Maybe a Little Brainwashing Can Be Good for You

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Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

The word “brainwash” is funny. It contains two words that, separately, have a positive connotation.

brain: the part of the central nervous system enclosed in the cranium of humans and other vertebrates, consisting of a soft, convoluted mass of gray and white matter and serving to control and coordinate the mental and physical actions.

Okay, it’s good to have a brain.

wash: to apply water or some other liquid to (something or someone) for the purpose of cleansing; cleanse by dipping, rubbing, or scrubbing in water or some other liquid.

Okay, it’s good to cleanse ourselves. I think we’d all agree.

But smoosh those two words together, and you conjure up images that belong in a psychological horror movie.

brainwash: a method for systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs, originated in totalitarian countries, especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.

Chilling. I can just taste the Kool-Aid!

The other morning, I was lying in my bed, on my back, thinking of everything I had to get done. The stressors were piling up. Then I had a thought. I’m not sure where it came from, but it was this:

Maybe I need a good brainwashing.

I’m not talking about mind tricks, where I convince myself I’m in a problem-free utopia. I just mean maybe I need a mental reset. Perhaps I need to cleanse the part of my central nervous system enclosed in my cranium. Wash all that stress out.

I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know how it would work. But as I lay there in bed, I just did a couple of quick things.

  1. I closed my eyes, and put my hands behind my head.
  2. I took a few deep breaths.
  3. I tried to focus on the good things in life, rather than the stressors. The things I was thankful for.
  4. I began to realize that the things causing me stress were also good things in my life. They just didn’t feel like good things at the moment because of approaching deadlines. But they were things I would usually be thankful for.
  5. I hopped out of bed, feeling reset, and ready for the day.

Of course, as the day went on, stress came back. My to-do list didn’t get completely done. I wasn’t living in a utopia. But it was a good way to start the day on an energizing note.

Maybe I need to brainwash myself more!

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