“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Our “Plastic” Brains
Stressed? Anxious? Feeling down? Or do you just want to feel even more positive than you already do?
Discoveries in neuroscience over the past 30 years have taught us that we don’t need to be stuck in a downward spiral of negative thoughts which dump stress chemicals in our brain often leading to stress, anxiety and depression. We now know that our brains change and grow by creating neural networks and these neural networks are formed and developed by what we choose to give our attention to.
Everybody has negative thoughts and as long as we don’t dwell on them no harm results. But because our brains work by learned associations, a thought that comes into our head will trigger an associated thought. If these thoughts are uncomfortable thoughts we get more and more down.
The good news is – we can control our thoughts. It may take time to change entrenched negative thinking and some patterns are easier to change than others, however, the techniques are certainly fairly simple.
Start by being aware of your thinking patterns and if your habit is to think negatively then divert yourself with more pleasant thoughts. You need to prepare in advance. You could substitute a wonderful holiday experience or think about something, or somebody, that makes you laugh. Singing a song in your head can work. Why not out loud if circumstances permit? Anything to divert your attention away from distressing thoughts.
It really helps to try not to spend time going over and over things that upset or bother you and concentrate on things that make you feel good and happy.
If you need some extra help, try tapping on the statements below. The reminder phrases are underlined.
Even though I can’t help obsessing about ……………………… I choose to focus on thoughts that make me feel good.
Even though I feel stuck with negative thoughts and feelings, I choose to believe that I can give my attention to things that give me pleasure.
Even though I spend so much time thinking about painful memories, I now choose to think about the things for which I am grateful.
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed