Why Bother To Train Our Brain?
Swimming has not always been a natural pleasure for me. As a youngster, my parents signed me up for swimming lessons and it was not pleasant. The water was too cold, the noise level too loud and the instructor was as friendly as a sergeant shouting out orders to recruits in boot camp. Eventually though, I earned my junior lifesaving certificate, final proof to my parents that I would not drown while swimming at the local pool.
My skills were good enough, but in the last ten years or so, I found, to my surprise, my zone, that place where every distraction falls away while swimming.
Finding my zone was not my initial purpose when I retrained myself to swim freestyle for long distances. But signing up for my first triathlon, I knew that I’d have to retrain myself to swim better. It was not impossible, but it did require focused effort and commitment. I learned to breathe differently, stroke strongly and engage muscles I didn’t know I had. Not only did I succeed with triathlons, but somehow swimming became less of an effort and more of a pleasure.
As important as it was for me to retrain my body to compete, so too is it even more important to retrain our brains to think better.
What Consumes our Minds?
What we consume our minds with is telling. Though our thoughts might be private, our words and actions tell others what we think. We cannot hide our anxiety, worry, fear or disdain, any more than we can conceal our gratitude, joy, peace or patience.
We all know that some thoughts are much better than others, yet we don’t always know how to switch our thinking. But, all of our body parts, including our brains, belong to us. We don’t have to allow our thoughts to hijack our minds, taking us places we really don’t want to go. Instead, we can take control.
Since most of us can become by worry or fear, noting what we worry about or are afraid of is a good place to begin. When we politely ask ourselves questions we begin to discern if the things we are afraid of or worry about are valid or imagined. And since our imagination can run wild, we are the ones who have to tame it.
Feeling as though we are helpless and powerless victims is the worst feeling. It leaves us hopeless. And without hope, nothing changes. Though we cannot alter anyone else’s mindset, we can modify ours. As we pay attention to our thinking patterns, we gain insight. These insights give us knowledge and knowledge can show us what we can do differently. Taking an action, as opposed to simmering in our thoughts, gives us hope for change.
At first, retraining our brains to think better thoughts will take great effort, but with repetition, having better thoughts becomes more of a spontaneous possibility.
Why bother to train our brains? It is better for us to train our thoughts so that they do not consume us, taking us places where we don’t really want to go.