Episode 252 Nina Szewczak Change Your Mindset Change Your Life Transcript
This transcript is from episode 252 with guest Nina Szewczak.
Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Nina, Szewczak. I knew I was gonna put Butcher that name, so I had to ask her before But Nina, yeah. Nina’s experience and education combined over 17 years of work and study in the realm of transformation and change leadership and management amongst many other areas.
Scott DeLuzio: And she’s completely reinvented her life a couple times now, which I’m sure we’re gonna talk about in just a minute here. But she’s here to help you and me learn how to. The best of worst situations that might happen in our lives. So take the reins and [00:01:00] maximize the experiences that we have even the bad ones.
Scott DeLuzio: And so with that, welcome to the show, Nina. I’m glad to have you here.
Nina Szewczak: Thank you so much, Scott. I’m so excited to be here.
Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background.
Nina Szewczak: Well, my background, as you mentioned, is in transformation and change, and I’m currently studying psychology and neuroscience of mental health.
Nina Szewczak: I am very passionate about the power of the mind and the power of humans, which I believe is infinite. So I’m studying it all the time. I have reinvented my life completely twice. So twice I started with a blank page and decided I’m going to create something completely different to what I knew and what I created in the past.
Nina Szewczak: And now I am sharing a lot of my experience and my skills by working with people and helping them, especially overcoming adversity. So overcoming situations that are traumatic that have got potential to, you know, give us wounds that we then carry for the rest of our. And my passion is to make sure that we move on from those situations [00:02:00] with wisdom and not with wounds.
Nina Szewczak: And we don’t allow those situations to brand us to the point where they influence or dictate the rest of our lives. And
Scott DeLuzio: that is amazing because so many times this. Type of thing happens where we have a negative, a traumatic experience and that just becomes a part of our identity and who we are.
Scott DeLuzio: And we can’t seem to get past that trauma and it holds us back from achieving bigger and better things in our lives and making the best of the situation that we’ve been presented. And so I’m really excited to get into this conversation and learn more about your story and how you were able to basically transform your life twice now through different adversities and things that had taken place in your life.
Scott DeLuzio: So this podcast focuses on helping military veterans and their families who might be struggling [00:03:00] from different stuff that’s happened in their lives. Obviously you don’t have that same military connection, the military background, but some of the lessons that you’ve learned in your own life are I think, Probably universal from what I’ve learned about you so far which is why I wanted to have you here.
Scott DeLuzio: And thinking about the military veterans, there are a lot of setbacks. When we deploy. There could be friends who are injured or killed in action could be injured ourselves. At home there’s a much higher rate of divorce. Than amongst the civilian population. There’s a big number of things that could take place.
Scott DeLuzio: And we usually don’t go into a sit situation like a marriage thinking that it’s going to fail, thinking like, yes, I’m gonna go get married to this person knowing that a year from now or two years from now, I’m gonna be divorced and it’s gonna be a complete wreck. How can we make the most of these experiences to better ourselves? And maybe if you could share some of your own personal experience in this and how we can bounce back and be better off after these situations.
Nina Szewczak: Definitely and like you said, although that, you know, maybe my background [00:04:00] is slightly different to majority of your audience, but I have gone through the same things that are universal to us as humans, so have experienced death and trauma divorce and adversities in all sorts of ways.
Nina Szewczak: And it is, Because our minds are a record of the past, and our minds tend to focus on the past and keep going back over the, over our memories. We basically live in our past. So unless you take control of your mind and change that you constantly be dragged back into what was and like you said, none of us ever go into a situation and think, oh, I’m gonna get married to this person knowing that I will get divorce.
Nina Szewczak: Of course, we get into situations and we think, we hope, we dream that this is it, that we’re going to spend our lives together, or, you know, we’re going to spend a long time doing whatever we choose to do, whether that’s a career or some passions and so on. And then things happen. And then that may lead to disappointment.
Nina Szewczak: And if you allow your mind to be in charge of you, then the mind will drag you constantly into the memories and you’ll be living in your past, which isn’t very [00:05:00] helpful. . And I feel like very often, especially now in the kind of, you know, in the world of social media, we see things like, oh, change your thoughts, change your life, and it, and everyone thinks yeah, that’s true.
Nina Szewczak: And then you keep scrolling and you do the same thing over and over again and you don’t actually change your thoughts and you don’t change your life. But it’s also not as simple, I feel like. There is a simplified version of everything in the kind of artificial world of social media where it just says, change your mind, change your thoughts, change your life.
Nina Szewczak: But how do you change your thoughts, right? Like that is the key because you have got a set of conscious thoughts, which is about 5% of our brain, and then a 95% is actually subconscious thoughts. And that’s the autopilot that we’re on. That’s what we install. In our minds over the years. So unless you change that, well the 5% is never gonna win over the 95 that’s running you on the daily.
Nina Szewczak: And I think a big part of our lives is identity, right? Over the years, we create identity. You have identity at school, you have [00:06:00] identity. When you start your career, then you know you have got identity when you are an adult. And then when things happen, you suddenly think, okay. What does that mean?
