I had the chance to talk to Ora Nadrich about her insightful new book, Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever. We talked about the genesis for the Says Who method, including Nadrich’s own soul-searching journey, and how the act of questioning works to banish negative thoughts.
First of all, what prompted you to write this book?
I created the Says Who? method in response to a pattern I was seeing in my clients. Their negative and fear-based thoughts were sabotaging them, preventing them from realizing their dreams and goals. For some people, these thoughts didn’t even originate with them — they were clearly someone else’s, but had been taken on as their own. When I began using the Says Who? method, I saw how successful it was in changing my clients’ lives. I wrote the book as I wanted to reach more people.
What are some of the traditions you drew from when creating the Says Who method?
I drew from many traditions when creating the Says Who? method, including Mindfulness, Buddhism, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I used aspects of CBT for changing patterns of thinking.
Let’s talk about mindfulness. For instance, how does the Says Who? method take the need for self-awareness a step further?
It requires you to not only be present in the moment, but to take responsibility for your negative thoughts while you are having them. The method doesn’t stop with your being aware — or mindful — of your negative thoughts. It helps you transform them into positive, kind and life-affirming thoughts.
In some cases, it seems like the bad thoughts in our heads are pretty deeply entrenched. How does challenging them actually work to defuse their power over us?
The only way to defuse the power negative thoughts can have over our mind is to challenge and question them. We need to find out if they are real or not. The Says Who? method enables you to see that you are the creator and master of your internal dialogue, and you can create your reality. The thoughts that you feel have power over you are thoughts you have created — and you can change them. Those thoughts may seem deeply entrenched in your mind, but you have the power to weaken them, and let them go once and for all.
Is there an example you can give — say, of a thought you just couldn’t shake — that gave you personal insight into what we all need to do in order to move on with our lives?
Interesting question! Yes: a thought I couldn’t shake is also the genesis of my own personal story. It’s the foundation for how I came to know my own thinking mind better. That thought was: “I’m going to have a nervous breakdown, just like my sister.” My sister’s fate was tragic, and I experienced a great deal of trauma from it. And it created a thought that caused me tremendous suffering for a very long time, impacting my life in ways that were counterproductive. With time, and by doing a great deal of psycho-spiritual work on myself, I came to understand that I could change that thought, and overcome it. That’s why I am so passionate about this method.
How long does it take to shift from being aware of our fears and doubts to challenging them, to being free of them?
It’s not a quick fix, but if you do it with consistency, you’ll see how your whole thinking process shifts. When a negative or fear-based thought comes up, you will know exactly what to do with it to let it go. And you’ll notice fairly quickly that you have a real handle on your thoughts: you can change and transform a negative thought into a positive, life affirming one. That’s very exciting. The more you do this, the more you become free of any thought that does not serve your well-being.
What is the importance of doing this as a daily practice?
Practicing the Says Who? method daily turns it into a healthy habit for staying on top of your negative thoughts. Every day, you spend time making sure these negative thoughts aren’t getting in the way of achieving desires and goals. This consistency is important, as it helps your thoughts stay positive with regularity. And that supports your well-being.
Before you were a Certified Life Coach and Certified Mindfulness Meditation teacher, you were an actress with quite a bit of success. Can you talk about how that first career led to the second?
I loved acting, and enjoyed being an actress very much. But somewhere deep in my heart, I’ve always wanted to help people on a far larger scale. Even when I was an actress, I would help people problem-solve. In essence, I was being a Life Coach before I even knew it. I do think you have to be very empathetic and compassionate as an actor to be able to understand the different characters you play. So working with people, and understanding them, comes very naturally for me. I also started meditating while I was an actress, and have been doing it ever since. Teaching people meditation is also very natural for me.
How should readers use this book? What is your advice for someone who wants to follow the Says Who method?
The best way for readers to use Says Who? is to jump right in and begin to practice the 7 questions for transforming their negative and fear-based thoughts. Try and use the questions as often as you can. But go easy on yourself, and be patient with the process. While those sneaky negative thoughts will still try and slip into your mind, I can assure you that if you stay consistent, you will get really good at zapping them when they come up. I would also recommend that readers use the workbook chapter, which has several exercises that are extremely helpful in keeping you on the right track.
Learn more about Ora Nadrich and Says Who: How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever.