Head junk and ants

Before I came to Gozo I began a process of decluttering – going through my belongings and slowly giving away, selling or dumping things. Going through a much needed cleansing process in my life. In fact by the time I moved to Gozo, all of my belongings that weren’t bricks and mortar, fitted into a suitcase and hand luggage. It felt amazing. And a bit weird…..

Mostly it was external things, like decluttering my house and eliminating daily habits.

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher, or news addict, but at the time there was lots of upset about Brexit and so on, and it was unavoidable; TV, internet, newspapers, discussions with friends…. There are, of course, times when the news is unavoidable. And of course it’s almost always negative. I tried to reduce how often I checked my e mail, and would even leave my phone at home…. Sometimes! That was quite hard.

Whilst I was decluttering I was reminded of a comedy sketch by George Carlin, about how modern life seems to be all about accumulating stuff. We fill our houses with stuff, and when we get too much stuff, we have to buy a bigger house so we have room for all our stuff. Our houses are really just containers to keep all our stuff.

And sometimes we even have to rent a storage space to keep our extra stuff. There’s a whole industry around keeping our stuff….. right?

 

Somehow, other people’s stuff is worthless, it’s stupid stuff. Why would you keep that stuff? But our stuff? No way. Our stuff is important. Not useless. Our stuff is definitely not junk. Our stuff has meaning and value.

But sometimes my stuff does become my junk. Does yours?

And I’m talking about my internal stuff, now, too. Not just the extra knick-knacks, the unnecessary stuff that was cluttering my house; the stuff I threw away. I’m talking about the ridiculous stuff that takes up space in my head. I realized that the same way I need to declutter my external life and get rid of my useless stuff, I also need to declutter my head. I need to clean out my brain from time to time. If I don’t, my internal stuff turns into junk.

It turns into head-junk.

Because, let’s face it. You, me, all of us: we all have stuff. And if we don’t deal with our stuff, it becomes junk.

And at the end of the day, that’s a large part of my job – dealing with all the stuff in people’s heads. The stuff that doesn’t serve us any more, or that produces undesirable results for us.

You know how they say, “less is more”? Only a few things in life really matter, and when we break it down, only a few things, ideas, or people have the biggest impact.

That same pattern shows up in our head-junk.

Here’s an analogy to explain what I mean:

I’m sure you’ve all been on picnics, right? Nice, peaceful, and relaxing. You spread out your blanket, enjoy your lunch, sip a little wine…., and then the ants appear. It doesn’t matter if you checked the ground beforehand. Somehow they find you and invade your space. You fight back, but it doesn’t matter how many you squish. More show up, they’re automatic.

Automatic like the negative thoughts that pop up in our heads and start spiraling around even though we don’t invite them in and we do our best to get rid of them.

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). Just like a column of tiny little ants can ruin part of a picnic, ANTs can ruin your day, at least for a while.

Do you see the connection to “less is more” in this analogy?

For most of us, just a few thought patterns dominate. And the negative patterns have a particular potency, especially when they’re left unnoticed and unchecked. If you watch your thoughts very closely, I bet you’ll agree. And negative thoughts have more weight than positive ones, they’re more dominant. In fact you need almost 3 times as many positive ones for the positive ones to win.

Negative emotions are destructive. And infectious. Do you know what I mean?

What do I mean?

Neurologically, when you default to a particular thought pattern, it becomes more and more firmly wired in. So choose positive thoughts over negative ones, until the positive ones are easier to access and win, more often.

Over the next few days, pay extra-close attention to your thoughts. Notice how much of your total thought-energy is taken up by should’s, could’s, or have-to’s. Then notice how often thought patterns like those are negative and judgmental.

Start to notice the ANTs crawling around inside your head.

And if you want help with your ANTs, talk to me, or book an NLP session.