I work with students regularly on the concept of cognitive restructuring. Students repeat the mantra, ”I can train my brain”. We talk about how powerful the brain is and how important intentional thoughts are in the process of strengthening behavior. Funny – as much as the brain can help, it can also be the main source of our problems.
Human brains worry, overthink, and obsess. We also have difficulty letting things go. Dr. Robert Sapolsky, neuroscientist at Stanford, discussed this phenomenon in his book, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”. He outlines how human brains create their own stressors. Animals don’t have this problem. Animal brains are only concerned with survival, and at least in this way, animals have it easy because they don’t sweat the small stuff like we humans do.
Yes, with our advanced brain, sometimes it’s hard being a human. I believe this to be especially true for parents, who exponentially worry, overthink, and obsess. Most often we fixate on events that never come to pass. So I challenge you to train your brain as I work to train mine. Just as our negative thoughts and perceptions can debilitate us, so too, can our positive thoughts propel us forward. My goal for this week is to choose the latter. I hope you are able to do the same.