Thinking Out Loud – Retrain Your Brain


I just sat here professing my love of the back to school season yet this time of year is not all sunshine, unicorns and pretty pencils for me.

I must quickly tell you that I HATE sharpening pencils and my son seems to go through pencil points as if it’s a point per paragraph. And, if I leave him in charge of the sharpening, the shavings end up all over my floor instead of inside the sharpener. I bought the mechanical pencils to remedy this but that may leave me broke pretty soon considering how many are lost like pairs of socks.

The flip side to my love of the crisp weather, the start of hockey season and Halloween candy is this battle I have internally with a feeling of dread and uneasiness which attempts to ruin my candy apple fun.


Sometimes it takes me a moment to even understand what the heck is bothering me and then I realize…..

I was engaged in the fall of 2000.

I was married in the fall of 2001.

My son was born and we moved to our first house in the fall of 2003.


Fall 2004, a few weeks after his first birthday.

Fall 2005 involved going to contract on a new (oh my goodness beautiful) home along with crazy pumpkin displays and hosting over the top parties.

halloween 2005

Halloween party at our house 2005.

And along with the good fall memories, were the bad fall memories…

My marriage kinda crumbled in the fall of 2006.

Things kinda started to maybe come back together in the fall of 2007.

Life moved forward as a single mom in fall of 2009.

I am so far removed from those moments in my life that most of them don’t feel like they were even my life and really, I am so happy with where I am now and how things have turned out that the dreaded feeling which creeps in confuses me.

But I guess all of those moments are still a part of me because they did happen to me and I cannot change that.

When these moments hit me, which they do, literally out of nowhere in flashback mode at random times throughout the day based upon what I see, smell and hear, I have learned to retrain my brain.

In my opinion, the brain involuntarily thinks and recalls certain things and it’s up to us to override and remind ourselves what is or isn’t anymore.

If you ever get caught up in a negative thought process or thinking about anything that is upsetting or not productive for you, do something called thought stopping.

stop sign

It sounds so ridiculous and silly but trust me, if you really need to stop a thought process, focusing on an image of a stop sign in your head will absolutely break your train of thought.

Sometimes our brains just need a talking to. Like, we need to retrain it to understand we are in charge and will override when we see fit.

It’s like another internal checks and balances of sorts.

You can retrain your brain to realize that you certainly can wake up early to exercise. Although your brains says you are tired and cannot possibly get up to move it, you know that getting out of bed to run or workout will energize you more than lying around and will make you feel good for the rest of the day.


I was at the gym yesterday bright and early watching (spying) my son get on the bus from the elliptical machine.

Retrain your brain to understand that you do like lots of vegetables.

Surprisingly, I was once a really picky eater.

trader joes groceries

Yesterday’s big Trader Joe’s grocery haul. More on what I bought tomorrow.

Even as I became more adventurous in my eating, I was so used to saying no I don’t like mushrooms and please bring my salad without the avocado that I would automatically order my food without those foods and then quickly need to change it when I remembered.

Your brain may see a dessert menu, bread basket or slice of pizza and freak out in fear of gaining weight. Override that please and let your brain know that it is okay to indulge and enjoy, that carbs are not the enemy and that you will not gain five pounds from one meal or dessert.

When your brain tells you to stop running because you aren’t capable of long distance or that you can’t keep up a pace, don’t listen.

whether you think you can quote

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!


Do certain times of the year spark old memories you would rather not think about?

What’s one food you used to think you hated and now love?


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  1. says

    I can very much relate to certain seasons bringing back certain memories… and then those certain memories threatening to overtake you if you don’t stop them dead in their track. I don’t think enough people realize that YOU control your own thoughts, and that you can put a stop to the bad ones if you make a conscious effort. I mean, sometimes you gotta ride those negative emotions out and let them fizzle on their own, but there comes a point where you need to say NOPE — not gonna wallow in this anymore — and move on. And I used to hate basically everything that I eat now 😛
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #96 .My Profile

  2. says

    Hmmm I should start retraining my brain with this pickyness. It’s weird. Although whenever I go out for meals with my friend I am somehow more adventurous. Imagine that. I guess he’s a good influence on me or something. Baby steps. I definitely do think it’s possible to retrain the brain though. It makes me sad when people think they’ll gain 5 pounds from eating coldstone or a slice of cake. NO. Enjoy it. Happiness is more important than eating “healthy” 110% of the time.
    sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Just a few thingsMy Profile

    • says

      Sometimes going out with other people, especially the male friend kind of other people (you like how I am throwing that in lol) we tend to eat different things and try stuff we usually wouldn’t. I didn’t eat sushi until I was thirty and boy was I missing out. And yes, totally sad when people skip Cold Stone or another dessert because they are missing out on yummy happiness.

  3. says

    Wow this post is really hitting all the points I’ve been trying to make over the past year. I’ve had to retrain my brain for so many things. This goes so much further than just food or exercise. I can’t believe how long I let the past control the way I reacted to the present situation. As soon as I stopped letting triggering events control the outcome, things started to change (for the better). I’m really hoping I can convince myself that you can in fact get up an run in the mornings – guess I gotta get my mantra together 🙂
    Thanks for sharing – this was a great post and just what I needed today – I’m in control of my thoughts – and if there is anything holding me back it’s me!
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…So I Wanna Run a Half Marathon – Any Advice???My Profile

    • says

      Aw I am glad I hit those points for you. It takes time to retrain the brain and heal from the past but once you do, it makes the present a little bit easier. The past stuff really can make us stronger if we only learn to understand where to apply the lessons.

  4. says

    Excellent post. I’m not sure everyone realizes being happy takes work, and part of that is stopping those negative thoughts that creep into your mind or change the focus to things that make you happy. Taking care of yourself is part of it too and it’s not always easy either, but it’s doable and the consequences of those choices are so worth it.

    • says

      Thank you. What people need to realize is that it takes so much more energy to walk around upset, angry and negative all of the time. Figuring out how to put things into perspective and recognize the negative destructive thought processes takes time and work but once you get there, life is that much easier.

  5. says

    I like the idea of retraining your brain. I need to do that with this school year. I have a pretty difficult bunch of kids, but I definitely don’t want to just be negative about it.