Everyone has a story—it’s just in how we tell it
Hey you MonsteRiser,
I’m a natural born storyteller! Someone who loves telling stories. I love the way words form in my head and take shape. Even when I least expect it.
Storytelling is an art. Not science.
In fact, an article that appeared in Inc. Magazine coined it when the author shared, “It’s been proven that we’re hardwired to learn better if someone’s words have meaning and emotion to them.”
A tweetable moment! …
That sheds light on the notion that our brains love good storytelling. Even if it can’t distinguish from a good story versus a bad story, every story has an arc and the emotions that are triggered affects us intrinsically.
At the risk of going too brainy on you:
Imagine the prefrontal cortex that is the mothership of everything that happens in our brain—cognition, motor skills, problem-solving, spontaneity, memory, language, judgment, impulses, social skills. Ultimately, how we think, remember and behave.
To simplify: our brain cells release a neurotransmitter chemical known as “neuronal firing”, and when the cells communicate frequently, the connection grows stronger and stronger. With enough frequency and repetition, things become automatic. Like mindless tasks such as washing the dishes—to more savvy tasks like memorizing the 1,200 chords in 7 different octaves on the piano.
So what? Get to the point I hear you saying…
Be patient. I’m getting there! I had to paint the picture first. 😊
So…. If repetition is the key to how our minds form an opinion or memory, what do you think happens when we clog up our prefrontal cortex with negative thoughts and stories?
Neuroscientists have found that negative thoughts follow the same pattern as mindless tasks. The more we “ruminate” about something or the more negative stories loop in our minds, the stronger they become.
“This is why thoughts cause depression, anxiety, pain, obsession, and compulsion,” reported Dr. Deann Ware in her article Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together.
Said another way: We become the writer, the producer and the director of the stories we tell ourselves.
We don’t get that job we hoped for. We think: I’m not good enough.
We don’t make it to the gym AGAIN. We think: I’m lazy.
We get rejected by the guy we asked out on a date. We think: I’m not pretty enough.
The business we launched fails. We think: I’m worthless.
We tell ourselves stories to help us cope. But what if we were to reframe the narrative?
What if instead of allowing Doubt, Worry, Fear, Regret or any monster to hijack our thoughts, we rewired our brains. Take for example you get the news that you didn’t get that job you’d been hoping for. And on that same day, you bump into an old friend who mentioned that her employer is hiring for the same job and pays 25% more. She’s even offered to put in a good word for you.
A) Ruminate on a story that you created about why you didn’t get the job that paid 25% less? Or;
B) Turn your attention to the higher paying job and count your blessings?
More often than not, our brains are hardwired to focus on A. Why? Because it’s easier to fret than it is to reframe.
But don’t be defrayed.
Recent breakthrough studies found that we have more control over our brains than we give ourselves credit for.
Why is this important to know?
Because if we learn how to change the narrative about the stories we tell ourselves, perhaps we have the ability to reshape our brains that can reshape our lives.
Now let me be very honest with you! I feel like the cat calling the kettle black.
Though I’m very clear about where I am in my life. Some days I can debunk the stories that form in my brain! And other times, I get all caught up in the looping.
But here’s the thing… We’re only human.
So it’s okay to tell yourself stories from time to time just as long as you avoid the use of limiting words. Never, put yourself down. And never ever, ever believe that you are your story—especially the self-defeating ones.
XO… Stay inspired!