Nina Szewczak: Like, I’m gonna lose my identity because I’m no longer in that marriage, or I’m no longer in that career, and so on. And I had to go through it twice also, whilst I ripped everything apart. And I also had a career that was 17 years within one company, and I knew myself and saw myself as Nina from the company I worked for.
Nina Szewczak: And everyone saw me as that too. That was not a huge part of my identity. And then when I decided, when my life basically completely fell apart, I decided that needs to go as well. Since everything is falling apart, I’m just going to, I’m gonna look at my identity and think what did I create over the years and what is still true and what perhaps was true at some point.
Nina Szewczak: But then I just kept playing that role because it became part of the external identity. But [00:07:00] actually it either wasn’t serving me or it was irrelevant by now. But you feel like you need to play that character in a way. Because that’s what everyone expects you to do, and that’s what to a point you expect yourself to do or to be.
Nina Szewczak: So that identity, I feel is a massive part. So it’s is looking at who you are at the core and when things happen and you are changing or you’re going through transition or you’re transforming, it’s going back. You know, going back to the core and be like, what is at the heart and what is at the mind of like who I really am and who do I want to become?
Nina Szewczak: Because you don’t need to carry the same identity for the rest of your life. In fact, like with every adversity, or every bad thing or every trauma that happens, I see as an opportunity to reflect and think who do I want to become next and what’s coming with me to the future and to the future me, and what needs to stay in the past.
Scott DeLuzio: Sure. And with any traumatic experience or [00:08:00] adversity that takes place in a way, it’s going to change you. And I think that is somewhat unov unavoidable, but the way you look at it is it could change you for the better or it could change you for the worse. And the, that’s a choice that you need to make.
Scott DeLuzio: You have to think hard about what it is, like you said, that you want to carry with you and what you wanna leave behind. And even the iden identity issue that you were talking about. Like, who, who am I at this point? You know, you were Nina who worked for this company, and then that all got kind of turned around and you had to look at yourself in a different way.
Scott DeLuzio: And I see a lot of military service members going through that transformation several times in their life, no matter how long their military career is because, I mean, like anybody else they grow up. They’re children, they’re teenagers. They go through high school and they decide to join the military at some point after that.
Scott DeLuzio: [00:09:00] That could be young when they’re 17 or 18 years old or a little bit older. But at some point they go from being a civilian to a service member in the military, and there’s a transformation there. They’re leaving a part of who they were behind to become this new thing. This. Person that this character that they’ve developed in their own mind.
Scott DeLuzio: And then at some point after that, they are going to leave the military and there’s gonna be another transformation because now they’re going into this unknown world of becoming a veteran, and now they’re no longer in the military. That identity that they had for however long it was. But now they have to figure out how to not be that anymore.
Scott DeLuzio: And so, you know, going through all of these transformations in your own life, what would be some advice that you might have for people who are going through these transformations? Knowing that these transformations are going to take place.
Nina Szewczak: Absolutely. And that, you know, they happen to us or whether we like or not.
Nina Szewczak: And [00:10:00] sometimes, you know, that, you know, there is a lifespan of a career and then you’ll be transitioning. And sometimes things happen, like in my case, literally just after midnight on New Year’s Eve, and I like my life completely for about, surprisingly to me. So things will happen regardless.
Nina Szewczak: And I think the biggest thing is you always have a. You have a choice to either get better or get better. So you can, that experience can either brand you to a point where you become better and you constantly go back over, or back in the day it was better. Or you can use the wisdom and the experience and everything that you had learned to create something better used as a foundation for your future.
Nina Szewczak: You always have a choice to go with fear of the unknown. or choose courage over fear and be like, you know, transformation is uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable. Of course, cuz our minds always want to bring us to the familiar, and the familiar is in the comfort zone. So anything that is changed it because it’s [00:11:00] unknown, it feels scary.
Nina Szewczak: Therefore, you know, your fear will be, screaming in your ears. So you need to choose courage over fear. But that’s always a choice, just like getting better or better. So the decisions for me are key, but the other thing is you can see something as an end. So career coming to an end or some identity coming to an end.
Nina Szewczak: Well, you are still you still are having this experience on an incredible planet with so much opportunity. How can you use this transition as a foundation? And basically it’s like, when I was talking to one of my clients she said, it’s basically like climbing up a mountain. This is what we were talking about.
Nina Szewczak: And she was like, you know, you, if there is two peaks, you don’t carry your full backpack with everything in it to the second one because it will be too heavy. So some staff you need to. The first one, right? It, they played the role. You used them for whatever was needed, but then to the final bit, you have [00:12:00] to leave some things behind, otherwise you won’t be able to climb it because it’ll be too heavy, too hard, whatever.
Nina Szewczak: And I thought that was a quite good analogy. So you need to think like, okay, with this transition. What is coming with me and what is, you know, what needs to stay in the past. And that’s not to say that you ignore your past. Not to say that you’re not grateful for it, the opposite. In fact, you look back at your past with gratitude for everything that you know, for the experiences that it brought, because ultimately shaped you to who you are right now.
