Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Earworms? Ewwwww! Just the thought of something creepy crawling around in your ear might send shivers down your spine. But whether you know it or not, there is a good chance that you have a bad case of earworms right now. And the earworms in your head are either creating a living heaven or a living hell on a regular basis. Isn’t it time you learned what they were and how they can help you live SMART 365?
Okay, I’ll admit that until today I didn’t know what earworms were either. This morning I learned that an earworm is a great way to think about that endless feedback loop of conversation running through your head—over and over again. Similar to an 8-track cassette from the 1970s, most of us have a tape in our head that replays songs or messages or statements in a continual loop. Unfortunately, with an 8-track you could always turn the music off and put in another tape. With an earworm, there is no off button and like a worm, the message is often so deep inside us that we aren’t even aware it is there. Even worse, there is a good chance you have dozens of earworms playing out messages repeatedly in your head on a regular basis.
What are some of your earworms? Still doubting? Think about a really catchy song you heard recently and how that song stuck in your mind and at the strangest time began playing through your head. Earworms are like that—you will be going about your business and then all of a sudden that darn worm will start on an endless loop. Or worse, in the middle of the night you will wake up and there is that song again. Hopefully, if you regularly listen to positive and uplifting music, the songs in your head are positive. Tunes like, “Beauty in the world” are a great reminder to look around and see the good. But let’s face it; there are plenty of songs out there that aren’t so uplifting. If your favorite song is “Just can’t get no satisfaction” then don’t be surprised if you find yourself constantly frustrated by circumstances in your life.
But earworms are not just limited to looping song lyrics in your head. Unfortunately, the mental feedback loops can be any thing that you heard and then repeated in your mind over and over. It might be something true—or just as likely be something false. The sad truth is that your mind doesn’t care. Our brains, brilliant as they might be, will take what info it is fed, and then regurgitate it over and over unless we monitor the process. Much like the computer saying of, “garbage in—garbage out,” our minds tend to build on and reinforce whatever we feed it on a regular basis. And with the help of an earworm, it plays that message over and over and over again.
So if your mother or father constantly told you that you could do anything you set your mind to—chances are good you are fairly confident about trying new things. However, if you were continually told by your teachers that you were brainless child and would never amount to anything, that might be a message that your earworm loves to repeat on a regular basis. Plus, those earworm messages aren’t limited to our childhood. As we grow we collect statements along the way that for one reason or another we decided applied to us. Again, they may or may not be true. But something about those ideas stick with us, and earworms make sure they start playing whenever the right occasion occurs.
Again, what are some of your earworms? Until we recognize what is actually playing in our heads on a regular basis they can make our life a living heaven or a living hell. Once we identify those earworm messages, we can then take steps to stop them and replace them with something more positive that fits into our goals and dreams for the future. Keep in mind that you can’t just ignore the old earworms—they are extremely persistent and must be replaced with stronger and even more resilient earworms to take your life in the direction you wish to go.
A great example occurs in the recent movie, “The Help.” In the movie, a small child (who constantly criticized and rejected by her mother) is instead given a steady diet of positive statements by a loving nanny. Her nanny says to her several of times a day, “You are smart, you are kind, and you are important.” After which, the nanny then asks the little girl to repeat those statements to herself. Those earworms are ones that each and every one of us can use to live a happier life.
Earworms still sound creepy to me but that makes them a good way to remember something that has more power over our lives than we generally realize. Next time a song pops into your head do yourself a favor and clearly recognize that earworm. Better yet, next time you hear a critical message playing out in your mind, stop it, and tell yourself, “Your are smart, you are kind and you are important.” That earworm, or another equally empowering one, can help you live SMART 365.
“You become what you think about most of the time.” – Brian Tracy
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” – Claude M. Bristol