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Making Changes The Kaizen Way

This is a fascinating video about a Japanese methodology that although talked about in the 1940s still has relevance for us today. The attached link at the bottom of this page really does bring home the usefulness of this technique when clients are looking to make changes in their lives.

I often talk to clients about making changes and, of course, sometimes this can evoke fear and anxiety.  That’s because we are used to listening to inspirational talks about implementing dramatic changes quickly – “making the leap” or “no gain without pain”.  When our mind is told that we need to make big changes we trigger the amygdala, the fight/flight area of our brains. This in turn can mean the mind will look for some comfort and safety – maybe by turning to unhelpful habits or looking for excuses to procrastinate. So, it’s not a surprise when we find ourselves giving up on our goals.

By understanding the Kaizen Way, we can encourage clients to make very small changes to bypass the amygdala and therefore not trigger the fight/flight response.

Take the example of a client who comes to a session seeking help with anxiety. Possibly they discover that it is the demands of their job that are having a huge effect on them. If they were told to find a completely new job, then this would certainly evoke more anxiety. Let’s imagine instead that they instead started with an incredibly small step such as:  wearing the clothes that make them feel good at work or even making sure they went out of their way to say good morning to their colleagues every morning. They would feel that by making these small manageable steps they feel encouraged and therefore feel ready to make another small step and so on until they reach their ultimate goal.

Hypnotherapy uses this premise to help clients make the changes they want to make in a timely and realistic manner.