Have you noticed your brain is habitually asking questions? It happens automatically and goes on constantly throughout the day. For many, the questions generated during smooth times are torturous enough to cause stress, anxiety, anger and even depression.
But look at our world right now. We must add on the extra challenges of these times, and we see that many of us will have a brain that is producing more questions than ever before. Not only that, but it’s possible to fill that brain will limitless facts and factoid type information that lead to a stream of stress-producing answers. More stress. More anxiety. And more fear.
The Google Brain
Think of your brain as an automatic Google search engine, and when presented with a question, that ‘brain’ begins to search for an answer. It doesn’t matter if the answers cause you pain and misery. The internal search engine just goes on looking for answers.
And, somewhat like Google search, you could scroll through 100 answers, and still seek more if you are really curious. Likewise, our brains will keep generating answers, and spin-off solutions/thoughts, so that you have more and more to think about. Answers, ruminations and thoughts abound when the Google brains seeks answers.
But it even gets better (or worse, depending upon how you see this)!
Google Brain on Steroids.
If we don’t seize control of this process, our brains will begin to contemplate the answers. And then, automatically and reflexively, new questions emerge. Or course, our brains now begin generating answers for those new questions.
And the loop begins to unfold, over and over again. Questions, and answers. That can generate more questions and answers. That again, generate more questions and answers.
Now, you can see how this often spirals out of control, for adults and for children.
When the Google Brain Serves Us & When It’s Not
So, the Google Brain is neither bad nor good. It’s just an automatic machine, that runs based upon our programming, genetics, life experiences, etc. But for most of us, we never consider how automatic this process is. The questions and answers flow, and the results are produced instantly.
These results then create entirely different worlds, depending upon the quality of the questions our brain produce. A life of misery for some. A life of blah, blah and more blah for others. And still, for others, happiness abounds.
It all depends upon the quality of the question as that that directly influences the quality of the answers our brains generate.
Poor Questions Lead to Miserable Lives
Many of us wake up to a brain that starts producing poor questions before we get out of bed. Likely, similar questions to what parents and grandparents struggled with over the years. Similar in the structure of the questions, while the content of the question might change a bit. But negatively biased questions can be filled with all sorts of negative content. Here are some examples:
- When will the kids start screaming today?
- Why can’t I just wake up feeling better?
- Why doesn’t my wife/husband get up first and take care of this so I can sleep?
- How much longer can I put up with this negativity?
- Why can’t I get ahead?
- Why don’t people treat me better? Love me more? Appreciate me more?
- Why don’t the kids listen? What’s wrong with them?
- How much longer will this go on? I can’t take it.
- How come I end up with the short end of the stick in life?
- Why can’t I lose weight? Save money? Find the love of my life?
- Why were my parents so mean to me?
- Why does my boss get so angry?
- Will this virus get to me and kill me?
- Why don’t people just follow the rules and stay home?
- How can anyone be so greedy to take all that toilet paper?
- Why I am so angry? Scared? Sad? Frustrated?
The list here is limitless. The point here is that each of these questions flows without interruption to a series of answers and more questions. And almost every single one leads down the path to misery. So, what is one to do?
Seize Control with Quality Questions.
The trick here is simple. Give that amazing Google brain better questions to work with, and it will come up with better answers.
This is guaranteed, provided three conditions are met. First, you ask and seek with a sincere and authentic interest in the question and answer. Secondly, you resist the cynicism of the old Google Brain approach and refuse to consider doubts, negativity or skepticism in your new direction. And finally, you do this consistently, day in and day out.
Now, here are a few examples of quality questions to start the day. Write down these answers, whenever you can so that you take them more seriously.
- What am I grateful for? In what ways am I blessed?
- How might I touch someone’s life today, to bring lightness or a smile to their life?
- Who do I love, and how can I show them how deeply I care?
- Where can I find the beauty that I too often ignore?
- How has my life been the perfect unfolding of events to prepare me for this crisis?
- In what ways can I make a difference today?
- How often could I think of joyful moments today, and let that guide my emotions?
- If my funeral were tomorrow [it’s not!] and today is the only day everyone remembers, what would I want them to say about me?
- How do I want those I love to experience me today?
- I wonder how much love and joy I could share with others today?
- What will happen if I smile all day long today? I wonder….
- In what ways could I discover joy today, that affirms my life is good.
- How might I embrace parts of my life that I have refused to accept, and with that acceptance, finally get over the past?
If you do this, life will get better. Seize control of that Google Brain. At first, changing momentum is hard. But you can do it! Stay strong and choose questions that serve you. Abandon those questions that bring misery or angst.
And remember Dr. Cale’s Toolkit for Tough Times: Go to TerrificParenting.com and sign up for my free ‘Toolkit for Tough Times.’ Lots of videos and downloads, and practical guidelines for getting through these tricky times at home with the kids.