Rewire your brain

brain_rewire

It has been claimed that our brains are naturally wired for negativity. This isn’t so bad as it helps up become aware of dangers and threats that surround us. It is only when everything is seen in a negative light that it becomes maladaptive.

Here’s an experiment that you can try for yourself. If you do something wrong, what is/are the first thought(s) that enter into your mind? Are they positive or negative?

Another exercise you can do, to see which way your brain is wired, is to keep a “thought journal” for a week. You can keep it for longer if you want, a month would be ample time. At the end of your chosen period, make a list of all the positive and negative thoughts. Which category is greater?

If you find that you automatically think negatively, or that you have a greater ratio of negative thoughts to positive ones, then it is time to do some rewiring work.

Remember, not all negative thoughts are bad. It’s only when the negative thoughts have no real basis in reality that there is a problem. You need to be honest with yourself and ask how accurate your negative thinking is.

Just as there may be faulty wiring in a house, we also may discover that we possess “faulty wiring”. What happens if we neglect to deal with the faulty wiring we discover in a house? There is the risk that such wiring can cause a fire and the house is destroyed. Our metaphorical house is our health, well-being and our relationships. If we don’t deal with the faulty wiring in our thinking, we can end up burnt-out and our relationships destroyed.

If we find that our physical house has faulty wiring, we need to replace the wiring with new wiring. So it is with the wiring in our brain. If our negative thinking is found to have no basis in facts, then we need to have a “rewiring”. The maladaptive negative thinking is akin to the faulty wiring that threatens the house. It threatens our well-being, our happiness, our peace and serenity and also affects our relationships.

But how do we go about rewiring our thoughts? It is a process, just as it is in determining where the faulty wiring is hidden behind the walls of a house. Once it is discovered, then the wiring can be replaced with the new wiring. So, the first step is awareness. Once we have a negative thought, we need to determine whether it is natural and helpful (remember that not all negative thoughts are bad). If we decide that the the negative thought is faulty, then we need to replace it with a positive thought. We are now on the way to rewiring our thinking.

The next step is to look for positive things in your life. Sometimes we take things for granted. We stop appreciating things and, more importantly, people. When was the last time you told someone how much you appreciate them? When was the last time you just stopped and appreciated nature? Go for a walk and just listen to the sounds of nature. Look at the beauty of the flowers and the trees. When we start to become more aware and thankful for the positive things surround us every day, then our brains will automatically begin to forge new channels for the positive thoughts to flow through.

Another step is to look at our self-image. What do you think about yourself? Do you like yourself, or hate yourself? How do you react when someone says something nasty to you. Do you believe the comments the person has made? Or do you just explain it away as the person is having a bad day? We can’t avoid people saying negative things to us, but we can avoid taking the comments on board as facts about us. If you find that you are mulling over the bad comments made towards you, then you need to ask yourself why you are thinking about the comments. At a fundamental level you may believe that the comments are true. But is this an accurate assessment of who you truly are? For example, I used to be told that I am no good and that I would never amount to anything. I believed that, because that is the message I was given several times a week as I was growing up. Then as I got older, I would sometimes have someone say to me “You’re useless.” I would go over the comment over and over again in my mind and I would agree with the comments. Why? Because that was the message that had been “programmed” into my brain. In other words, my brain was wired to think the negative comments were true.

So, how do we go about rewiring our thinking from a negative self-image, into a positive self image? Again, it is a process. As we encounter a negative self-belief, we need to find an opposing positive self-belief. In my example, as I achieved things in life, I realised that I’m not useless. So whenever someone made comments along that line, I would dismiss such comments by remembering the things that I have achieved. As you challenge the negative self-image, with a positive self-image, you are rewiring your brain.

It has been suggested that to overcome 1 negative comment/criticism requires 5 positive comments. Here’s some homework for you. At the beginning of this article, I mentioned about keeping a “Thought journal” for a week in which you record your thinking. Again, I want you to keep a notebook and record down nothing but positive thoughts for the duration of the exercise. How long you want to do it for is up to you, but I recommend at least a month (as that is usually the duration it takes to replace old habits with new habits).

By challenging your negative thoughts, determining whether they are healthy or not, you are on your way to rewiring you brain. It’s a process. It will take time. But the results are worth it!

Let your rewiring begin!

 

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The Stress WMD!

Hi folks!

Over the past several posts I have offered you all different ways of combating stress with different relaxation techniques. As the final post in this series (I hope you all have found something that works for you!) you may wonder which technique is the best. To be honest, they all have their merits and I recommend that you use all of them.

