick our bodies into believing that any outside threats have disappeared. This then gives the signal to our bodies that they can come out of their state of stress and float calmly into relaxation. By regularly flooding the body with positive emotions when a negative event occurs, we dial down any perceived threats, and the body responds by going from dis-ease to ease.The Result
A stronger immune system.
A better understanding of self.
An increased likelihood of reaching for the best-case scenario or taking a solution-focused approach when the next sabre-tooth tiger appears.
A blank canvas for the next day, the next experience, the next partner.
How to use Revision
I’m currently using revision with my students and it’s wonderful to see the effects. Here’s an example so that you can see the steps in action. Joseph is 9-years-old.
Step 1: Ask your kids or students if they’d like to revise anything from their day.
Me: Is there anything from your day you’d like to revise? Any conflicts, negative experiences, things you would like to rewrite?
Joseph: This morning, I had a bad fight with my brother. He kicked me and I hit him.
Me: How did that start?
Joseph: He went into my room without asking and took my iPad. He always treats my things as his. So when I saw him with it, I grabbed it and he ran after me.
Me: How did you resolve it?
Joseph: I went into my room and slammed my door. I haven’t seen him since. We always fight, then it’s always fine.
Me: How do you feel now?
Joseph: Still mad but Ok.
(FYI, this is exactly how my sister and I used to fight. We rarely resolved our conflicts. Can you relate?)
Step 2: Ask your kids or students to write down or talk through an edited version of the event, this time in a positive light.
The purpose of revision isn’t to avoid actual conflict resolution or to shy away from reality. In the aftermath of a conflict with another person, open communication has many benefits and of course this is important for our kids to learn, too. However, in the same way as alternative therapies can compliment modern medicine, revision can be used to support external remedies as it works from within. Revision is therefore for us and our health and no-one else.
This morning, my brother came into my room whilst I was playing with my iPad. He asked if he could borrow it. I said that I was using it and he asked if he could use it when I was finished. I said “yes” because I liked that he asked me. Later on, I brought the iPad to him. He was in the kitchen and he smiled. He looked happy and so I felt good. I played with my cars next to him and then we swapped.
Step 3: Ask your kids to close their eyes and imagine that rewritten scene.
If you’re working one-to-one, support kids by reading it to them whilst their eyes are closed. Encourage them to add details by asking:
What are you wearing in the scene?
What is your brother wearing?
Is your room tidy?
Was there anything cooking in the kitchen?
How did you feel when you chose to give your brother the ipad?
How do you think your brother felt?
Look at him smile. You did that!
Step 4: Run the scene on repeat until the imaginer starts to feel like it's real.
Children are wonderfully expressive and so you’ll know when they’re starting to let go of the negative emotions that were stored when the actual event occurred. Look out for the dropping of shoulders, the relaxation of eyelids and big smiles. When they look happy, they can count from 1-5 and open their eyes.
Step 5: Go home from school or go straight to sleep feeling happy!
The feeling of happiness is enough to trick the body into believing that the negative experience has not only been resolved but in some cases, didn’t happen. Imagine it well and your body will believe your edited version, so much so that negative emotions will be blotted out and replaced with positive ones. Cue a stronger immune system. Cue more energy. Cue happiness.
More Reasons to Revise your Day
Revision prompts feelings of resolution, happiness and positivity. It nips things in the bud so that our bodies are not left with a pile of residual trash from the numerous fight or flight responses we have every day. In short, revision helps us to relax in mind and body.
Taking out our inner trash regularly means no harboured emotions, no grudges and no predator on the loose. Choosing revision means choosing to place our bodies in their natural states of ease, rather than subjecting them to lingering feelings of negativity. By showing our children how to do this, we’re teaching them to clean up their inner worlds as they go.
Why revision works
Revision works because in the mind of the imaginer, the argument, situation or negative experience has been resolved or edited. Imagine the revised event enough times and with feeling, and the body believes that the imagined event really happened. Any residual feelings from the actual event evaporate from the body and are replaced by feelings of happiness. Think of it like an emotional colonic- without the tube!
Revision can not only heal old wounds but repeated use can make the imaginer more likely to forgive and let go in future conflicts. This can lead to heightened feelings of compassion and empathy for others, especially if our rewrites include imagined reasons why someone acted a certain way.
In summary, revision isa free, fun and easy way to clean up from the inside out. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
For a more detailed look at revision, click here. I also fully recommend the work of Neville Goddard and his lectures on the Pruning Shears of Revision, as well as Becoming Supernatural by Dr Joe Dispenza, which talks in more detail about the mind-body connection.