Nina Szewczak: But then some stuff just need to stay because if it doesn’t, you’ll constantly be leaving in the past and. Whatever happened. So for example, my own personal story, when my life fell apart on New Year’s Eve, people would tell me, oh, you know, it’s gonna take you two or three years to get over it. And I understand where this is coming from because the psychological average of a divorce for the length of relationship that I had with my now ex-husband.
Nina Szewczak: It was exactly that, two or three years to be able to [00:13:00] move on. And then people would be like, oh, this will be a new chapter. And I thought to myself, do I really want to invest two or three years of my life, of my time, of my emotions into something that no longer now exists? Okay. I didn’t choose it.
Nina Szewczak: It was out of my control. But regardless of that, it didn’t exist. I couldn’t go back and change the time, turn back time. I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t do anything. All I could do, and all any of us can ever do is be in control of ourselves. We we create this illusion that we can control so much more in our lives than we actually do.
Nina Szewczak: But the only control you really have is self-control. So in that moment when it was like, oh my god, I had my ferta life and now it doesn’t exist anymore. Out of the blue, what am I gonna do? And people are saying it’s gonna be two or three years. I had the choice to make, I can take the two or three years and give myself that time and think, okay, you know, my life fell apart.
Nina Szewczak: Why me? How am I gonna [00:14:00] move on? Or, And it doesn’t matter that it hurt like hell and it did, but still I had the choice to say, I am not going to give the situation that has already happened and I cannot change two or three years of my life because that’s another two or three years of my time on this.
Nina Szewczak: Planet, I’m investing in something that no longer is, it already happened and I cannot change it. So the best thing I can do is to figure out how am I gonna move on from it much quicker? And how am I gonna use it to get better and not get better, and not become someone who doesn’t trust, who is cynical, who is, you know, angry at the world and so on.
Nina Szewczak: How can I use this as a foundation for something better for the future rather than feeling? I had my photo and it fell apart. Clearly. My life is rubbish now. Well, if that’s the view, what am I gonna create? I’m not gonna create anything good because I’m just gonna be sitting here and feeling bad about what happened.
Nina Szewczak: Well, okay, what [00:15:00] happened was bad. By rehearse in the past, which no longer exists, I’m not creating any better future. So what if I think about the future and who do I want to become? What identity do I want to create and what life do I want to create? And rehearse that instead of rehearse in the past over and over again.
Nina Szewczak: So to me it’s like, is that decision is key of like, will you decide to get better or will you decide to get better? Will you decide to choose courage or will you allow your fear to stop you from creating something new? These are very important to me
Scott DeLuzio: And it is important and I think to some extent it is okay.
Scott DeLuzio: To have those emotions that, that feeling, sad, feeling, upset, feeling what conflicting emotions that you might have over whatever it is that’s going on. But I think the point is to not let it last the two or three years. Like in your case, people are saying, oh, it’s gonna take you two or three years before you, you get over this if you ever [00:16:00] really get over something like that.
Scott DeLuzio: Right. But in your case, You’re like, well, why does it have to be two, two or three years? Why can’t it be, you know, two or three days a week or, you know, whatever and then move on and continue Working towards a better future as opposed to putting it off that much longer. You know, our, for all of us, we all have a certain amount of time here on Earth and once when that time’s up there, there’s nothing else that you can do, all that control that you had over yourself is now gone.
Scott DeLuzio: You don’t have that control anymore cuz we’re not here anymore. And so if you waste some of that time, then it doesn’t help anything. It doesn’t help you get to a. Destination. So, so I guess it all sounds great, but how do we do this? How do we is it a self-control kind of thing? How do we make our minds, you know, almost bulletproof to these kind of setbacks and other tragedies that might take place so that we can then choose the [00:17:00] happiness over the bitterness that these wounds, that these things that happen to us can create.
Nina Szewczak: Of course, and I’m glad you mentioned about the emotions and feeling them, because that’s very important as well. Like this process isn’t about ignoring your emotions. They’ll be like, you know, move on with it. This is an attitude that I grew up with. In fact, when I was going for a quite traumatic time at the age of 16, when someone very close.
Nina Szewczak: Passed away in an accident and the attitude had been, well, you are lucky that you weren’t in the car with them. Move on. And that, you know, it definitely isn’t the right advice. But that was how I grew up and that was the approach back then. But it’s not really that helpful. So, you know, feeling the emotions is massive part and going through this that you will be going through, you know, the grief cycle really.
Nina Szewczak: Like, because it, and it, the grief cycle isn’t just connected to someone actually dying. Like if your marriage falls apart, you will be going through the grief cycle. Because you will [00:18:00] be in denial. You will be in shock. You then, you know, you will go through all the stages because ultimately you will grieving the dreams that you had that are now no longer going to happen.
Nina Szewczak: You, you grieve in the relationship that you thought will last for the rest of your life, but that’s now not going to happen. So you have to allow yourself to feel this and it is uncomfortable and you have. Sit in the pain. Like I sat in the pain to a point where I thought, I can’t take even one more second, but I knew I had to do this and go through this process diligently because if I don’t, it’s gonna come back at some point and it’s gonna bite me back in the bun because I haven’t processed it.
