“Every Thought we Think is Creating our Future.” Louise Hay
As summer approaches, we will be spending more time outdoors gardening and engaging in fun outdoor activities. As we have learned living in the great state of Texas, we need to be on the lookout for ants and other various pesky bugs as the weather warms up. Let us also encourage you to be on the lookout for your mental ANTS as described by Dr. Daniel Amen a practicing psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist and director of the Amen Clinics:
ANTS-Autonomic Negative Thoughts. Just like our yards or homes can become infested with ants, our brains can also become infested with mental ANTS that will rob us of our joy. Every time we have a thought, our brain releases chemicals. If those thoughts are negative, we will release cortisol and inflammatory compounds that negatively impact our bodies and our brains. It is estimated that we have about 30 seconds from the time a negative thought enters our mind to stop this negative biochemical cascade.
Conversely, if our thoughts are positive, hopeful, loving, and kind, our brain will release a completely different set of chemicals that cause your breathing to become deeper and more relaxed, your muscles relax, your blood pressure lowers, and our brains function more effectively. So, as Dr. Amen suggests we need to develop an ANTeater approach to getting rid of the mental ANTs that may be infesting our brains and the garden of our soul.
So, over the next 21 days we would like to challenge ourselves to take around 10 minutes each day to detox our minds of toxic thoughts and to make a game plan on how we will nurture healthy thinking throughout the day. The science of behavior change tells us that it takes about 3 weeks to establish a new habit. The following 21-day Brain Detox Plan is taken from Dr. Caroline Leaf’s writings, lectures, and books:
The gather step is all about becoming aware of all the thoughts coming into your mind and beginning to understand the internal environment of your mind and how it affects you emotionally and physically. During this first step, you will take 1-2 minutes to be still, reflect and see what bubbles to the surface of your mind. After gathering these thoughts, bring a toxic thought into the forefront and begin thinking of a replacement.
During this step, you’ll begin to integrate the new healthy replacement thought in place of the toxic one. Don’t dwell on the negative. That only feeds it. Focus on what you are replacing the toxic thought with for 1-2 minutes.
For 1-2 minutes, begin writing down (or even drawing) images, words, scripture, or quotes that nurture the positive replacement. Find a creative way to do this that works for you and activates your mind to really focus on the replacement thought you are building.
During this time, you’ll begin to make this new thought stick by planning the solution to replace the toxic thought throughout your day. An example of that would be, planning to look in the mirror and say a short phrase or gently tapping your heart three times while thinking of your replacement. The sky is the limit for your daily plan. Whatever you choose to do, it should only take you about 5-10 seconds to do at most.
The purpose of Active Reach is to begin activating your plan from the previous steps- seven different times throughout the day. Remember, what you feed lives and what you starve dies, so every time you practice your plan you are feeding the new thought and simultaneously starving the toxic one. Set your alarm for every 2-3 hours and then put your plan into motion.
Mental Detox is just as important as physically detoxing from harmful chemicals. By transforming our thoughts, we are transforming our very health and life.
Wishing you a positively healthy summer! Your AustinMD Family
Please enjoy our attached healthy delicious Rainbow Slaw Recipe ☺