When I was a computer programmer in London in the 1980s there was a saying we used to quote to demonstrate the importance of good quality, accurate data. The saying was: Garbage In - Garbage Out, or GIGO for short.
What it meant in IT terms was that if you put nonsense data into a computer program, then the result would be just as nonsensical. Whereas if you take care to ensure that your data is ‘clean’, the results will be more meaningful and reliable.
And of course, it’s the same with our brains. If we spend our time in situations which stimulate our thoughts in a negative direction, it can be hard to develop or maintain a positive attitude towards life.
I am often surprised at some of the unwitting self-sabotage clients invoke without questioning the impact of their habitual actions. They may:
· Socialise with people who undermine or belittle them
· Read harrowing news stories detailing misery and suffering
· Watch soaps with relentlessly depressing story lines
· Participate in ‘complaining’ or negatively-focused online chat forums
· Spend their leisure time doing things out of duty rather than enjoyment
None of this needs to be a problem if we are in a good head-space and can maintain a proper perspective. And it may be that we have little or no control over our situation, so we are obliged to ‘get on with it’.
But usually there is a choice of how we spend our time, who we spend our time with, and how we respond to events around us.
Part of my job is to guide clients to recognise that they do have a choice about what goes in. They certainly have a choice about what their inner computer program does with that input, a skill which we help them to develop using Solution Focused techniques. And this, of course, ultimately affects what comes out.
It’s not unusual for clients to report that their friends and family have noticed how much calmer or relaxed or upbeat they are after just a few sessions.
So, what’s to be done to help generate some positive stimulus for the brain? Well, in addition to avoiding the worst of the negative inputs, we can actively seek out more positive sources of news, more upbeat chat forums, more supportive friends, uplifting TV programmes and enjoyable leisure activities.
And to help you on your way, here is a link to a fabulous website that emails you a good news story each and every day. Enjoy!