Nina Szewczak: And do I really want any of the emotions from my past to be in my future? Do I want them to be featuring in my next relationships? Do I want to always be scared? Being able to trust. No, I don’t want that. I want experience that, you know, allows me to trust people and be happy and so on. In order to do this, you have to go through the cycle.
Nina Szewczak: And you [00:19:00] have to, you know, you like the thing is that as much as we can tell ourselves, so I’m not gonna think about this. Well, if you tell yourself, I’m not gonna think about chocolate, well, guess what? You’re gonna think about chocolate. Right? You like your mind, even though it’s capable of thinking of like end listings.
Nina Szewczak: The minute you tell yourself, don’t think about. That’s all they can think about. And it’s not gonna help you think of another topic because it can’t, it’s like it, so, so it’s important to know that it’s okay to have those emotions, and it’s good to have the emotions, but it’s not allowing them. To drive your actions because our thoughts are driving our emotions and vice versa.
Nina Szewczak: And then our emotions are driving the chemicals our body producers. So if you think about something that’s causing you to be stressed, then of course you’re feeling stressed and then your body produces the chemicals of stress. And then, you know, if you do that day, the day out, then at some point you will become ill.
Nina Szewczak: Cause the immune system cannot cope with the stress that’s in your body the whole time. [00:20:00] You know, in order to be able to control it, you need to start becoming more self-aware and that self-awareness is paramount in the whole process. So it’s becoming aware of your thoughts and becoming aware of your emotions without having to react to them for ages.
Nina Szewczak: So what I mean by it is when I started to observe myself, and I’ve always considered myself as someone very positive, very resilient. I’ve been through so much in life. I didn’t think there was much that can knock. Life had proved me wrong, of course. But I always thought, you know, I’m just such a positive person.
Nina Szewczak: And then when I started to analyze like what my feelings and my thoughts every day and observe them, I discovered that I spent so much of my day, every day feeling frustrated and feeling angry from silly things that didn’t really matter, but because that’s how I grew up and that’s how. Behaved for years and years.
Nina Szewczak: It just became part of who I was. So I didn’t even notice [00:21:00] anymore that I was frustrated or angry. It was just who knew I was. And then when I observed it, I thought, oh my gosh. For someone who thinks that they’re so positive, I spend a lot of time feeling angry or frustrated. So then once you have the awareness that gives you the power to change and that change, it really is a transformation that happens for life.
Nina Szewczak: So right now, like of course I will still. And of course I still sometimes get angry or I get frustrated, but a, I get less angry or frustrated or less often. And when I don’t linger in those emotions for ages like I would in the past. So that self-awareness gives you the power to control. Yes.
Nina Szewczak: Feel those emotions, but also observe them where coming from, what’s really driving them. And do you really want to feel like. Like, do you really want to feel angry or frustrated or stressed or worried all the time? None of us want that, but in order to stop that, we to first become aware of the emotions that we live by and then change them to more positive ones.
Nina Szewczak: Because if we could train ourselves to be angrier [00:22:00] and frustrated, most of the time we can certainly train ourselves to be happy more of the time. But it’s also understanding. The thinking and the feeling is one thing, but there is also biochemical processes that are happening in within our body.
Nina Szewczak: So for example, you know, if your marriage falls apart, the process of disillusionment takes about 90 days for the brain. To actually register. So what happens is, and what really hurts is the fact that up until now your mind, cuz our minds plan our future based on our past. So, so the mind thinks, obviously the partner that you are with will be there in a year to five, 10 years and suddenly that road is closed.
Nina Szewczak: And the mind cannot get it because how, like forever it’s been planning your future with this person, and now this person is no longer be there. And that’s how you can’t imagine how you’re gonna get over this. You can’t think, well, how am I gonna survive this? What’s life gonna look like?
Nina Szewczak: Because the mind is not yet [00:23:00] capable in the initial stages. To think of the alternative route and be like, okay, that road is close. There will be another way, there will be, you know, there will be a different life and whatever. Like initially it is a shock and because the mind is not used to thinking about the future without this person, you feel like you have no idea what’s going on, how you are going to get through it.
Nina Szewczak: And it hurts. And it hurts like hell and it’s not a nice experience. But even having this knowledge, you know, okay, nine, I’ve given myself 90. And I was like, within the 90 days, I’m gonna sit in the pain, I’m gonna feel the emotions. I’m not gonna make any decisions. Because they will be driven by the denial, by the shock, by, you know, not by any sort of thinking about the future, wherever.
Nina Szewczak: They’ll just be driven by kneejerk reaction. So to give the time to find, to get used to the. And give yourself the time to be like, this is rubbish. And it feels horrendous. It does. It really does. But you can move on from it. And then within that time, you [00:24:00] observe your thoughts, you observe your emotions, and then you start to see, okay, this is how I am feeling right now.
Nina Szewczak: This are my predominant thoughts. What do I want them to be in the future? And that’s the moment when you start the transformation. Once you are aware, then you can decide. And once you. You can start choosing, you know, either fear or courage or getting better or still feeling better and so on. But you need to further emotions and you need to have those thoughts, but you just need to become very aware of them to then have the power to change them.
