One of the most fascinating analogies I read in the past few years that truly helped me to understand the importance of something is that sleep is like a dishwasher cycle in our brain.
If we interrupt it or cut it short or stop and start it, we can end up with “gungk” accumulating in our brains just like scum on dishes in a dishwasher.
I know that is an oversimplification of the importance of getting good sleep. But even though I don’t know the exact science behind the “gungk,” I do understand that toxins of any kind in my brain (or any place in my body for that matter) are not healthy. For more on that, check out this Brain and Life article.
My point is that the analogy of the dishwasher was a sound bite (short, concise phrase) which created an image in my mind that sticks with me today. In our world, where we have information overload and more distraction opportunities than we could have ever imagined, sticky sound bites are important.
Politics, the media, and marketing might come to your mind when you think of where sound bites are heavily used (or is it abused?). But let’s remind ourselves that we can use them to our advantage in a healthy way too!
If you are like me, when you lay in bed at night before going to sleep or before rising in the morning, many thoughts go through your head. At night, perhaps you are mulling over a recap of the day, gratitude for blessings, worries about events or thoughts about what the next day will bring.
In the morning, maybe you start with a prayer, some stretches in bed, or visions of what you are looking forward to that day.
In either case, I challenge you to approach your thoughts differently in two ways. One, how can you rephrase it in a short, sound-bite way that you will remember it and even take action on it? And two, how can you spin it positively? No matter what thought is in your head, there IS a silver lining.
Disclaimer: I am not referring to abusive, traumatic, or dysfunctional situations and thoughts related to them.
Even if you aren’t telling someone else about these thoughts, they are in your head which means you are talking to yourself, so keep them positive. Positive thinking triggers a healthy chemical reaction through your body, compared to negative thoughts that release what I call “slowly killing you” chemicals (ah another sound bite that helps me!).
Ok, let’s talk about some examples to make sense of this and encourage you to think about how you may apply it in your own life. Since my professional work is in the money side of life, my brain immediately goes to an example of a positive thinking sound bite as it relates to finances and estate planning.
One example might be if one of the thoughts in your head has been around decluttering, either your stuff or the number of bank accounts you have. Can you come up with a positive sound bite that reframes your mindset to taking action on decluttering?
I was talking with my sister recently, and the declutter concept of “one in, one out” came into our discussion. Initially, I shared it as a successful sound bite/mantra for me when purchasing any non-disposable item. Any time I bring home something new (a pair of shoes or a home decoration for example), I simultaneously select a similar item to donate/sell; “one in, one out.”
My sister liked that concept and applied it to help her prioritize what to do with her newly retired time. She is thinking about decluttering her calendar to remove commitments that no longer speak to her in order to replace them with something that does; “one in, one out.”
That conversation made me think about another sound bite also related to decluttering, finances or otherwise. “If you don’t love it or use it, don’t keep it.” This then made me think of the Personal Property Disposition List I encourage women to use but perhaps it can have a dual purpose.
Have you heard the sound bite “giving while you’re living”? What if you make it a Giving While I’m Living List to identify “stuff” you have but would find joy in watching the ultimate recipient enjoy using it now?
That’s an example of a positive spin sound bite prompting you to take action to gift today instead of (or in addition to) after you are gone. Remember, the research says if we write down our intentions, we are more likely to actually take action on them!
So, tonight and tomorrow morning, as thoughts are going through your head, try creating a sound bite that has a positive spin related to one of your thoughts. Sometimes planting a seed in our brain is all it takes for the thoughts in our head to be off and running with a newly accomplished task or adventure!
Any late night or early morning musings you have had that sparked some action? Do you have favorite sound bites that help you in various ways? Please join the conversation!