Purple pandas and green giraffes
Challenge: for the next 15 seconds, do NOT think about purple pandas.
Don’t imagine them romping through their bright purple panda fields. Don’t picture them climbing up their big purple trees or drinking from their beautiful, flowing purple waterfall.
I mean it, stop thinking about purple pandas! Did you stop thinking about them yet?
Ok good, because now I want you to think about bright green giraffes.
Imagine their long green necks stretching up to eat the leaves on the big green trees.
Their baby green giraffes are playing nearby in the field, running around on the thick green grass.
Now… how are your purple pandas doing?
Gone, right? (At least until I asked!)
Well, the same thing happens in your brain with negative and positive thoughts.
Trying NOT to think negative thoughts (like not thinking about the purple pandas) is only going to put your brain on a mission to think them… and to keep thinking about them!
→ In fact, the more you try NOT to think about certain things, the more you end up thinking about them.
There is even a name for it: “The Pink Elephant Paradox.”
A few examples of thoughts that don’t serve you: I’m not good enough, I’m just going to quit anyway, I should be faster, I should be stronger, I should be better by now, etc.
No matter which negative thoughts may run through your head … the more you think about them, the more likely you are to believe them.
But when you REPLACE those negative thoughts with positive ones (aka the green giraffes!)...
You shift your attention and choose thoughts that serve you and support your goals.
Examples of thoughts that DO serve you: I always give it my absolute best, I show up for myself, I’m the kind of person who does what it takes, I can do anything I set my mind to, etc.
It’s not something that happens automatically. It’s an active process.
We ALL have negative thoughts, but it’s a choice to listen to them.
So, green giraffes for the win, right? I hope this exercise helped!