Nina Szewczak: Otherwise they’ll run you like the autopilot because you don’t even know that. Is that just like, I didn’t know I lived by the emotion of frustration or anger
Scott DeLuzio: In a weird way, the. The emotions that you are feeling, the sadness, the anger, the guilt, the shame, whatever it is that you’re feeling, it almost becomes comfortable when you’re in that moment.
Scott DeLuzio: I mean, it’s not comfortable cuz although those things [00:25:00] are negative, but it’s hard to break out and do the thing that makes you. To change your thinking to more positive thoughts it that’s almost more uncomfortable than it is to be in that negative emotion. So maybe for someone who has already experienced this type of situation in their life and they are frustrated that they aren’t able, Get over it and change their way of thinking and become self-aware of their emotions and their thoughts.
Scott DeLuzio: Is there anything you would suggest to help them start creating more positive, happy thoughts and start planning for better things in their future?
Nina Szewczak: Definitely, and it is true that it is more comfortable because it is the familiar, right? You remind and your body will always crave the familiar and your body gets [00:26:00] addicted to the emotions that you live by.
Nina Szewczak: Just like we get addicted to coughing or you know, cigarettes or alcohol or various other things, the body gets addicted to the emotions that we feel because it gets addicted to the chemicals that the emotions are creating. So if you are living by the emotions of anger or stress or frustration, For however many years, your body’s not gonna suddenly be like, Hey Scott, you feeling great today?
Nina Szewczak: This feels so good. It’s gonna go hello. I’ve been feeling stressed for 30 years. Like I’m missing this emotion. And it gets your mind to start thinking about something. They’ll bring back that emotion cuz it’s craving it now, right? Just like you crave the next cigarette, if you smoke or you crave a drink or whatever, it, we get addicted.
Nina Szewczak: And so, so it’s not easy to, then suddenly you don’t wake up the next day and be like, oh, I’m a different person. I created different personality and I’m feeling great. It just doesn’t happen overnight. Just like the addiction to the current emotions didn’t happen overnight. Like we installed it over years and years.[00:27:00]
Nina Szewczak: So the thing is, if someone has already been through this is like, first of all, be aware that you are not, you know, your mind and your body are not there to run the show like, Very often people don’t realize, you know, people hear like, oh, you are not, your thoughts sounds very fairy or whatever. You are not like you.
Nina Szewczak: You don’t have to believe your thoughts. Most of the time, our thoughts, our beliefs are not true. They’re just, you know, the beliefs are just thoughts that we think over and over again until it becomes of a belief and the thoughts that install in our brains. I just thought that we’ve been thinking day in, day out, heard the same things all the time, and.
Nina Szewczak: They become the autopilot. So it’s not actually that it’s true. It’s not even that you really believe in it, but unless you become aware of it, it will run your day just like it did yesterday and the day before yesterday. So if someone has already been through this process and they’re feeling like, you know, I can’t go over it.
Nina Szewczak: And I actually read a blog last week and I can’t remember, I can’t give credit cause I can’t remember whose blog [00:28:00] it was that they felt. Their depression became that familiar zone that they almost went back to on purpose cuz it felt like them. So then it made them feel like, oh, you know, I am depressed so I can get away with this.
Nina Szewczak: Like, it became just a familiar thing. It became part of identity and personality. So it wasn’t about the depression anymore, it was about the feeling and the craving that, okay, well this is, this feels like me because I’m feeling depressed and that’s my personality now. So for someone who’s struggling with.
Nina Szewczak: like, first of all, is yeah, realize that what’s in your head is not necessarily true or not necessarily right. It’s just what you installed in it. And you need to really, you need to become the master of your mind. Otherwise you are the servant to your brain. And if you allow your brain to run the show for you, it’s always gonna run it towards the negative, and it’s always gonna run it in the past because that’s all it.
Nina Szewczak: So you need to show a new horizons. So in order to show a new horizons and take it out of the comfort zone is looking for things that, you know, what [00:29:00] looking for the things that would make you feel different. So what sort of emotions would you like to live by in the future? For me, very important thing is creating that anchor.
Nina Szewczak: So, so I’m here today, but actually in the future, I want my life to be filled with more positive emotions, with more joy, more peace, more bliss, whatever. Whatever it is that people want. Well, if I want to live by those emotions, who do I need to become in order to have more of those emotions? And then the daily work starts of becoming more self-aware and ev and every time I catch myself, you know, going back to the past or going to the negative, I go, Uhuh, no, thank you so much Brian for giving this to me, but actually I choose to do something else.
Nina Szewczak: But here it like going back to the don’t think about chocolate example. All you’re gonna think about is chocolate is you need to create sub. So once you identify that you know your mind is negative because of something that has happened in the past, or because it can see that the future can be more positive than anything that you’ve [00:30:00] had before, you need to create a substitute.
Nina Szewczak: So for me, for example, When I was going through this, the toughest time and my mind would feed me with scenarios from the past and ridiculous scenarios of my ex-husband and things I didn’t wanna think about. I would go for a walk with the dogs, for example, and I’m thinking, what do I have for dinner?
