Ever wonder how do we actually train our brains? Do we flex our thinking muscles?
We actually train our brains constantly! A lot more than you might think.
Do you daydream? Those sweet times when you are alone, don't feel like playing games, or watching tv, or listening to music. Maybe you are laying down, looking out the window ,or staring at the specs on your ceiling? What are you thinking of? Did you know that you are training your brain in these moments? You are programming your brain with the images, the thoughts in such moments.
Do you phase out annoying conversations or find an escape in your mind in boring times, such as a long drive? Yep, that's another moment of training your brain. Right there! You imprint your brain with all the images, emotions and thoughts!
Are you listening to music in a relaxed and focused state of mind? Your brain is relaxed in those moments and you are stamping your brain with the lyrics, the sounds, the rhythms. Have you ever noticed how many times you the same song can play in your head over and over, and you can't get it out of your mind?
Do you talk to yourself? I talk to myself A LOT especially when I am upset. I cannot stop the voice in my mind. It is on the loud speaker, commenting, sometimes arguing and making up scenarios. It starts with scenario A- what can possibly go wrong, then scenario B- the alternate worse scenario, it continues with Scenario C- the worse possible scenario, then down the road I go into an end of the world scenario where the whole world falls apart, I fall apart, everyone around me suffers, I suffer. I am either the victim, helpless, hopeless, not good enough, horrible and evil. Or, I am the hero and have to save everyone else. Who doesn't like a hero? But most of the time I am the judge and jury, and I am super good at it! I judge myself and others on how they should be and how they aren't living up to it. It sounds a little like this: "Why are people so stupid and mean? This is so not fair. X is selfish and such an idiot." And when my brain goes down this road, there is no option or scenario that includes a post-apocalypse scenario, because to my brain my world just ended.
All that negative self talk, you guessed it! It's a way we train our brains. We program our brains with all those juicy and dramatic conversations! And guess what? All those words we say about others, they actually get imprinted on our own brains, as our own attributes. Do you notice the emotion? We imprint the emotions too, at deeper levels of our subconsciousness. We feel drained, tired, we might think it's others draining us. Though, if we look at it, it's our inner self-talk that did the nice job of "draining" us. This is because: Energy flows where attention goes - this is an old Hawaiian teaching.
The good news is that the exact same process can be used to program our brains into what gives us energy, vitality, inspiration. How do you stop your negative self-talk? I stop my negative self-talk by cranking up loud music and dancing. I like it so loud I cannot hear myself! And, then I literally imagine taking the thoughts out of my mind with a magic wand, like the memory extraction spell Professor Snape was so good at, and dancing all over them! It works like .. magic.
To train my brain for positivity, I use my daydreaming time to build beautiful images, without boundaries, just letting my imagination run wild and free and allow those wonderful emotions that accompany the images to serve as my source of energy for the day. I also meditate and intentionally relax and focus on subjects I want clarity on. I use walking meditations in the forest and focus on the trees, animals, wind. When I'm focused on the nature around me I disconnect from the non-stop thoughts and voice in my mind that tend to take me over. In those moments where I can't seem to stop my negative self-talk on my own, I pick up the phone and call a friend to help interrupt the flow of thoughts in my brain. One important thing I learned was to change things up because brain is super smart and adaptive, it learns fast and becomes effective at evading all my positive resources. It's sneaky that way!
How will you train your brain today? How will you train your dragon? Will you feed it thoughts that give you energy or keep it trapped in the cave of the dark thoughts that drain your energy?