Episode 125: Mental Movies

Listen Now
RSS: Subscribe
RSS: iTunes

“A chief cause of unhappiness is what I call mental movies. Mental movies are a misuse of the imagination. You know how it goes. You have a painful experience with someone, then run it over and over in your mind. You visualize what you said, what he did, how you both felt. As awful as it is, you feel compelled to repeat the film day and night. It is as if you were locked inside a theatre playing a horrible movie.” ~ Vernon Howard from The Power of Your Supermind

That’s such a fantastic image of what often goes on in our heads, huh?!?

Think about it: how many times would you go see a REALLY bad movie?!? You’d prolly walk out mid-way, eh? And you *definitely* wouldn’t rush back to watch it again and again and again! (Right? :)

So, uh, why do we literally rush back to the mental movie theatre to re-play that terrible painful experience with someone over and over?!? Modern Positive Psychology research (see the Notes on Happy for No Reason for a nice overview) tells us that we’ve actually got an evolutionarily hard-wired tendency to see the negative and have it stick to our brains like velcro (vs. the positive stuff which researchers say slips away like teflon!).

The solution? We’ve gotta literally re-wire our minds to become more inclined to notice and ruminate on the things we *want* to have swimming around in our consciousness.

For now? Start noticing when you’re replaying that horrible scene for the 3rd or 300th time and see if you can observe yourself watching it. (That’s a HUGE step in the right direction.) And then ask yourself, “Self, is this really the movie we want to watch again?” Then, if you’re feelin’ it, smile and give yourself a high five for the new habit you’re building and then focus on something you want to replay!

Related Links:

Transcript

Mental Movies

“A chief cause of unhappiness is what I call mental movies. Mental movies are a misuse of the imagination. You know how it goes. You have a painful experience with someone, then run it over and over in your mind. You visualize what you said, what he did, how you both felt. As awful as it is, you feel compelled to repeat the film day and night. It is as if you were locked inside a theatre playing a horrible movie.” ~ Vernon Howard from The Power of Your Supermind

That’s such a fantastic image of what often goes on in our heads, huh?!?

Think about it: how many times would you go see a REALLY bad movie?!? You’d prolly walk out mid-way, eh? And you *definitely* wouldn’t rush back to watch it again and again and again! (Right? :)

So, uh, why do we literally rush back to the mental movie theatre to re-play that terrible painful experience with someone over and over?!? Modern Positive Psychology research (see the Notes on Happy for No Reason for a nice overview) tells us that we’ve actually got an evolutionarily hard-wired tendency to see the negative and have it stick to our brains like velcro (vs. the positive stuff which researchers say slips away like teflon!).

The solution? We’ve gotta literally re-wire our minds to become more inclined to notice and ruminate on the things we *want* to have swimming around in our consciousness.

For now? Start noticing when you’re replaying that horrible scene for the 3rd or 300th time and see if you can observe yourself watching it. (That’s a HUGE step in the right direction.) And then ask yourself, “Self, is this really the movie we want to watch again?” Then, if you’re feelin’ it, smile and give yourself a high five for the new habit you’re building and then focus on something you want to replay!