When it comes to our thought life, there are times when negativity begins to cast an ugly shadow on our life. Though we may always experience a little negativity in our mind from time to time, there is another more intense experience that I coined “smurgging” in college.
Smurgging happens when specific negative thoughts repeat themselves over and over in our minds. As the thought reoccurs, the neural pathways in the brain become stronger. A tiny negative thought that repeats itself on a loop builds a stronger (negative) thought muscle. And as this negative thought repeats and strengthens, the thought passes through our mind faster and more frequently.
Literally, negative thoughts can become habitual thoughts over time.
Often, once smurgging takes root in one area of our life, it grows to criticize other areas too. So if smurgging first starts out as an attack against our body (Why can’t I just get into shape already? I have no self-control.), it may also start latching onto our careers or relationships (When am I going to find a job that I love? Why can’t I keep a boyfriend?).
As smurgging spreads it can cast an ugly shadow on almost any area of your life that your ego thinks is “not good enough.”
Fortunately, there is are ways to deescalate a smurgging pattern.
One option is to create an ego “Top 10 List.” Just like pop radio, our ego’s have a hit list. There are usually 5-10 (sometimes more) topics that loop continuously during a smurgging binge. Take some time to write down your ego’s favorite smurgging topics.
By reflecting on smurgging and identifying the topics that are merely ego projections, you can start to disengage from the belief that those thoughts are true… or that they are actually your own intuitive beliefs at all.
These thoughts are not “real” nor are they coming from your intuition. You need to start seeing them as simply false or distorted quotes that play in your head. Nothing more.
It might help to imagine a day where you had a particularly rough time with smurgging. Retrace your steps and observe which thoughts were critical and unnecessarily harsh. Chances are, those overtly mean thoughts are not actually “true” but just an outcome of strong smurgging neural pathways.
Next, visualize your daily routine and identify the places, people, or routines that trigger smurrging on a regular basis.
Like my life client, Julie*, you might find that your workday is rampant with smurgging. To help Julie address her work-centered smurgging, I suggested she listen to positive books** on the subjects her ego likes to smurg about during her commute. By replacing the time to and from work with positive, useful messages she’ll start to interrupt her ego’s smurgging time more and more.
Less time for the ego to smurg means weaker negative neural pathways.
Over time, by identifying smurgging as it’s happening and realizing that it’s not really “You” thinking those thoughts, you can start to take your ego’s rants a little less seriously.
And ultimately, but replacing those nagging fears with with loving, true thoughts you can begin to tip the scales back towards a more loving and positive thought life.
It’s not easy to rewire your brain, but it’s certainly worth it for peace of mind.
Amen and namaste.
* I changed her name for privacy.
*** Franklin has nothing to do with this post, just thought I’d add a little puppy to your Tuesday morning.