When you understand how the mind and body respond to the unchecked thinking of the left brain, you can make positive improvements. Here are a few “mind games” that can create better brain habits.
Set guidelines for catastrophic thinking.
Designate a specific time of day when the left brain is allowed its storytelling and catastrophic thinking. The time of day must have a start and stop time. The individual then works to develop the skills to stop this nonproductive, circular thinking at the designated stop time.
Eventually, the individual will be able to apply the skills when needed during daily life or when they wake up in the middle of the night.
In our house, our children were taught a three-second “Dang It!” time. If they became frustrated, they were encouraged to express it and get over it within a count of five.
Get a move on!
Movement, particularly walking, has been found to assist in “rebooting” stuck thinking. Walking provides just enough stimulation to help the subconscious work through jammed thoughts and behaviors.
Stimulate the right brain.
Driving, cooking, listening to music, and sitting by a river can promote a sense of contemplation and mindfulness. Connecting with natural life processes and with nature tends to stimulate right brain activity. This in turn promotes balance between right and left mind functions. You could take age appropriate nature walks to explore different leaves, different textures of bark and the movement of the wind on the grass.
Breathing exercises can be used in settings that do not allow the individual to physically move from their immediate location and/or circumstances. The left brain’s childlike tantrums, catastrophizing, and struggling to keep itself active all tend to quiet with calming of the mind through breathing exercises.
Find a happy space.
Many “contemplative spaces” exist in day to day activities. Find spaces that promote relaxation. This might be a comfy chair and snuggly blanket or a chair in the back yard where you can watch the stars come out. Perhaps wandering within a backyard or a leisurely stroll with Mom and Dad within a neighborhood will allow for quiet thinking. Consider creating a garden as a restorative environment.
By understanding and accepting what can happen when left-brain thinking dominates, work can begin on the actual behavior challenges. When storytelling no longer excuses poor time management and poor organizational skills, real improvement can happen.
However, uninvited loops of thinking will continue to hog the individual’s mind from time to time. It’s helpful for individuals or parents to take a humorous approach when observing the persistent, childlike nature of the left brain’s demands.
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