November 7, 2016

Cerebral Hygiene

Would you ever get a cut on your hand and decide to take a hammer to it? No, rationally you’d clean the wound, disinfect it, and cover it with a Band-Aid. So why don’t we treat our mind with this same compassion when it’s hurt?!

Exacerbating Mental Trauma

emotional hammer and mental trauma

How often does our mind get traumatized? Every time we hear a negative comment from someone we care about, it hurts. When someone shares something negative someone else said about us, it hurts. Honestly, I can’t even imagine being a teenager with today’s social media and the cyberbullying that goes on. In this social world we live in, we’re bound to get hurt. Unfortunately, when it comes to emotional pain, we typically choose the hammer over proper care.

Many of us react to the hurt by reinforcing it with our own thoughts; smashing it harder and deeper into our minds. But when strung together enough times, these internal negative thoughts coupled with the original trigger create depression. If we hammer the wound long and hard enough, we can smash the thought into a core belief: I’m not good enough, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m a failure, I suck at singing, my laugh is annoying, I’m a disappointment, I don’t deserve to live.

Practicing Cerebral Hygiene

Instead of using that emotional hammer, we need to treat our minds with the compassion the cut on our hand deserves. We need to practice cerebral hygiene.

Cerebral hygiene is the practice of cleaning out the mind of any unused or unwanted data that has been saved. It helps us maintain good health and prevent infection.

We’ll never be able to completely control the environment that surrounds us, but can’t we do a much better job protecting the environment within?

As a society, we bought into the importance of oral hygiene. We brush twice a day, visit our dentist every six months, use that tiny string to floss every crevasse, and fork out hundreds of dollars every year to ensure our oral health. But what are you willing to do to ensure your mental health?

practicing cerebral hygiene

Here are a few ways to practice cerebral hygiene and keep your mind free of infectious agents:

  • Meditating
  • Fostering optimism
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Servicing and helping others
  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones
  • Connecting with others that lift you up versus put you down
  • Nourishing your mind and body: eating well, sleeping 7-8 hours per night, exercising.

Our mental state has the ability to control our perception. It’s been said that you can get through almost anything in life as long as you have positive thinking. So, whether you're a business owner trying to lead your team to success, or just another human trying to survive this social world, by practicing cerebral hygiene, you’ll help yourself maintain a positive attitude and provide the proper care when faced with mental trauma. Allowing yourself the best chance to overcome almost anything that crosses your path to success and achieving your purpose!

For more on this topic, enjoy this awesome TED Talk from Guy Winch Ph.D.:

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