Skills to Keep Stress Useful – Getting the Best from the Exercises
The FAST Pathways exercises are designed to re-train your not-on-purpose thinking, to do things as you’d like them, all by itself. Here are my top recommendations for this to be most effective.
Each time you’re exploring a skill, choose something specific that you’d like to feel better about. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or most disruptive issue that you’re facing, just something specific enough to teach your brain a new way to do things – it’s like when you were little, and first learning how to work zips and buttons. You did it by having them in your hands….
So think of a specific time when you felt the way that you’re going to change. Something which it’s easy to remember, clearly enough that you feel that way again (even if it’s less strongly). Perhaps you’ll think of the first time you felt that way, the time you felt it most strongly, or the most recent time you felt it.
Be curious, and experiment with the techniques. The suggestions in the exercises are there to get you going – you can get creative, coming up with your own variations. When you’ve found what works best for you, repeat three or four times: Thinking again of the thing that you want to feel differently about, then running through the exact sequence of changes for making it better. Because your brain learns by repetition – you’re giving it those detailed instructions for how you want things done. And once that learning embeds, it can start to apply to other things all by itself.
Because just like you didn’t have to learn it from scratch every time you got a new zip, once your brain’s got the new pattern you’ve set it can apply it to other things too (that’s why it doesn’t matter exactly which thought you chose in the first place)….
And keep your noticing tuned into to the differences as things change, to celebrate as things start to get easier. Welcome to the power of your thinking.