To me I consider the techniques to be individual parcels of a bigger “Stress Buster” package. Individually the different techniques provide beneficial affect in helping you alleviate and reduce stress, but as you use the techniques together the affect is tremendous! Just think of a Weapon of Mass Destruction blowing away stress!

How does the WMD work? It works by you employing all the techniques daily as you combat the stress you face. During the day do a body scan when you feel yourself getting tense. Stop and do deep breathing and visualise the stress melting away. When you have a break throughout the day, you can do some subtle progressive relaxation and deep breathing. At the end of the day you can take 20-30 minutes out of your schedule and do some meditation and/or visualisation exercises.

When you use the techniques in combination you will maximise the benefit that they have. Just think of it as a “Stress Buster Synergy” – the effect of the whole is greater than the individual parts.  Remember that it is important for you to do this daily. In a month, stop and take stock of the stress level(s) in your life and you will be surprised at how much more relaxed, calm and at peace you are.

Your Emotional Compass

Hey everyone!

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from a counsellor a couple of years ago. He said “Do not allow anyone else’s emotional compass determine your direction!

I used to allow people who were heading down (south) to bring me down with them. I would be feeling “on top of the world”, next thing I knew someone’s attitude was pulling me down to the cold barrenness of emotional Antartica!

People would be stressing all around me, getting moody, and I would want to try and make them happy. Or I would get nervous because they were angry, next thing I knew my “emotional compass” was going hay-wire! It was like I had somehow been sucked into an emotional Bermuda Triangle! (Have you ever noticed when people are in a bad mood, it seems to spread. But if you are in a happy mood and others around you are in a bad mood, they don’t catch your happiness?)

But then, when I was given that sage advice about not allowing other people’s emotions dictate which way my emotions went, I decided to change! I refused to take on board other people’s negativity. If people around you want to be negative and moody, let them! Do not own that emotion. Do not allow it to come on you, for once you do, your compass is going to point “South” and you’ll be heading down to emotional turmoil! Do you think that the person having “a moment” really cares that he or she has just made you feel moody too? NO!!

So refuse to allow the moods and negative attitudes of those around you to influence your “emotional compass”. Point the needle to “North” and head upwards, not downwards. There are going to be times when the needle will be bumped and influenced by “environmental” factors (grumpy, depressed, negative people). But just make a readjustment in your emotion, recognise that it has been sent slightly off-kilter, and then get back on track. Remember these words, just as I do everyday:

Do not allow anyone else’s emotional compass determine your direction!

Once you decide that, then you will find your life become happier, you’ll have greater serenity and more peace!

 

It’s Just a Thought!

Hey everyone!

We have them all the time. Sometimes they make us happy. Sometimes they make us sad. Sometimes they make us angry or scared! We might even stew over them. Toss them over in our minds. What are they? THOUGHTS!

Thoughts can be positive or negative. They have such a powerful effect on us. They can influence our well-being and our health! How often do you think about what is going through your mind. How often do you analyse the thought. We seem to be prone to cuddling up with the negative thoughts, and give a mere wave to the positive thoughts.

We seem to want to reminisce about the negative. The wrong that has been done to us. We plot revenge! We think about what we could of done, or should of done in the situation. We play the scene over and over again in our mind. But what is this really doing? It won’t change the situation, because that is in the past.

It is affecting your enjoyment of the “Now”! You are so busy thinking about the situation (past) and what you will do in revenge (future) that you have no time to enjoy the “Now” (present). It can be hard to just forgive and forget. But that is what we should do. It is true, that we should discuss our feelings and resolve any wrong doing that we may have suffered. But do not meditate on the thought! Just let it glide, and refocus on the “Now”!

As we learn to let our thoughts just be…then we can experience the present moment in a richer way. We will be happier, and ultimately healthier.

So next time a thought pops into your head. Just let it be…do not dwell in it. After all…it’s just a thought!

 

Don’t Let your Bubble Pop!

Hey folks!

Have you ever experience the following?: You are happy, having fun, nothing bothers you then…WHAMO!..somebody says something or does something and then your mood changes for the worse!

What just happened? Your bubble just got popped!! We can be coasting along in our own happy world, oblivious to all around us, but then something touches the surface of our bubble and it explodes. The negativity has burst our positivity bubble!

The surface tension of our bubble might be different than someone else’s surface tension. It might be weaker than otherr,  or it might be stronger and able to withstand a good, sharp stab. How do you know what your bubble’s surface tension is like? If someone makes a blunt comment and your bubble pops, then you have a weak surface tension. If someone makes a sharp comment and pops your bubble, then you have strong surface tension! But the good news is that you can constantly strengthen your bubble’s surface tension to withstand the sharpest of jabs!

