the ego because it’s a ruthless little
bugger, telling you, “This isn’t true. You
don’t really believe that affirmation.”
Fortunately, it can’t fight the energy of
Another tool is Thought Therapy
Eye Movements, which reprogram
the brain by creating new neural
pathways. They stimulate and
coordinate the brain’s right and left
hemispheres to receive and process
new material. The complete directions
are outlined in the book, but basically
you do it by stretching your eyes in
every possible direction.
I also teach the Thymus Thump, a
tool based on the Emotional Freedom
Technique, or tapping. The thymus
gland is located behind the sternum,
near the heart. It’s directly connected
to the lymphatic system, which is
influenced by emotions, especially
those related to feeling unsafe and
attacked. Gently tapping on the thymus
as you’re speaking your affirmations
clears stuck energy around these
emotions that get in the way.
KK: Conscious breathwork is yet
another tool you teach.
IV: Yes. So many of us think negatively
because we’re oxygen-deprived. We
inhale and exhale, but most of us
breathe high up in our chests. We
don’t fill our system with oxygen.
In conscious breathwork, you’re
focusing on the diaphragm and the
full expansion and deflation of the
lungs. This nurtures the brain as well
as all the cells in the body. There’s
also a balancing breath where you’re
breathing in one nostril and exhaling
through the other.
KK: Learning even just these five tools
is very empowering.
IV: It really is. Without meaning
to, we’ve trained ourselves to be
codependent—we think everybody
else knows better than we do.
Therapists and coaches are a great
support, and I’m not trying to take
their work away, but I want people
to know they don’t have to be totally
dependent on somebody else to help
them through their difficulties. You
can’t run to the therapist every time
something happens, but you can pray,
repeat an affirmation, believe, and
thump your thymus.
KK: I’ve heard you say that when you’re
truly living in trust and faith, what
other people say and do doesn’t make
IV: If one person tells you you’re a
horse, you can ignore them. That’s their
opinion or perhaps their projection.
But if two people say it, then you
want to check how you’re walking. By
the time three or four people tell you
you’re a horse, you need to take a look
because you’ve got hay hanging out
of your mouth. That’s feedback from
the universe. However, so many of us
get caught on the one thing somebody
said, and we’re off to the races,
demeaning and diminishing ourselves
and being mad at the other person.
Similarly, comparing ourselves
to other people is an act of self-violence. When you’re looking at what
somebody else is doing and then you
think, I’m doing it wrong because look
at what they have and what I don’t have,
that’s violence to the spirit and to the
soul because we each have different
lessons to learn. Your A is my B. My D
is your B, you know? We each have our
own path, and we have to remember
that and honor it.
KK: You also recommend the very
potent practice of taking a pause when
you’re about to react to something
upsetting so you have a chance to shift
your perspective. That is not easy.
IV: Pauses are powerful. If we would
just give ourselves permission to pause
before we open our mouths or raise
our hands or reach for the cookie, we’d
have a lot more control in our life.
KK: What additional spiritual tools
and techniques do you rely on?
IV: I’m an EFT practitioner, so I find
that tapping on certain points in
the body is helpful to move energy
through the body. Of course, there’s
meditation—you need quiet time,
silence. Balancing the body, whether
with Reiki, tai chi, or some other
practice, is also important. And for at
least the past five years, the majority of
music I listen to does not have words.
I listen to certain artists, of course, but
when I’m just playing music to create
an environment, I play music without
lyrics. I just want to feel the vibration
of the instruments and the penetration
of that energy.
I find some lyrics a little too
dramatic. For example, “Ain’t no
sunshine when she’s gone.” Okay, wait
a minute. The sun is still out, and I
can still have sunshine. When I was
growing up and my grandmother or
the elders in my family told me, “You
talk too much, you’re bad, you’re
wrong,” those words impressed upon
me. Song lyrics can do that, too, so I
want to be careful what words I choose
to listen to.
Iyanla Vanzant is an Emmy
Award-winning television host
and New York Times best-selling author. Her current
show, Iyanla: Fix My Life, is the
No. 1 reality show on OWN:
Oprah Winfrey Network. The
latest of her 15 books is Get
Over It! Thought Therapy for
Healing the Hard Stuff (Hay
House, 2018). Visit iyanla.com.