#42 - The Power of the Mind

The mind is an amazingly powerful thing.

Last night, I had a lot of things on my mind and I kept going over and over them. Several times, I got up, turned the light on, and wrote some things down to try and get them off my mind so I could sleep, but my brain just wouldn't turn off.

After a while, I had an idea. I decided to imagine that I was inside a bubble and all the thoughts I was having were outside. When they would try to come into my mind, they would bounce off the bubble. In other words, I wouldn't let any thoughts linger in my mind or dwell on them. This was just a way to visualize it. Then I started to realize that my thoughts about keeping thoughts out of the bubble were distracting me, so I tried to banish them outside the bubble, too, which was a little more difficult, but it worked. Soon, I was asleep.

This idea came from a similar idea I got from someone during a conversation years ago. We were talking about how negative images would replay over and over in our minds, such as a person falling into a manhole. No matter how hard we tried to get the person to step over the manhole, they would keep falling inside. I don't know if anyone out there has had this problem or if I'm just weird, but I find myself getting these repetitive kinds of thoughts a lot.

The person I was talking to told me that they would imagine that image floating away off to the edges of their mind, and finally it would go away and their mind was free to imagine something else.

I was thinking about that this morning after my sleep method last night, and I think it can be applied to just about everything in life.

I've suffered from depression all my life, and I've always heard about how you have to have positive self-talk and all that. It's not that I didn't believe in it, I just didn't know how to DO it. But over the years, I've come to realize that the thing that makes me the most depressed is when I go over and over the thing that is depressing me. If I start thinking about something else, the depression will lift - at least for the time being, as short as that may be.

So, the experiment I'm going to try is banishing those thoughts outside my "bubble". There is an element of wanting to hold onto the hurt to prove just how much the person or situation has hurt me. Not consciously, of course, but it does happen. So I don't know how easily banishing those thoughts will be. But I'm going to try it. If I find myself not being able to reflect those negative thoughts, I'll have to think of what kind of ways I can visualize the act of letting go of that need to justify my pain by holding onto it.

I also want to apply these ideas to my writing. When I think what I'm writing is no good, I can just put that thought outside the bubble or send it flying off in a balloon.

This whole idea is bringing a quote to mind that I just love. I think it applies beautifully and demonstrates just how important our thoughts are in shaping our lives.

Sow a thought and you reap an action;
sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Excellent post, Jennifer. I suffered some pretty severe depression when my mom died. It took me quite a while to work through it - and, like you, to figure out that whole positive self talk thing.

    When I find I can't go to sleep and I'm dwelling on negatives, I start going over the words of the hymn - I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go. It's one of my favorites . . . and eventually, I go to sleep. :)

  2. So true... that whole idea of mind over matter, while it sounds like a cliche is true. It reminds me of when I was getting ready to have Max and was doing the hypnobirthing method - the whole program is all about thinking positively and blocking out negativity (whether from within or from others sharing birthing "war stories") as a way of birthing naturally and using your mind as an anesthetic of sorts. It honestly made such a difference and my experience was amazing because of that positive mindset. It only makes sense that same concept could translate to other aspects of life - I'm working on it, but it isn't always easy.

    Also, I love the Emerson quote - he's one of my favorite writers. I'll have to write that down!


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