You know the feeling. You just can’t seem to switch your brain off. No matter what you do. It’s think, think, think, think all day long. And more often than not it’s not very helpful thinking. I mean it’s not like we’re thinking of our last holiday or anything else that would generate good feelings. It’s usually worry or wondering how we’re going to fit everything in or planning or just going over the same ole crap.
Why does this happen?
Science geek to the rescue!
Yes everything that I’m going to tell you is straight from neuroscience. They can tell us lots about how our brain works and what the hell to do with it so it’s not out of control.
First of all our brains have 3 negative thoughts to every positive thought. That sucks doesn’t it!
So before we even start we’re behind the eight ball. You might think that’s a bit of a design flaw. Wouldn’t you think our creator would have wanted us to be happier than that? I guess I can forgive whoever it was that created us for putting safety and survival above happiness. Cos all that negative thinking is all related to survival. But I’ll leave off explaining how that works for another time.
The good news is that thoughts only last 20 seconds. I was gonna say that’s not very long really. But if you think about it – what that means is that you have a full minute of negative thoughts for every 20 seconds of positive thoughts. That has to change.
Anyway, as I was saying before I side-tracked myself, the good news is that thoughts only last 20 seconds. And the even better news is that if you don’t jump on the negative thoughts, if you don’t pay them attention, they go away. And not only do they go away but your brain starts to reorganise itself into a happier little camper.
When we had to pay attention to all the dangerous stuff out there (in cave man days) of course it was a good idea to keep focused on some of the scary, worrying things. But back then they came and went. Now they never stop. So cave men and women could afford to focus on negative stuff cos it was only a matter of time til the next lull in their lives. For us, we need to do everything we can to keep positive because there’s negative and worry around us everywhere.
The trick is: don’t try to switch to positive thoughts. There’s something about the not doing anything that makes the brain reorganise itself.
There’s also a little flaw with positive thinking on purpose. If you don’t believe what you’re positively thinking your amygdala will know and it will still be activating your fear response. Now anyone can see that that’s just not good. Or positive. And then you’ll learn to associate fear with whatever you were thinking positively about.
So the trick is to disengage from the negative thoughts. Yes they’re there. Yes they’re yukky. But yes they will also disappear and create more space for positivity if you just leave them alone. So instead of elaborating on those negative thoughts watch them pass. Just a thought 🙂
If you want to know more about how to disengage from negative thoughts email for more details on how I can help you.