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Thought Worms Are Real

Thought Worms have a bias for negativity.

At a recent conference Kate Billing was speaking about being “Fully Human”.

She touched on one subject that was that “Aha” moment we all hope to get when spending time with great presenters.

A subject that explains so much of the mental mayhem that takes up space in our brains and affects our daily wellbeing. Those thoughts that hold us back from being the best version of ourselves. The ones that delve into our past like watching a repeat movie knowing it doesn’t end well for the hero yet we keep watching it.

The regrettable thought. Or the thought that tells us we aren’t good enough or prepared enough to complete that task. The Self-deprecating thought.

And so the list goes on.

In 2020 research from Queens University conducted by Dr Jordan Poppenk using advanced MRI technology discovered the “Thought Worm.” Not the sandworms from Dune or the earthworm in your garden, but the thought worm created by your brain collecting data and creating a thought.

We average 6200 of these a day. From “What will I have for lunch?” to “I should be better than I am.”

Now here is the kicker. Coupled with research from the US National Science Foundation who in 2005 found that the average person has 80% negative thoughts and of those, 95% are repeated daily. This is not good. This state is a hindrance to our personal productivity and wellbeing.

This means that the average person is reinforcing the negative thought through frequency and their inner self is listening while the brain is talking.

Thought Worms are storytellers. What story do you want to hear?

Can we change the ratio of the thoughts, so we have more stories that are progressive and uplifting rather than protective and spiraling?

The 3 steps to changing your story are:

Step 1. Acknowledge

Welcome the thought and give it space to understand its origins.

Step 2. Accept

Regardless of the origins and the data provided, accept the thought. You are in control of what happens next.

Step 3. Action

If the thought was negative, what is the opposite action you can take to counter prove it wrong? If the thought was positive, what action will you take to make it true?

Thought Worms are real, so be a worm tamer and acknowledge, accept and take action from your thoughts.

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