By Leslie Sann
We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
~ J.K. Rowling
Being human and all, I bet you sometimes get on the thought train to hell. Not fun. It happens to all of us now and again. Sometimes the mind gets hold of a thought and chews on it like a dog with a bone, even though it is rotten, full of maggots and eventually will make you sick. Yuck.
I had a client who had just gotten engaged. He was mostly excited about their future together, except when his mind recalled where former relationships hadn’t worked out. He would experience the disturbance of these memories, and then doubt about his engagement would grip him in the belly and throw him around the room. Ow.
I taught him the White-It-Out Method. The moment you catch the negative thought rearing its ugly head, envision having a giant jar of white-out and painting over the thought, creating a clean whiteboard. Then write on the board something you’d prefer to focus upon.
For example, my client was scaring himself by imagining his soon-to-be wife turning into his no-longer-wife, along with all the expenses accompanying a divorce. Not a motivating experience when one is planning a wedding. He practiced the White-It-Out Method, and instead of focusing on relationship doom, he then took a giant white-out brush and made the sad ending disappear, replacing it with a story of happiness and relationship fulfillment. Ahhh, much better.
It sounds simple, yes? Too simple? No. The brain is plastic and can be rewired, and the consistent focus will change the brain’s structure. Focus on what you want, and the brain will rewire to accommodate your desire. For example, focusing on gratitude grows more brain matter that associates with the experience of gratitude.
It is now well accepted that wherever you place your attention is where the neural tissue grows. It is called attention density, a term for focusing our concentration. As true for thought patterns of fear, hate and phobia as it is for peace, love and connection. More neural tissue, easier, more intensive firing. Therefore, to get better at creating joy, focus on what brings you joy, and the neurons associated with joy will grow.
I encourage you to play with this when you have a thought habit you’d like to change. With practice, you’ll easily shift to imagining what you would like to experience. Focusing on what you prefer is joyful! Not only will you win in your fantasies, but you’ll also be changing your brain to support you to more easily create a life you love! How does it get any better than that?
Yours from Planet Joy,