Nina Szewczak: So I choose to think. My options, what I’m gonna cook. And then suddenly out of nowhere, in my mind, I’m having these crazy scenarios that I don’t really wanna think about. So this is my subconscious mind starting to drive me. So in those moments, I would think I would have a substitute. So it couldn’t go back to, oh no.
Nina Szewczak: Let’s think more about directs and what happened. I would say, actually, I choose to think about a project for work I was working on, or the future that I was trying to. Or whatever else, but unless you have that substitute, your mind is gonna drive you into the negative, into the worst case scenario, into some crazy stuff that are not even real.
Nina Szewczak: They’re not even real, or you can’t [00:31:00] even prove that they’re real. You know? It just imagines things. Emergence negative things. So the substitute is really key because what you need to do is get the negative thoughts out. So I call it like, you know, mind scaping, you have to get rid of some weeds and plant new seeds, right?
Nina Szewczak: And that takes time. But you know, if you get rid of weeds, And get rid of the negative thoughts that creates a space for the new seeds to be planted. And that’s where the substitute talks come in. So don’t think about chocolate. When you start thinking about chocolate, you go, Uhuh, no thank you very much.
Nina Szewczak: Actually, I choose to think about, I dunno, sparkling water. Silly example. But you get a point. But that is very important. Otherwise your mind will always go back in the same circles and the same things. And why did it? , none of that is gonna help because whatever happened has already happened,
Scott DeLuzio: right?
Scott DeLuzio: And I, I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And in this case, if you’re thinking the same thoughts over and over again and [00:32:00] wondering to yourself, why am I not getting any happier? Well, it’s kind of crazy to think that you’re gonna get happier with the same negative thoughts and negative beliefs and everything that are fueling.
Scott DeLuzio: Unhappy ness that you’re going through. So, you know, I think what you’re saying make makes a lot of sense. Sometimes it’s easier said than done Sometimes. I think with some people they’re gonna need some help to push themselves through there. That, that, that. Willpower that they may have on their own.
Scott DeLuzio: Maybe maybe not good enough. Maybe they need somebody to help them get through this on, you know, in, in certain circumstances. Other cases they may be able to do, what you did. And you know, just be able to say, okay, no, I’m not going to think this way. I’m going to just force myself to say no, I’m not thinking these negative thoughts and beliefs and everything.
Scott DeLuzio: I’m going to focus on the positive. I’m gonna change. The conversation that’s going on in my brain to make it go from that negative thing that’s hurting [00:33:00] me to something much more positive that is going to help me and push me in a different direction. And I am. Certain, absolutely certain that at first it’s not going to be easy to make those changes.
Scott DeLuzio: And your mind, again, is gonna wanna slip back to that negative mindset because again, it’s familiar and it’s comfortable because it’s familiar. But the more you push yourself into that more positive way of thinking, the more that will become comfortable and the more likely that will become your default setting.
Scott DeLuzio: You start having thoughts and beliefs about yourself or a situation where you’ll just start to believe the positive things and not believe the negative things.
Nina Szewczak: Right? Absolutely. And I think it, it comes down to the point of do you want to feel like you’re feeling right now or do you want to feel better, right?
Nina Szewczak: Because. Like you said, it is insanity to keep doing the same things and expecting different results. [00:34:00] So if we, so our thoughts drive our emotions drive our behaviors drive our actions and our actions create the experiences that we have and the experiences that we have create the overall experience we call life, right?
Nina Szewczak: So if you constantly at the same thoughts that drive the same emotions, that drive the same actions and behaviors and create the same experie. Well, if you think I’m gonna start from tomorrow or I’ll give myself two or three. Yes. Well, you gonna have another period of time where you’re feeling like you’re feeling right now, and since we’re having this conversation, I take it, you want a different feeling or you don’t want to live by negative emotions and you know you want to maximize your time on this planet and, you know, be happy and do something really good with your time, then you need to change and every second and really, like tomorrow’s never promised.
Nina Szewczak: So the only time we have got is right now. . So every moment is an opportunity to choose, and every moment is an opportunity to choose something different and either choose, you know, the [00:35:00] comfort of the past and feeling like you’re feeling right now, or choose to say No enough. I’m gonna create something different.
Nina Szewczak: And it is not easy, of course, at the start, especially because of all the autopilots, because of all the routines, because of the habitual thoughts that we have and the habital emotions and so on. But just like all of that got installed over the years, like now, it will take a little bit of time to change it.
Nina Szewczak: However, what do you want more? Do you want more feeling like you were feeling and feeling you know, the emotions of some traumatic experiences? Or do you want more feeling of peace and feeling of happiness and feeling of more love? Well, if you want feeling of happiness, more love, kindness, care, whatever.
Nina Szewczak: Then you can’t think what you’re thinking and behave like you’re behaving right now. You need to change it, and you have the power to change it. Like you have the power to change it. And of course, some experiences are so traumatic. It takes a little bit more time, but ultimately it all comes down to the fact still that you need to take the reigns of your mind.
