“Our doubts are traitors because they make us lose
the good we might win by fearing to attempt.” -William Shakespeare
One definition of the word worry is to have a troubled mind. Worry is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems. Worry is created when we visualize unpleasant experiences from our past or painful experiences in our future.
The mental pictures may seem real to us. Our brains and nervous systems create proper emotions as if they are reality. We may then react as if they are reality.
Reality is how things actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. When you let your imagination run wild, you are not fully reacting to the present moment. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a good example of worry.
When we take control of our imagination and self-talk, we can stop 90% of the fear and pain we will suffer in life. Focusing on the present moment and working on a worthwhile goal is a good remedy for worry.
Worry can be a positive process if used temporarily to avoid making the same mistakes. The past is gone and the memories have no power to hurt us, unless we replay them.
WORD IMAGERY THINKING
Your brain is like a DVD player. If you put a funny movie in the DVD player, you wouldn’t expect that movie to make you feel sad would you?
You can create the emotions you desire. You can choose which memories to play or which mental pictures you want to create. Thinking is the process of imagining experiences and focusing on ideas. When you think, you use words and images. The mental pictures automatically create emotions, as if the experience is actually happening. The imagination is your power and ability to create ideas and mental pictures.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word wit as the powers of thinking. To remember how your brain communicates, think of the word wit as an acronym, which stands for Word Imagery Thinking.
Now, think of the word can. The word can is an acronym for Change Attention Now. The word attention means focusing on something or someone. It also means mental concentration. When you want to change your feelings, change what you are paying attention to. Tell yourself to stop and then choose what you want to focus your attention on. Many people are unaware how little they are controlling their thinking.
When we try to not think about something we are actually focusing our attention on it. If I tell you don’t think about pink elephants, I’m causing you to visualize them.
When a person tries not to stutter he is focusing on stuttering. The person who tries to fall asleep causes the brain to stay tense. People who dwell on past traumas reinforce the memories and feelings each time.
Cravings are temporary feelings and desires. One of the keys to stopping unwanted feelings and behaviors is to change what you are thinking about. Don’t fight the cravings, that keeps you focusing your attention on the same thing. Instead focus your attention on something else and your feelings and desire will change automatically.
Ninety percent of what we feel, think and do is done habitually. Our brains are trained to react automatically. The brain is a habit machine. The way we walk, talk and do many things is done with little conscious thinking.
Focusing on the present moment is vital to being able to react appropriately to the present moment. Sometimes people drive to or from work and don’t remember driving. They may be watching the road while visualizing something else.
Listening to the radio causes the brain to visualize. The words of a song can also trigger memories. Songwriters use words and music to capture your attention. They want you to create mental pictures and powerful emotions.
The brain controls the autonomic nervous system. Most of the functions of the body are done automatically. We automatically memorize and visualize. The brain is wired to create mental pictures and emotions when stimulated by words.
Traumatic and sad memories can be left in the past when you take control of your imagination. The past loses its power when you stop visualizing past experiences, and focus your attention on the present moment.
Using the CAN technique will help you interrupt fear, worry, cravings and obsessive compulsive thinking. Changing what you are visualizing, watching or listening to, will change your emotions and desires.
Practice is the key to developing skills and reinforcing good and bad habits. Practice the CAN technique everyday and you will develop more control of your imagination and emotions.
To better understand how emotions are created, practice this exercise at least 10 times.
First, close your eyes and visualize a happy experience from your past. Focus your attention on the images as if you are watching a movie. Tell yourself the experience is beautiful. Eventually you will create feelings that are similar to those in the past.
Next, visualize a traumatic memory. The more vivid the images are, the faster you will create sad or fearful feelings. Tell yourself the experience is painful. Eventually you will create painful feelings.
Now, focus your attention on your breathing. Tell yourself to breathe slowly and deeply ten times. As you concentrate on the present moment you will not visualize painful or pleasurable memories. You will be controlling your words and imagery and creating peaceful feelings.
You can create happy or sad feelings by remembering past experiences or visualizing possible future experiences.