When I lived in England I had a beautiful garden; at least that’s the way I saw it. My passion was to grow conifers and in our London home, I had over 30 of them in 11 different varieties. Our Kent home was no different in variety only less in number. Apart from conifers, we had a large variety of other plants, shrubs and grasses. And without doubt, whenever we planted anything it got bigger but never multiplied in number. Despite all the tender loving care and nurturing, our fuchsia remained a fuchsia! It’s as if there is a single-mindedness to the positive forces of nature! On the other hand, we somehow always had a collection of weeds, I never bought or planted a single one of them in all the time I worked my garden but that, they found a way in, not just into my garden; but without a lot of effort, they would eventually find their way throughout every part of it! And over the past 20 years, I have noticed that life parallels many of our everyday pursuits!
So the parallel between a garden, nature and our brain and mind is like that too and the analogy is that plants represent our positive thoughts and the weeds the negative. It is an almost universal truth, that most of the clients I meet as a therapist, have a greater tendency to gravitate towards negative thoughts and behaviours than they do towards the positive. And with the momentous rise in cases of anxiety, stress and depression, this is becoming the number 1 area of concern for the medical profession. Essentially this is because these conditions have a large impact in human function and, in more cases, than we know of, are large contributors to major illness and disease! Anxiety, as a disorder, is perhaps the worst type of negative experience. This is because it is about the anticipation of fear or danger, not the actual presence of it! If you are on an aeroplane and it starts to bounce all over the sky, that will produce a natural fear response (fight or flight). However, when you are sitting at home the day before the flight and you start to panic about the plane you will catch tomorrow, that is anxiety! Despite knowing, logically and rationally, that it is not a real experience, your brain will respond as if it real. So, in both of these scenarios, your body's response will be almost identical. Anxiety is all about the possibility of something happening, be it in a minute, an hour, week, month or more in the future. For the most part, this is a consequence of the world we live in. Negative, fake or alternative news is being thrown at us morning, noon and night and this just didn't happen overnight, it's been going on for years, it's just that now we get to hear about it so much more quickly than ever before!. It’s on your mobile device, PC, TV, newspapers, the corner shop and even at the bus stop if you’re there too long! When we watch the evening news channel we get it in words and pictures and just in case you miss anything there is often the continual newsreel running along the bottom! And please remember, we subconsciously absorb things we don't consciously see or acknowledge; believing is not always seeing! On the other hand, the positive news is just so much harder to come by; despite there being so much of it! Because of this, we become deficient in the beneficial effects of good news. Whether the news is bad or good is not really the issue, the issue is how we respond to the news and science has proven, that if you are in a negative mindset, bad news proliferates our emotional responses! In the same way, that money goes to the monied; neurosis goes to the neurotic!
Why does it work this way? Well, it's because whatever we experience in our world (via our senses), it evokes a network of neurochemical responses from within us and what we feel, emotionally, is the result of the neurochemical transmission that ensues. We can refer to these as good or bad chemicals; even though they most usually have a positive intent. However, these chemical messengers are not good or bad per se; they are only good or bad relative to how they make us feel. Because of the way our neural circuitry works, the more connections we make the stronger they become, as Donald Hebb said: "cells that fire together, wire together" (Hebbian plasticity). And when we talk about cells firing together, we are talking multiple thousands or millions of connections relative to any thought we have. The more we have any particular thought or feeling, the more chance there is that some new connections will be made or, alternatively, existing circuits will be updated/strengthened. It is estimated that the human brain is capable of in excess of 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one thousand trillion) connections! Apparently, that is more seconds than have passed since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth 65 billion years ago; I’ll take their word for that? The point though, is, that if you set yourself on a course of seeking a positive mindset, with positive self-talk; your brain will deliver a more positive experience of life and that's what true living is all about? However, developing a positive mindset is not as easy as just saying "think positive!" The reason for that is because, empirically I have noticed that almost every client I see, has a language pattern that is predicated on vague, ambiguous or negative tendencies. Ask a client with an anxiety disorder, "what do you want" and they'll likely say "I don't want to have this anxiety!" However, that is not what they want, it's what they don't want? Another common response to a question is, " think." bla bal bla. Generally when we say "I think." we4 are saying, "I don't know." And of course, it's OK if you don't know, the problem is in most case when a client says, "I think," they actually say it in the context that they do know. Sometimes they actually do know but still say I think . . . this creates mental confusion, at the level of deep structure language. Basically, we talk in riddles and expect our brain to make sense, of non-sense, occasionally, nonsense too!
So, in hypnosis, I use the parallel of the garden to the mind and the processes of the brain to those of the universe itself; after all, that's where we came from? Life is a process and the way the brain works follows that process, to certain degrees, because people have been planing ideas in your mind since the day you were born. In hypnotherapy, I use that same universal logic, I just plant ideas and suggestions that will help you to get what you want; of course, once we have together worked out exactly what that is. Exactly because the brain needs clarity and certainty! Ask a stranger directions to your destination and the more clearly they are given and understood, the greater the chances are that you will arrive at your destination(goal)!
Conclusion: We have immense powers that emanate inside of each of us. What we each achieve in life has more to do with how we think, talk and behave than where you come from! So, if you want to feel and function better and get more out of life. . . . . Be careful what you plant in your Garden!