Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Dissect your thought-worms

A while back a BBC Radio 3 presenter explored the concept of ear-worms. These are melodies and fragments of music that despite our best endeavours play in our minds over and over again, like an auditory itch that cannot be scratched. 

The melodies that become ear-worms vary from person to person. Some of my own ear-worms are the Imperial March from the film Star Wars and the opening of Elgar’s 1st Symphony. Sometimes I just cannot get these tunes out of my head! What ear-worms do you have? 

We suffer from thought-worms in a similar way. These are ideas, questions and intuitive feelings that burrow away noisily within our minds. 

The reason we become so distracted by both ear and thought-worms is their insistent, repetitive and unchanging nature. Over and over again we hear and experience the same things and the more we try not to hear or think about them the louder and more persistent they become. 

The Radio 3 presenter encouraged her listeners to embrace and celebrate their ear-worms: to find out more about them, to examine their characteristics and place them within the broader context of the music as a whole. 

You can do similar with your thought-worms. Rather than becoming trapped within a repeating loop of thoughts and feelings you can interrupt the process.
Dissect your thought-worms and examine them. From where did they originate? What makes them so fascinating and insistent? What is the bigger picture or context that surrounds them? What important feelings or messages underpin them? What new directions could they point out and what discoveries could they help you unearth? 

By uncovering the mysterious attractions of your thought-worms you will discover their true meanings and the resulting insights you gain will shake your thoughts out of their repetitive loops and help steer them in new and stimulating directions.

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