How to Overcome the Negative Brain Chatter
Hello all my beautiful wonderful friends out there,
Happy Happy Fall, and also Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of my lovely Jewish friends. Here is to a great season and a wonderful year.
Before I sat down to write this week’s blog on Negative Chatter, my fourteen-year-old son, my voice of reason, reminded me that I was talking negatively about this week’s blog. Yes, my son, who was in the car with me (and who I thought had headphones on) was listening to me on a phone call about not being able to download a podcast that I previously recorded and was scheduled for today.
“Hey Mom, I don’t mean to butt in, but…..shouldn’t you be handling this in a different way? I didn’t listen to your entire conversation, but it wasn’t sounding all positive to me. Now, I am not one to be always positive, but I think in this case you should probably think about what you preach."
Well go figure, he never hears anything, but now he is chiming in and throwing my words of wisdom right back in my face. Way to go kid, way to go.
He was right. I was letting the negative chatter into my head and take me out of the space of being positive and solution oriented. On top of that, I wasn’t being as compassionate as I should have been for all the time and effort going into resolving the issue.
So let's think about it--all us mortals get frustrated, angry, disappointed, and bummed out about many things and most of it at the end of the day is really just silly. But one negative thought leads to another, and leads to another, and before you know it, you have spun out of control.
Now the same thing works for positive thoughts. The momentum builds and builds and bam, you have great ideas. I heard once that you only have to think a thought for 17 seconds and then the next thought will come along, and then the next.
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely OK feeling all emotions, positive and negative and not judging them for sure, but at the end of the day I want to take a deep breath, and if I can’t look at the situation with positive eyes, I'll step away and clear my head until I can.
So the bottom line--we still can’t figure out how to convert the podcast that was supposed to air today, but so what--we will figure it out and it will be worth the wait. I want this journey to be filled with fun and joy, and now and then a few setbacks to remind me of where I really want my head to be and how I want to spend my time.
Enjoy your weekend and lighten up on yourself and others.
Oh and check out all the fun facts we found out about the brain. Our brains by nature are programmed to go negative first, so don’t beat yourself up for having those thoughts just know you can retrain that brain of yours.
Tell your brain … I am in charge baby and that was my old way of thinking and it doesn’t serve us well, look out world.
Some Cool Facts About The "Animal" Chatter Brain
1. The Amygdala is the stress-response region, the ‘fight-or-flight’ part of the part of the brain that reacts to threats. The amygdala is constantly searching for threats in order to keep the body alive. This is a reptilian, animal part of the brain. Though we no longer live in a world of immediate danger 24/7, we are still programmed to respond to both real and perceived threats. When we become stressed or overwhelmed, this is the area that becomes activated.
This part of the brain is solely focused on survival--it doesn’t ‘think’ clearly, but rather reacts to the threat. It might help you run faster from a tiger, but not respond to an email from your boss.
2. When this region of the brain is activated during a stressful scenario, the response is usually unproductive. There is lower focus, concentration, and thoughtfulness present. This is lower-brain activity, rather than higher-brain activity.
3. However, when patients used mindfulness practice, the amygdala appears to shrink, according to MRI results. And the prefrontal cortex, which is a part of the brain associated with concentration, awareness, and other higher-brain activity, becomes thicker.
4. There is scientific proof that reacting to worry and stress causes a low-level response, while being mindful and present initiates a higher-level response.
5. When it comes to social media, or a certain life-situation, becoming stressed or angry about a situation only encourages lower-level thought. In order to take the best action, we must step back for a moment, become mindful, and approach the situation thoughtfully and presently, rather than as a reaction to stress.