I was in the zone yesterday, feeling good and writing up a storm, when a song came on Pandora. It was the song I heard the day my divorce was final – Remember When by Alan Jackson. Immediately, I felt my chest tighten and I went right back to that day. I hit the thumbs down so fast that the song didn’t even have a chance to start.
Have you ever heard a song that takes you back to a memory, so vividly, that it brings a smile to your face or a tear to your eye?
Our memories are very powerful. Memories create thoughts, and our thoughts can produce an instant emotional reaction. When you think about the loss of someone you loved, someone who hurt you or a time when you weren’t treated right, it can make you feel down.
When you think about when your baby was born, your wedding day or your biggest success at work, it can lift your spirits. Learning how to control your memories can play a huge role in your happiness and success in life.
Studies show that positive and negative emotions are handled by different parts of the brain. We tend to remember negative things more strongly and in more detail.
Negative emotions require more thinking and processing which cause them to leave a deeper impression. For example, a person would be more upset about losing $100 than gaining $100. The negative experience has a greater impact on our mind.
Think of your memories as movies playing in your mind. The memories produce thoughts. ….
“I can’t believe they hurt me”
“I really messed up”
“I’m not good enough”
“I can’t catch a break”
“This relationship will never work”
Thoughts create your beliefs and your beliefs create your life. So, how do you change your thoughts? You have to change the channel. Watch a different movie that makes you feel good.
When my mother died, I sat in her favorite rocking chair. Suddenly ladybugs started crawling all over me. Then my stepfather walk up holding ladybug figurine and said, “I found this by your mom’s bed. I’ve never seen this before”. When I see a ladybug now, I think of her.
It would be easy to feel sad and remember her pain, her depression, and how she took her own life. But instead, I change the channel and remember the amazing woman she was and how she taught me unconditional love.
Take control of your mind. Start changing your own channel.
We’ve all made mistakes, had hurts and failures. But remember this… you may have fallen, but you got back up. You may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you use to be. You may have made a poor choice, but you made a lot of great choices too. Meditate on your accomplishments, successes and things that you’ve done right, not the things you’ve done wrong. Focus on what is right with you, not what is wrong with you.
If you want to move to the next level in your life, you need to stop replaying the negative channel and switch to yourWinning Channel. Your Winning Channel is your life’s greatest hits. This is the channel that will produce the results you desire.
I know there are times when we just need a good cry. We need to get it all out. But when you are finished, get up and change the channel. Dwelling on memories that make you sad or upset brings no value to your life. It only creates negative emotions, which spiral you downward and keep you stuck.
You have to retrain your brain. If you allow yourself to think about your failures, defeats, losses and upsets, you will lose confidence and hope. The only way to feel free and fully alive is to focus on your wins and successes.
When I work with athletes, I ask them to remember their best performance or game. How did it feel? What did they see and hear? Then I tell them to access this memory before each performance. This actually brings the athlete back to the elevated state, both physically and mentally. Then they can access this state at anytime.
You have this power too. You can use your memories to create positive results in your life. When you have a big presentation, remember a time when you had your greatest success. How did it feel? What did you see and hear? This will change your state instantly and your actions will reflect that confidence. This is your Winning Channel.
Always remember, you are the one holding the remote control. You have the power to change your thoughts, your beliefs and your destiny, anytime you choose.