A friend has used the following phrase so many times recently that it’s got me thinking. She says,
“My mind, at night, often goes round and round, like a washing machine.”
This is so disturbing that she sometimes has to get up. How well are you able to control and direct your thoughts? Do you find yourself getting locked into a cycle of unhelpful thinking?
The metaphors and similes we choose can often become part of the transformational process to move us towards more of what we really want in life. Our own stories can help us move forward. In this case, her mind was not being a great friend, running over and over the same old cycle. I wonder, could she change the cycle?
A Curious Case of Tinnitus
Milton Erickson is famous as one of the most influential people in getting hypnosis taken seriously by the medical profession as a therapeutic technique. It is claimed that Milton healed someone of troubling tinnitus by using stories and metaphors where the sufferer learned to re-tune their ears so that they didn’t hear the ringing anymore. The concept is similar to the phenomenon of clearly hearing our name used in a loud party environment where we can’t seem to hear the person next to us. We have selective hearing – as all parents know when it comes to getting the children to hear it’s time to tidy their rooms! Milton helped the sufferer re-select what they heard, and the tinnitus vanished!
Changing The Way We Think
So, if you have troubling thoughts that go round and round like a washing machine, could you change the programme? Could you add fabric softener to make the thoughts more gentle on your mind? Could you throw a dark sock into a white wash and change the results?! Could you advance the programme to spin (thereby exaggerating the thoughts to high speed so that they sound funny?) I’ve heard the spin cycle can be fun! Could you turn the machine off?
Personally, I’m not always conscious of the metaphors I use. Sometimes, it takes a friend to notice the patterns we are repeating to describe our experiences. However, if you were aware of the metaphors and similes you use, what would they be? I’ve heard people describe life as dealing them a poor hand (as in a game of cards). In that case, learning to have a poker-face could still win the game even if the cards are terrible! Bluff until you win!
What’s Your Story?
Once you get the storyline, you can often tweak it and change it for the better. So what’s your story?
How would you like it to change?