Sometimes we have trouble dismissing a thought that gets stuck in our brain. So we worry…and worry. We obsess over things to the point that anxiety sets in. That’s even more of a curse.
There is a difference between what’s possible and what’s probable. Our mind may be on the wrong track.
Compare the brain to a horse and a rider operating as a team but separate and distinct from one another. The rider represents the conscious mind, the horse the unconscious. The rider thinks he’s in charge, but the horse has the final say. The horse is bigger, stronger and faster than the rider. They may not agree which direction to go. Presented with identical input they may come to different conclusions.
I have a friend who lived the horse/rider metaphor. He took riding lessons at camp when he was a youngster and became proficient enough to play ‘capture the flag’ with the better riders. He said, “It was great, till my horse veered off the field and bolted to the barn––nearly low-bridging me on his way through the door.”
The rider thought he was in charge.
The conscious (rider) brain doesn’t fully develop until about age 25 which leads to irrational, illogical decisions. Mom says, “Don’t touch the stove, it’s hot,” but the toddler touches the stove. “Good grief, she just did what I told her not to.”
The unconscious (horse) brain remains a bucking bronco until the rider is powerful enough to tame it. Some people never quite get a handle on their impulses. Even the most skilled rider can be at the mercy of a worked-up horse.
Suppose your mind is preoccupied with something you can’t shake––your weight. You crave something you know isn’t good for you. You vow to diet and eat healthy––no cheeseburgers, burritos or the like. Gather your willpower and march past McDonald’s, Burger King or Taco Bell with dilated eyes and flared nostrils. Your obsessed mind will be off to the races. Anxiety is next.
Hey rider, distract the horse.