Nina Szewczak: Like if you [00:36:00] allow your mind to run the show for you, it’s not gonna create anything different. It’s gonna constantly repeat the same scenarios and the same things. . And that’s not gonna help you to create a different life that’s not gonna help you to create a different identity. And I always say never be afraid to go and get professional help.
Nina Szewczak: Like throughout my life, I’ve always worked with coaches, with therapists, with mentors, with academics, and I constantly study and I constantly do things because I want my brain not to be stuck where it is, but I wanna push the. and show her that it can trust me to know what I want and not feel like it needs to be scared and constantly bring me back to the past because it feels familiar.
Nina Szewczak: And all of us have got the power. And this is sometimes I hear, you know, people will say, which is really lovely and I’m very grateful for us. You’re such an inspiration. You’ll feel as you have so much courage. But, and that’s lovely. But I am no different to. Like I’m normal, special, I don’t have any superpowers.
Nina Szewczak: I don’t have a bigger or better brain or whatever. Like we all have that power within [00:37:00] us. And you know, some of us go through better experiences, some of us go through worse experiences and so on, but all of us have still got the same power and the same choice every day. So how we create our lives is within our control.
Nina Szewczak: And yes, there are some. That are uncontrollable like situations that are outside of us, but the world within you, which is the most important world, is in your power. So you know you can, because for me, because when I created both of my lives, I ended up being in completely different countries. People think, oh, you can just move somewhere, and that helps.
Nina Szewczak: Maybe it helps, but really, you know, it is a tiny percentage. Removing yourself from the environment that has some obvious triggers. Triggers will obviously help. However, unless you sort out your external world, I could be on the moon and I could be miserable. I could still be sad, I could be heartbroken, I could be bitter, I could, you know, I could have still be, have [00:38:00] so many wounds that I can’t move on, and it doesn’t matter where I am or who I am with or what am I doing?
Nina Szewczak: I’m still sad. So, The point is that when your internal world is in order, when you have really worked on your mind, on your emotions and on who you want to become, and you do that daily, then it doesn’t matter whether you are in the same environment or different environment, cuz your internal environment is in order.
Nina Szewczak: And that’s the key. You know, I often see people say, oh, it’s my boss, or it’s this. So it’s that. That is the issue. This is what drives me crazy. Those things may be triggers, but it’s you who’s driving yourself crazy, right? Just like no one can make you feel happy. You make yourself feel happy, like we generate the emotions.
Nina Szewczak: The emotions that we generate don’t come from outside. They come from within. They come from our thoughts. So yes, they may be connected to someone or something, or experience that you were having, but ultimately, You know, is you thinking about that car or that person or the experience and the [00:39:00] thoughts that you are having that is creating happiness or the opposite?
Nina Szewczak: It is whatever thoughts you are having that is creating sadness or, you know, feeling devastated and so on. So the internal world drives everything. That’s why when people are like, oh, you know, this person’s midlife crisis. They’re buying a new car and buy a new house and whoever. Well that never leads to happiness, cuz once you got the car and the initial, you know, excitement was off, you suddenly feel, oh, I need the house.
Nina Szewczak: Then you get the house and that didn’t tick the box and then there’s something else. So you’re constantly on a hand for something else, because what you’re doing is you’re trying to fix what’s missing inside with external stuff. So really when it starts with your thoughts, . That’s where we need to, that’s where we need to look.
Nina Szewczak: And I, I feel so frustrated sometimes where I hear people like, you need to eat well for your body to be good. I get it. And you need, you know, you need to go for a walk and you need to sleep. I get it. I get it all, and this is over helpful. But really [00:40:00] fundamentally, unless you sort out your thoughts, you can eat well and sleep well.
Nina Szewczak: But if you wake up and you start to think that you are unhappy, that you know, life is hard. That everything is difficult and the world is a bad place. All the food in the world and all the sleep in the world is not gonna help you because you are living by emotions are negative and you’re creating chemicals of stress and that’s gonna lead to illness even if you eat well.
Nina Szewczak: So that, yeah. Yeah, and
Scott DeLuzio: It was interesting Earlier you had mentioned how some of these chemicals that exist in your brain, that the, from stress and everything else, are things that you actually do sort of become addicted to. And like you may become addicted to cigarettes or alcohol or other substances.
Scott DeLuzio: Your body might actually start to crave some of this. That makes it that much harder to overcome some of this, but just like any other chemical addiction that you [00:41:00] might have via alcohol or tobacco or anything else, you can overcome it’s not easy all the time. I mean, for some people it’s easier than others, but it may not be easy, but you can overcome it and you can get yourself to a point where you are.
Scott DeLuzio: Not totally dependent on that. And you create a new, almost a new dependence on the other chemicals happier chemicals in your brain that now you want more of that, and you start craving that and you start chasing after that and you, by association with that, you’ll create a better, happier.
Nina Szewczak: Hundred percent. And it is like, you know, when you wanna buy a red car, for example, what do you do? You suddenly start seeing red cars everywhere, right? Or if you wanna buy a specific brand of a car, suddenly you start seeing more and more of those cars. Is there more and more of them on the road out of the blue?
