By Martha O’Regan
If you have any interest in the brain or supporting someone with stroke recovery, I highly recommend the book “Stroke of Insight” by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor or watching her 18 minute TED video on YouTube. Through her own experience with a stroke, she shares insights into our ability to use both sides of our brain independently and that through the use of the right mind, we have amazing capabilities to heal and to find nirvana by choice. This insight gives us great power to choose to live our lives very differently.
To simplify, our left brain is our “thinking” brain and our right brain is our “feeling” brain. The left brain judges, reasons and analyzes. Our right brain is our creative brain, where we visualize, express emotions or receive intuitions. The left brain is the “chatter” brain, the one that sometimes simply won’t be quiet, thinks it knows best but more often, the one that gets in the way and keeps us stuck in negative patterns or behaviors.
As an example, you’re probably familiar with the left brain when you’re thinking about a person whom you need to have a difficult conversation with and you go into the internal “point/counter point” dialogue. “I’ll say this, she’ll say that, then I’ll say that, then she’ll say this,” and on and on and on — repeat. This can go on for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years. Have you ever noticed these dialogues seldom go the way you thought they would, and because they are often calculated with an energy of defense or “I am rightness” they often spiral so far away from their intended track, that now matters are worse? Or, is this just me?
It has been said that we have 17,000 thoughts per day and that the majority are negative, such as worry, fear, judgment or anger. Unless we are paying attention, we don’t even realize it, yet these thoughts are controlling our physiology constantly, whether we are paying attention or not.
A trick I have learned is when the chatter brain is on a roll and I tune into how I feel, I can simply think, “Left brain, be quiet” and tune into a feeling of peace, joy and compassion from the right brain. It is amazing to feel the discernible shift within the brain and body. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat it every few seconds or minutes until the negative loop pattern is broken, but with practice, it becomes easier.
Try it at night when you are awakened at 2 a.m. for what seems like no apparent reason. When you catch your chatterbox left brain start to think about yesterday, tomorrow or next year, or chewing about all of the things you forgot to do or the things that yet to be done in the future, or getting frustrated looking at the clock knowing you have to get up in a couple of hours, simply think, “Left brain, be quiet,” take a deep breath and feel what happens. Allow your right brain to feel the bliss of the moment, repeat as necessary until you drift back off to sleep. With practice, you create a new pattern in the brain making it much easier to fall and stay asleep.
Remember that you have great power in how you use your mind, so choose your 17,000 thoughts to empower your personal health, happiness and success. Live Well … Have Fun!
By Martha O’Regan