May 28, 2015 by Dr. Sana Keller
Imagine, for a moment, that each of us had a built-in keyboard on our chest—easily accessible for anyone to type messages that are delivered directly to our minds…to our thoughts. This special keyboard has no mechanism in place for filtering the content of the messages, so the messages being typed into our keyboard range from uplifting and positive to ugly, hurtful and defeating. Worse yet, anyone can quickly type a message on our keyboard– whether a best friend, an annoying coworker, an overly blunt family member or a relative stranger. Worst of all, once a message is typed, it cannot be deleted.
Shad Helmstetter, author of “The Power of Neuroplasticity”, paints a similar picture, encouraging his readers to imagine looking into a newborn nursery, noticing that each precious infant has a little baby keyboard strapped to their infant chest with instructions regarding the importance of leaving positive messages so that the infant can learn about this big world–along with a WARNING: Everything you type into this child’s keyboard will be stored for life, and acted on as though it’s true. Please be careful. Every message counts.
Of course we would be careful! After all, those adorable, sweet babies rely on loving parents and caregivers to fill their minds with positive, caring and inspiring messages. Who on earth would hold a newborn close and say something like, “You will never amount to anything”…or “You’re a loser”??
Wait, We Don’t Have Keyboards on our Chests!
You’re right–thankfully, we don’t have built-in keyboards on our chests, although it seems to be getting closer all the time with the growing trends in wearable technologies! The chest keyboard mind-picture is meant to help us understand the power that our thoughts and words…and other people’s communications with us…can have on our lives.
Checking Our Personal Playlist of Habits, Beliefs and Thoughts
Many of the habits, beliefs and thought patterns and beliefs that we have today were developed in the first decade of our lives. We didn’t have much control over this process at the time since they were mostly downloaded onto our thought keyboards by our parents, teachers and current events. And, although we would like to imagine that only positive, helpful, course-correcting and inspiring messages would be downloaded, we realize that wasn’t the case. Whether a result of destructive self-talk, unspoken negativity from classmates or coworkers, cruel words from “friends” or relatives…or the steady stream of less-than-positive media, each of us has (or at least used to have) a list of negative thoughts and beliefs that circulate regularly among the voices in our heads.
What To Do?
Helmstetter’s work, along with the work of many other neuroscience experts, has uncovered the science of neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Neuroplasticity studies have revealed how we can literally rewire our brain…rewire our thoughts. Just because the current voices in your head are reminding you of old, ingrained negative statements like, “I just can’t lose weight and keep it off“…”I’m really bad at remembering names“…”I’ve never been able to stick to an exercise routine“… or “I’m just so busy–I don’t have time to take care of myself“, that doesn’t mean that it has to continue that way!
Who Is Typing On YOUR Keyboard?
Imagine that keyboard once again, only this time with you in control of all messages being entered. Messages such as, “I’m really good at remembering names“… “Every day I’m getting closer to my ideal weight“…”I include workout time in my schedule every day and am feeling so much better“… and “I’m getting better at scheduling my time to make sure I include some ‘me’ time each day” start changing…rewiring those old negative messages.
5 Tips to Maintain Control of YOUR Keyboard
1. Catch yourself in negative self-talk, whether it’s the voices in your head or you speaking out loud—and STOP.
2. Imagine hitting the “DELETE” button for that negative statement or thought.
3. Change the negative messages into positive ones–POSITIVE and in the PRESENT TENSE.
4. WRITE your positive messages down!
5. READ them to yourself and out loud regularly and with POSITIVE EMOTION.
It sounds simple enough, right? This technique has been proven time and again. Yet, why are the majority of people walking around with their “virtual keyboards” hanging out, easily accessible to the negative and hurtful input from others? What does it take to gain control–and then maintain control of our thoughts and the voices in our heads?
Yes, this is a powerful, yet simple technique. Better yet, it’s FREE! Making it a part of your life may be one of the most life-changing steps you’ve ever taken. What does it take? Awareness (of your thoughts & those voices in your head)…Intention (making a plan to change)…Determination (making up your mind to follow through)… and Motivation (your inner drive to succeed). Grab your keyboard now!
I incorporate this work into all my coaching programs. Contact me to learn more.
To your Optimal Health…which includes your Healthy Mind… 🙂
Sana Keller, PhD, RN, CNC
Photo credits: fentek-ind.com, shadhelmstetter.com, gaslamppost.wordpress.com, beyourownleadinglady.com, pubzi.com, medyakulak.com, keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk, harlemlovebirds.com