What can I do to strengthen my bubble’s tension? The main thing you can do is stay vigilant! Try and avoid the barbs that surround you daily. If one has just hit your bubble, immediately deal with it!

How do i deal with it? You can either walk away from the situation. Or if someone has made an unfair comment, just realise that the comment was unfair and move on. Do not dwell on it! If someone makes a sharp comment, then let them take ownership of the emotion(s) behind the comment. (Maybe they are having a bad day; maybe they haven’t developed the right “people skills”). If someone has done something to irritate you, do not take it as a personal attack!

DO NOT TAKE ON BOARD ANYONE’S NEGATIVITY!

If you refuse to allow to take on the negative emotions of those around you, then you will find that your bubble will stay intact! It’s like a force-field of peace and serenity, that only gets stronger as you protect it and defend it!

Heck, you a find that other people want in on your bubble of happiness, peace and joy! Let them in!!

 

Stop! Listen to the silence!

Hey folks!

It’s been a couple of days since my last post. (OMG! Does that sound like a confession?) I had a wee Easter break!

Today I was sitting on my back door step , having some lunch and listening to the sounds of nature. It was such a joy! Then I wondered, how often do we take the time to actually stop and enjoy the sound of silence?

We have the radio blaring away, the television on. We have become accustomed to having “background noise” to keep us company. But I challenge you to turn off the radio! Switch off the television! Go outside and just sit for a while.

What do you hear? What can you smell? What do you see? I do that as often as I can. Today it was like some switch had been flicked to on! I realised that I am experiencing life, that I am appreciating all the nuances of creation! The sounds of the birds, the buzzing of the insects, the dance of the butterfly that fluttered past me!

Too many times we are caught up in the “noise” of our lives. Our mind is constantly thinking about what we have done or it’s too busy worrying about the future. The result is that we are robbed of the enjoyment of “now”.

So I thought, this week I would present you all with a challenge. Try and do this daily. Just take time out to stop and listen to the world around you. Listen to the birds, the sound of the wind in the trees, the insects buzzing. Just watch the way the trees nod and dance in the soft breeze.What else can you see? What else can you hear? Can you smell the subtle smells of the flowers around you?  In other words, take time out and allow the peace of nature flood your soul. You’ll find the stress and the cares of the world melt away!

So from now on…stop! Listen to the silence of nature. Allow it to envelope you!

OMG! What a weird day!

Hey guys and gals!

Today has to have been one of the weirdest days I have experienced in a long time! Maybe I was one of the few that actually got up on the right side of the bed. All day I was surrounded by negativity!

Is there some celestial misalignment going on that I was not aware of? This morning I observed one guy slamming cupboard doors and drawers trying to find a roll of stickers that he had seen earlier. The more, he looked the more frustrated he got. He got in a right tizzy!

This afternoon there were several people looking for another object. It started with one person, then another got involved, then another and another! All these people ended up getting each other stressed and irritable.

I honestly could not believe what I was watching. It was like some virus that was jumping from one person to the other to the other. Next thing the whole atmosphere was full of negativity and anger. Most of the people I witnessed in the situation had caught the “negativity bug”.

What we all need to learn is how to be immune to catching something that contagious. Just because someone around you is being negative, stressed and wanting to “dump” it on you, does not mean you have to “catch” that bug!! Become immune!! I found that I was immune in the midst of the whole situation. I was like a calm blue ocean while the storm blew all around me.

How do you become immune from negativity? It takes a combination of things. (Just like it does when you need to build up your immunity against a natural illness). Here is my wee recommendation (it is a daily dosage!!):

  • When you get up in the morning tell yourself that you are going to have a great day!
  • Avoid contact with those carrying the “negativity bug.” (That does not mean you have to be a snob and ignore them. Just do not allow yourself to be affected by the negativity they want to spread!)
  • Do Deep Relaxation exercises. Do these for at least 20-30 minutes a day. (I find that visualisation meditation is a great soother of the soul. I do these at least once a day!)
  • If you feel yourself getting stressed or tense. Stop what you are doing, or walk away from the situation (you can always go back once you are ready!). Take several deep breathes. Concentrate your attention on your breathing.

I do these all the time. It takes discipline and work. But on days like today, when there was negativity and tension no matter where I went or looked, it helped me get through the day.

This evening I just took time out on the couch and relaxed in silence. No radio on. No TV blaring away. Just the stillness of the evening touching my soul and liberating me from the negativity that tried to steal my peace!

I hope this helps you all develop some sense of peace and serenity as you go through your day. It would be foolish for anyone to think that they will never encounter negativity during the day, but we can choose not to let it steal the thing that we should protect most: our peace!