Many of us … maybe all of us … use our thoughts as a weapon on ourselves.
Think about it. How often are you sitting there, minding your own business, when your brain comes up with a thought or a scenario that angers you, frustrates you, scares you or worries you?
All too often, we just go along with it. If you were there having a perfectly wonderful time, and another person came over and angered you or frustrated you, you’d ask them to leave! But when your brain dredges up memories of things that happened … or fantasies of things that could happen … we just willingly go along with it, and turn a good time into a bad time.
So, being able to CHANGE your thinking when your brain start going down one of those twisted roads is a very valuable skill. Some people who are good at this like to challenge the assumptions their brains are making. Some others just find it valuable to say “Thanks for your feedback” to their brains, and then move on to a better-feeling train of thought.
Many addictions, I believe, come from this desire to just shut the brain up. Drink, drugs, food, shopping, sex, and so forth … all these addictive behaviors are attempts to make ourselves feel good when we feel bad.
Personally, I like to do the “Thanks for your feedback” thing, and then consciously think about something that makes me feel really good. The hardest part is catching yourself when you’re in the middle of listening to your brain. It’s a skill you have to learn by working on it.
So, is this just about selfishly feeling good? OR … does it matter to other people when we change our feelings from bad to good?
I’ve been watching this in myself. When I’m working on something and feeling good, I’m really efficient and creative and focused and easy to be around. That makes me highly productive. But if my mood changes, and my brain takes me on one of those icky trips to Memoryland or Fantasyland, my productivity drops.
I haven’t done a controlled experiment about it. However, I’ve noticed this a lot. It’s almost like when I feel too good for too long, my brain has to step in and mess it up. So, at those moments when I start to feel less than great, my mood and my focus drop, and I’m less productive.
If I’m working on something to help someone else, I’m endangering the help I’m offering … by feeling bad. So it’s incumbent on me, if I want to help others with what I do, to get myself feeling good again!
Think about that. How often have you felt like you need to feel bad, or think pessimistic thoughts, to push yourself to do your best work?
What sort of motivation is THAT? Especially if you’re putting yourself in a personal space where you can’t do your best? If you’ve got a lot to do, get in a space where you’re feeling GOOD. Or, at least, better than you were! Then, get to work and notice how you get more stuff done … which should make you feel good all over again.