Nina Szewczak: No. They’ve always been there. You just didn’t pay any attention to them, therefore you [00:42:00] didn’t see them as much. And this is how our brains work as well. So if you are thinking something negative, your brain isn’t suddenly gonna. Oh, Scott, let’s think about Pretty Flower. It’s gonna give you more negative thoughts, right?
Nina Szewczak: Because you are already in that realm. It’s just gonna continue to feed you with more thoughts that within within that realm. And then that obviously will generate similar emotions. It doesn’t go to the opposite, but if you start, you know, if you consciously start to think, okay, my brain is going towards a negative, so I choose to think about something that makes you feel happy, I don’t know.
Nina Szewczak: Painting, playing golf, whatever it is that makes you feel happy and you start switching this, then your brain gets trained to start seeing more positives, just like it suddenly sees more red cars or that brand of a car that you really want. . So the more you do this and the more you help your brain, and this is how I see you, you are, you have to be the master of your mind.
Nina Szewczak: You have to help it. And in order to help it, you don’t just let it run off [00:43:00] and do what it wants. You say no. Come back. Come back. I see that you’re going, you know, to the left. And I want you to think about. Something better. And the more you do that, the more the brain gets trained to start seeing the positives.
Nina Szewczak: To start. Look out looking out for the red cars or whatever it is that you want to think about. And the more you think the positives, the more positive thoughts it will start to feed you and the more positive emotions that will drive. So, As much as I, I totally understand that there’s so many things that happen in life that really can, you know, there can be life changing, not in a positive way in terms of experience, but really do you really want to spend the rest of your life feeling sad because of something that you cannot change and don’t have control over?
Nina Szewczak: Like, I often hear, especially with Covid, people are saying, you know, it is sad because they lost someone close and so on, and, but what’s the best thing that you can do? You can’t bring their life back, unfortunately, as much as we would all love to do that. But the best thing you can do is go on and live the best life that you can in their [00:44:00] memory because they didn’t have that chance.
Nina Szewczak: So you being sad and miserable is not gonna help their experience and it’s ruining your experience. It’s the same when sometimes people are feeling, you know, you feel sorry for other people or you know, people that maybe have less than us or are less privileged, but you not having your lunch because someone in another country cannot afford lunch, isn’t helping them and isn’t helping you.
Nina Szewczak: So what’s the best thing that you can do? The best thing is that you look after yourself. You live your best life, and you use the energy and the positive energy that you are creating, and a positive experience that you’re creating to help others. Because if you don’t eat your lunch in solidarity with someone else who cannot have.
Nina Szewczak: You are not helping them. You are just creating a negative experience for yourself. I’m gonna run yourself into the ground and that makes two people who cannot have good experience. Whereas if you look after yourself and look after your mind and you are, you become an example for others and you can help others because you [00:45:00] have the experience, you have the strength, you have the energy.
Nina Szewczak: And you have the possibility, well, that’s how we can help the world. We don’t help the world by, you know, having, creating a negative experience. Two negatives, don’t make one positive. Right. So the best you can do to help others is become a good example.
Scott DeLuzio: Well, I love how you, you put that and I think that’s a maybe a great place to wrap up this episode, but I want to give you the opportunity to let people know where they can go to get in touch with you, find out more about yourself and the things that you do.
Nina Szewczak: Absolutely. I’m all over the place. , literally all over the world. So people can find me via my website, which is the midlife revolution.com. You can email me at [email protected] I’m also on Instagram and Nina underscore the midlife revolut. . I’m also on Facebook and LinkedIn under Nina, S Z E W C Z A K Szewczak for obviously anyone who doesn’t know how to pronounce it cuz [00:46:00] it is rather tricky one.
Nina Szewczak: So I’m, yeah, I’m on love social media and I’m always happy to answer any questions. Always happy to help. I work with people via one-to-one. And I also have an online course that people can join if they feel like self-learning is best for them. A variety of options and I’m always happy to share anything that I know and any experiences.
Nina Szewczak: It is really important for me to always study alongside anything that I’m doing, because whoever I work with, I want to know that they feel they’re comfortable in my hands, and it’s not, oh, I’ve survived something or I’ve got through something, so let me show you how it’s done. Because it doesn’t work like this.
Nina Szewczak: We all, we are all too unique for us to just follow someone’s blueprint. That’s why I wanna make sure that I, my knowledge is from experience, from theoretical point of view. From practicing applying, reapplying and tweaking things to make sure that it really is tailored to the person. So, yeah, I’m always happy to share anything and happy to help in any way that I can.
Scott DeLuzio: That’s great, and I will have links to everything that you mentioned in the [00:47:00] show notes of this episode. So anyone who wants to check out your website or follow you on social media, they can do that there without having to worry about the spelling of the name or any of that. So it’ll be nice and easy to link to that.
Scott DeLuzio: So thank you again for sharing your experiences and sharing the insight into how we can. Great, better experiences for ourselves. It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, so thank you again
Nina Szewczak: and thank you so much for having me.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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