How many times a day do you have a thought that pops into your head and you really wish you’d just stop thinking it? They always seem to be the negative thoughts on top of it. The next time that happens I want you to bark like a dog! “Ha!” you say. Yes, I am totally serious.
Let’s dig into a little neuroscience here for a minute. When you have a thought, that thought is like a river running in your brain. Each time you have that thought it takes that same river because that’s where it knows to go. And when you have that thought a million times a day, that river starts to rush and get deep and powerful. Another way to describe it is to understand electrical impulses. Instead of a river, more accurately, it’s firing off electrical impulses.
“One theory explains that thoughts are generated when neurons fire. Our external environment (such as home, relationships, media, etc.) leads to a pattern of neuron firing, which results in a thought process. A continuous pattern of neuronal firing reinforces the circuitry. This means that if we are put in the same situation twice, the firing of our neurons is going to be similar and reinforced. This is why people tend to react the same way to similar situations: because neurons, which are part of the circuit responsible for this response, fire robustly.” See more on this in the link here. It does a great job of going into detail about this process so I can save the space in doing so here.
So, what does all of this mean? If you have negative thoughts over and over….you need a new river. How in the world does this happen and what does barking like a dog have to do with any of it? It interrupts the train of thought.
By doing this over and over again (not out loud of course we don’t want your family concerned about you. 🙂 ) you stop the old thought process in its tracks and confuse the brain for a minute.
Another relatable and well put together technique is “AHA” taught by Mike Bundrant of the INLP center. Although not as entertaining as barking, the theory behind the acronym is to be Aware that you are going down that road again, Halt what you are doing and then to take Action.
What is taking action? It can be a host of things. Change up what you’re thinking, listen to a different song, go for a walk, say a prayer. The point is, that once you do this the brain understands that is has another option and it’s no longer necessary to keep rehashing the same information over and over again. You create a new river and all of a sudden that one becomes deep and rushing and the old one is damned up. Your new and more positive thoughts begin to be more free flowing. It CAN be done.
I invite you to give it a try. See how it works for you. I’d love to hear all about it! Good luck!