Earworms

IMG_1777Thanks to my daughter’s insistence on listening to a radio station that played older music, which she prefers, I had the song, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” stuck in my mind. Sentimentality aside, it is not a very interesting song to have repeating itself over and over again, all day, for three days.

This phenomenon is now affectionately being called an Earworm. It has several other names and has been appearing in the scientific literature for over a hundred years. Interestingly, these earworms are not unlike other repetitive thoughts that can get stuck in your mind.

One of the most severe forms of having a repetitive though is obsessive-compulsive disorder, but shy of that, many people have repeating thoughts. It has been recognized that when brain cells begin to fire together, they like to continue to fire together. They form a thought rut that is easy to stay in. So, if you are telling yourself that you are not worthy, or not loved, or your fingers are too long, these thoughts will continue to circle around in your brain until you believe them.

I was never in any danger of believing that I was travellin’ and livin’ off the land, but if you repeat anything to yourself, it is difficult to recognize that it is simply misfiring brain cells, not something that you actually know to be true.

If you listen to another song, you can dislodge an Earworm. This will, surprisingly, work for your negative thought patterns as well. If you constantly berate yourself, or put yourself down, you can pay attention to this pattern and repeat a more positive thought. With practise, these positive thoughts will push out the negative ones. An exercise that is worth doing because suddenly, your fingers won’t seem so long — for instance.

What earworms have you had lately? What sort of things are you telling yourself?

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