When water forges a pathway, it starts as a mere trickle–quiet and barely noticeable. The more the water moves down the same pathway, however, the deeper that pathway becomes. In time, the water changes from a trickle into a ditch. The ditch expands to form a stream that eventually turns into a river. What was once a tiny trickle of water now has the power to carve a mighty canyon.
Just as water forms a river by repeating the same path, our thoughts create a reality by going down the same frequency in our brain over and over. Our thoughts carry electrical impulses that fire repeated messages down a pathway in our brains. The more we think a certain thought, the deeper the electrical pathway becomes.
Your anxiety-causing thoughts may start out small–like a trickle of water–but with repetition, they become as free-flowing and powerful as a raging river. This trickle often begins in childhood with a small, fearful thought. The thought is repeated over and over until it deeply roots itself as the foundation of how we see ourselves in the world.
I watched such a thought pattern begin for my three-year-old granddaughter at her uncle’s wedding. When the bride and groom made their way to the honeymoon car, family and friends cheered and waved sparklers.
My granddaughter accidentally grabbed the end of a sparkler, causing a severe burn on her hand. Later that summer, at a Fourth of July celebration, a firework tipped over and shot right at that same granddaughter’s leg. This resulted in yet another painful burn. It was no surprise when we went camping a few months later that my granddaughter was afraid of the campfire. She stayed a good ten feet back, even while everyone else was having a great time roasting marshmallows and telling stories. She had adopted the thought that fire was never safe.
If I could predict my granddaughter’s future as an adult, I would expect her to harbor residual anxiety about fire, even if she doesn’t remember the burns from when she was three. A small belief, formed as a child, might become true for her–not because it is actually true, but because she believes her thoughts. “Fire is bad. I cannot be safe around fire.” The thought originates in an actual experience, but over time, becomes exaggerated and rigid.
However, if my granddaughter could learn to observe her anxious feelings and test their validity, she might develop a different attitude entirely. After some safe experiences, she could decide that fire was okay–even beautiful. Thus, she would create a new pathway in her brain.
You Can Change Your Thought Patterns
Whether your anxiety is based on danger (like my granddaughter’s), health problems, or fears of inadequacy, the process of creating new pathways is the same. First, you need to understand the connection between your thoughts and your world view. Your thoughts are just thoughts. Simply because you believe something, doesn’t make it a reality. Your thoughts are just thoughts. Once you have established this connection, you can observe your thoughts and decide which ones to embrace and which ones to let float by (Empowered Life Solutions premium content – Floating Leaf Guided Imagery). This puts you back in charge instead of the fear and anxiety.
The whole process might sound easy, but it can actually be as difficult as changing the course of a river. You must train the impulses firing across your brain with a new route. You would not be very effective in changing the pathway of a river by moving a single shovel full of dirt. Successfully forging a new pathway in the brain takes consistent effort, repetition, and positive experiences; but slowly, the trickle of healthy thoughts will turn into a stream and then a river.
Remember, like the pathways in our brain, water can be either constructive or destructive. Water used constructively provides the foundation of life, the power of electricity, and the beauty of nature.
Constructive thoughts give us an empowered life free from fear, anxiety, and worry.