Spring Clean Your Brain

 In America

What if you could cleanse your brain of all the negative thoughts that no longer serve you? All those thoughts your brain produces that predict negative outcomes, claim you’re not strong enough, smart enough, good enough–that life is just too overwhelming.  How about a spring cleaning for your brain? When we clean our home we look for dust in corners and under furniture. We sweep up the crumbs around the baseboards in the kitchen.  In other words, we become very methodical and focused on making sure that we capture all the dirt we want to eliminate. Well, the same process can be applied to our brains. The way to do this is to take time to study what your brain is producing.

Typically we just power through our day, while those unproductive and sometimes debilitating thoughts just dart in and out of our consciousness. We feel their effect when we notice that we’re in a bad mood, or feel anxious and worried. To clean out these thoughts, we need to create time to bring these thoughts into full consciousness by writing them down. A good time to do a “thought download” is in the morning, before we get caught up in the day’s current.

Set aside 10 minutes to write down, or type out every single thought that is floating around in your brain. Once you have them written down analyze their content: how many create negative feelings vs. positive ones? Notice those that generate feelings of worry, anxiety and overwhelm. Do you want to keep them or clean them out? A simple method for dis- empowering these thoughts is to question them: Is this true? How do I know it’s true? What’s a different way to think about this? How long have I been thinking this thought? Why? Does this thought serve me or harm me?

When we start questioning these thoughts, it’s like applying cleanser to the counters. We are using our reasoning brain to scrub them down and either clean ‘em up or remove them altogether. So many of our negative and self-defeating thoughts are produced automatically and unconsciously by our emotional brain (the amygdala) that until we clean them out with our reasoning brain (the Prefrontal cortex). They can just live on like bacteria and keep growing without our intentional interference.

This is the work I do with my clients and the results are amazing: when they actually look at all the “dirt” their particular thoughts are creating, they can clean them out and produce thoughts that shift their perspective into something sparkling and beautiful. Anger towards their ex, worries about their kids, fear of the future. Clean out the thoughts producing these emotions and you have a brand new brain that generates feelings of peace and confidence. Start taking time to clean out your brain and you can experience a new way of living free from the mess of grimy, detrimental thoughts.

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