While it is somewhat of an oversimplification, the brain can be thought of as being similar to a muscle.
In the same way that muscles grow and become stronger through use and exercise, the brain also develops and changes through use and mental exertion.
In the brain, exercise is essentially thinking, visualizing, or any number of mental activities that stimulate its parts.
Some recent evidence suggests that certain thoughts are governed by very specific brain structures and these structures develop and strengthen through use.
If someone frequently thinks negative, anxiety provoking, depressing or other psychologically stressful thoughts, it is probable that the areas governing these mental actions will be strengthened through use, thus increasing the likelihood of these undesirable thoughts occurring with greater force and frequency.
Alternatively, different regions of the brain mediate more positive and neutral patterns of thinking and these areas, too, can be strengthened through use.
If you think you’ve been exercising your negative “mental muscles” too much, you can work to achieve greater mental balance by strengthening the positive mental regions, just like you can strengthen a muscle through use and repetition.
For every negative thought, picture or idea that you have, try to entertain several positive or neutral alternatives.
You want to catch yourself each time you make a negative statement or dwell on a pessimistic thought and immediately focus on several upbeat and cheerful perceptions.
Over time, this mental exercise will help to level the playing field and you’ll enjoy the benefits of more balanced thinking.
Article by The University of St. Francis