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Recovery Tip: Lay some new tracks and play them often.

By Marlene Winell ~

Old thought patterns are automatic, like default programs that pop up without being asked. How often do you think of familiar verses, song lines, or slogans from your past? Your brain actually has grooves for them. We know this from neurology. Plus if you got these things as a small child your brain was still being wired in basic ways so unwiring is not so easy.

In cognitive behavioral therapy, repetitive, unbidden ideas are called automatic thoughts and the intervention is called cognitive restructuring. This is an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. As part of it, you need constructive new thoughts. We have to replace the old ones because it’s pretty hard to not think at all, and it’s thinking that affects how we feel.

So, if you washed your brain of all the toxic indoctrination that causes you trouble, what would you replace it with? What values, attitudes, objectives, and principles make sense to you now? See if you can write a manifesto for yourself, and make it a work in progress. It’s not etched in stone; you can change it any time with experience and new information. (Isn’t that nice?)

Now see if you can come up with some pithy slogans for yourself that address your main ideas and give you ways to actually behave. Start with just one, and see what ‘s it’s like to repeat it to yourself. You can put it on a card to carry with you, write it on your mirror, or hang it on your wall. The point is to embed a new idea into your brain that you are choosing for yourself, and reclaim your life. Enjoy the feeling of increasing personal power.