Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Rubber Band Technique

The Rubber Band Technique
by Kathy Atkinson

We get what we think about, talk about, focus on, say to ourselves and believe about ourselves.

Are you in the habit of putting yourself down? Are you constantly telling yourself that you are not good enough or haven't done enough. Do you tell yourself that your are bad, stupid or lazy on a regular basis.

This behavior has to stop or you will just manifest more reasons for you to continue to put yourself down. Negative self-talk is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

So, how do you stop that kind of negative self-talk? How do you change your habitual behavior of putting yourself down? Just deciding to stop that behavior is not always enough. Some times you need a way to break your negative pattern.

I have used the Rubber Band Technique off and on for years to remind myself that I have decided to choose something new...a new behavior, a new thought, a new action or a new reaction. So, how does the Rubber Band Technique work?

Let's use the example of constantly putting yourself down.

You've decided to change that behavior, but find yourself falling back into that habit time after time because it is so automatic. It happens before you give it much thought. The secret is to catch yourself in the behavior and immediately choose something else. The rubber band comes into play because it gets your attention and reminds you that you have chosen a new behavior.

You place a rubber band around your wrist and every time you catch yourself putting yourself down, you snap the rubber band and replace that negative self-talk with something positive.

The rubber band acts as a pattern breaker. It acts as an attention getter. It acts to snap you back into the present moment, so you can consciously choose a new behavior until that new behavior becomes your automatic response.

Perhaps you aren't in the habit of putting yourself down. How can you apply the Rubber Band Technique? Just choose any negative pattern of behavior that you catch yourself doing automatically and that you actually want to change. Observe yourself throughout the day and notice when you are engaging in a negative pattern of behavior. Use the rubber band to snap you back into the present moment and choose your new behavior.

Here are some ways to apply the Rubber Band Technique.

  • Catch yourself reaching for that second helping of food or dessert.
  • Catch yourself in the fast-food parking lot.
  • Catch yourself eating standing up.
  • Catch yourself eating in front of the computer. (this is mine)
  • Catch yourself eating during TV commercials.
  • Catch yourself swearing.
  • Catch yourself making rude comments.
  • Catch yourself judging others.
  • Catch yourself yelling at bad drivers.
  • Catch yourself lighting up that cigarette.

It is up to you to address your negative and perhaps even destructive habits. You do have a choice. Use the Rubber Band Technique as a visual and physical reminder to help you choose a new action, reaction, thought, belief or behavior.

"They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." Andy Warhol

Action Challenge
Steps to changing a negative behavior.

  1. Find a rubber band that fits loosely around your wrist.
  2. Decide on the behavior you want to change.
  3. Decide what positive behavior you are going to replace for the negative behavior.
  4. Every time you find yourself engaging in the behavior you want to change, snap the rubber band and remind yourself that you have chosen a new behavior.

Copyright 2006 Creative Life Coaching


"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy

"Things do not change, we change" Henry David Thoreau


Anonymous said...

thanks it helped me stop self harming.

RuthA said...

Thanks for this "trick", Kathy...
something so simple yet so effective.

JoRehovot said...

I tried this but I think I need something more, or maybe it will take a long time to break the bad habits. Yesterday I launched into a whole diatribe about someone and didn't think about it at all until this morning, when I suddenly realized what I had done, and felt bad.

Kathy Atkinson, EFTCert-I said...

You can use EFT meridian tapping to help remind yourself to notice the bad habit in the moment.

Tap and repeat...Even though I can't seem to catch myself before it is too late, next time I expect my subconscious mind to get my attention and help me stop the behavior in the moment.

Reminder phase: I can't seem to catch myself in the moment. Next time it will be easy.

I hope that helps create a shift.

Sophie said...

There is a website called: The Rubberband Method and it talks all about the rubberband method and has an official rubber band specifically made just for the rubber band method. It's a great tool! I love it.