Playing with Fire

20 Sep 2020

Dreams are real.

I was a sceptic. I doubted that Mental Rehearsal really counted when it comes to developing new patterns of behaviour. The experts on Neuroplasticity (the brain’s capability to redesign and even rebuild itself) say that Mental Rehearsal is a ‘real’ as direct external physical experience. For example, the basketball player who mentally visualises shooting hoops can improve her or his ‘real-time’ performance.

Last night I was immersed in one of those weird dreams. Mum burst in on me (in the dream – she’s dead), wearing a patch over one eye, nearly catching me in a compromising position! It was pure fiction (after all, I never compromise!) Nevertheless, I jumped in bed, and my heart pounded as if it ‘really’ happened. Yes, my dream was just a thought, but my body and emotions didn’t know the difference.

I remember as a child being bitten by a dog in a dream only to discover my teddy bear was at the same position as where the dog bit me. We never had the same kind of relationship again!

So what? I’m now a believer! What we think about affects the biochemistry and electrochemistry of the brain. This, in turn, fires off the hormone-system… and we know what those little beauties can do. Can we build muscle-mass too? I’m not sure I’m going that far with my new belief, but I have a new respect for ‘thinking-as-if’.

I called this “Playing with Fire” because I do know that, “Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together.” Previously, I’d used this is the context of providing a sensory-rich experience for learners experiencing my seminars. If they could smell, hear, see, touch, and even taste positive aspects of the training, each one of these sensory doors could open the way to remembering what they learned and experienced. This is because the sensory neural patterns that ‘fired’ at the same time as the teaching would get ‘wired’ into the experience.

Today, I am thinking, “How can I use this for Mental Well-being?” and, “Could simply imagining happy experiences have the same positive impact as having them in the outside world?” These effects could be amplified by Virtual Reality experiences too! For example, I use special microphones that replicate how the ears hear. The field is called, “Psycho-Acoustics.” The wonderful output is the experience of ‘reality’ you have when you listen back to the recording through headphones. It’s like being there.

It’s early days yet but I’m making a commitment to “Think Myself Happy.”

Flipping that thought, I know that I know that I know that I am a Master of Thinking when it comes to Mental Rehearsal of the worst-case scenarios. I know that I can think myself sick! Why then couldn’t it also be true that you and I could think ourselves well?

Let’s give more attention to the way we think… it’s playing with fire!

Depression is always chemical. Depression is always electrical. Whilst there are chemical imbalances that can literally ‘make’ us feel a certain way, thinking still has a role to play in tipping the balance – the chemical balance – in our favour.

What are your experiences of thinking yourself into a state (happy or otherwise)?


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