Research at the University of Florida has demonstrated that it's possible to change your mood by changing your thoughts. If you show human subjects pictures of scary, worrisome, or fearful events then you can effect the mood of the subject. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it’s good to know that it’s true, because the opposite is also true – showing subjects positive, happy, hopeful images improves their mood, their expectations and their confidence levels.
Student subjects shown unpleasant pictures developed a quicker startle response, their foreheads wrinkled, and their anxiety levels increased when compared to those shown neutral or pleasant pictures. The importance of that to us is that when your mind is playing old movies full of worry, negative expectations, fears, and the like, we are showing ourselves the kinds of images that can degrade our mood, energy and confidence.
By becoming more conscious of our thoughts, and sorting out those that are habitual, inaccurate, no longer relevant, or just no use to pay attention, to, we can switch our attention to other thoughts and images that serve us better – improving our mood, increasing our happiness, building our creativity and confidence. My friend and colleague at the Academy for Guided Imagery, Dr. David Bresler, says, “If your mind was a garden, when was the last time you pulled any weeds.”
Your mind is very much like a garden, and you can make much more choice of what you grow there by learning to pay attention, analyze the value of your thoughts, and choose which ones you want to nurture and grow.