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Arrow Tip#24: Stop Watching Bad Reruns!



Our experiences greatly impact our minds. When we experience something it not only affects how we think and feel, but it gives our mind data for the future. This can be a good thing but sometimes, if we're not paying attention, it can really create more problems for us.


Our brains are records of the past, full of memories. Some of those memories might be good and enjoyable. That's great and remembering happy experiences is highly beneficial when it puts us into a positive state of mind. But that's not what we tend to dwell on for the most part. Instead, we frequently spend a great deal of time replaying events from our day that didn't go very well......like things that bothered us or irritated us in some way. If you start "thinking about what you're thinking about" as we discussed in Arrow Tip #21 then you might notice you spend a lot more of your time fixating on the negative events of your life. This is like watching reruns of a show you don't like very much. It's a waste of time and energy and the outcome will always be the same.


 

When you get in bed at night do you spend time replaying what didn't go right that day? Do you hear yourself "relistening" to conversations that were upsetting to you? Just because you're replaying something that's now a stored memory doesn't mean the body isn't going to react as if it's happening right now. That's because your thoughts cause a magnitude of physiological changes in the body including the release of a cascade of neurotransmitters and hormones. These not only affect your moods and mindset but also your overall health. The body doesn't really know the event is something in the past because you're having a reaction to it right now. It also causes those neurological pathways to get engrained even deeper thus firing and wiring negative thinking patterns rather than building new, better trains of thought.


In Arrow Tip #10 I described how to use your imagination as a powerful tool to bring about changes in your life. Everything that's created in this world started with someone's imagination. Imagination=creation. But here's how we create on the flipside.....by reliving and replaying unwanted events and experiences over and over. Because these are taking place in the mind, you are literally telling your mind to pay attention and focus on what you don't want. (See Arrow Tip #17 regarding focus.) This just creates more of the same in your life. Stop bringing the past into the present moment and making it a NOW event. There is only NOW. So every time you replay the unwanted event (watching a bad rerun) you make the unwanted past the present thus creating more and more of the "undesired" in your life.


What can be done about this.... especially if things didn't go as we might have preferred them to? Well, first of all, we can pay attention to our thoughts and when we notice we're fixating on the unwanted past, we can just simply STOP and then redirect focus onto something else.....anything else, provided it's not another negative idea. Secondly, I like to do something called a revision technique. This is going into the memory and replaying the whole scene out again, just like you normally do when you remember something, but this time choose a better outcome and better experience. This might seem silly and a bit delusional but what it actually does is creates better thought patterns and a better mindset by firing and wiring new neural circuitry together. It also decreases the stress response in the body by bringing a better past experience into the present moment.


I like to do this at night as I get ready to fall asleep. Rather than ruminating on what didn't go right, I just go back through the events of the day and replay them going well. The key is to really RE-EXPERIENCE things as if they happened the way I wanted them to....making it seem as real as possible in my imagination. By the way, we do this anyway but we're usually replaying what we didn't like rather than seeing an outcome we would prefer. If I have trouble doing it, then I replay it over and over until it feels real to me. This creates a more positive mindset and better physiological changes in the body and brain. It also allows the brain to come up with better solutions because the mind is now focused on the wanted outcome so it will seek out data that identifies with and validates the new experience.


Try it for 30 days and see what happens! Make it a fun game for yourself if you want to. If nothing else you will feel better in the moment and the mind doesn't really care if it's "real" or "imagined".


 

ACTION STEPS:


  1. Notice when you are watching the "bad reruns" and shift your focus to something better.

  2. Try the REVISION technique, especially at the end of your day.


*Remember: YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE.