Why Our Brains Are Like Puppies – They both need taming & training
Back in July, I told you about our new puppy, Tyson. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know how fun and lovable they can be . . . and how much trouble they can get into!! There’ve been several times when we’ve left Tyson alone (with fences to keep him in the kitchen) and he managed to pull something off a counter and destroy it. We’ve been working hard on training him to obey and teaching him tricks. This includes teaching him that he is NOT the boss, and he needs to listen to us.
It struck me how our brains are very similar to puppies. I’ve learned that without some “training” and guidance, they will find trouble and make our lives more difficult. Without input from us, our brains will think about past frustrations, anticipate the worst in the future. and find plenty to worry about. Sometimes it can feel like we’ve lost control and that the negative thoughts control us, that we’re not the boss of our brains.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds, the author of Outsmart Your Brain, says that “The brain responds to stimuli long before your capacity for logic, compassion, and discerning thoughts can be formed. Your immediate reactions often produce bad results . . . because the brain is
- rebellious, and
- a master rationalizer”
I always thought that I saw the world as it really was; that I saw my work, other people, my life as they truly were. But my studies of Positive Psychology have taught me how our thoughts get in the way. They can distort our reality and even block out our ability to see the good in our lives. I never knew that we had the power to train and tame our brains; that we could have more control over our thoughts for a happier and less stressful life. As you know, it’s NOT easy!! But we can get better at it. That’s what these weekly tips are all about; telling our brain what to do instead of letting them find trouble.
This week, see if you can notice at least five times when your brain’s negative thoughts are causing trouble. Awareness is a big step!