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What determines how short-term memories become part of long-term memory?

*"In a word: repetition. It causes a structural change in the brain. By contrast, short-term memories cause no such change and vanish along with the chemicals of which they consist...An emotional event that you keep on revisiting may become a permanent resident of your mind's eye." --Question and Answer from: "Ask Marilyn" by Marilyn vos Savant

This explanation gives a whole new meaning to the spiritual idea that "What we focus and dwell upon––we own."  In the repetition of any idea or experience, in its rethinking, we give it permanent housing within our being.

Only by intentionally stopping any negative thought pattern and replacing it with a new more positive one can we hope to redecorate our inner world. When we begin a downward spiral of sad, depressive, angry, or shameful thinking, it is like drawing the drapes within––our world becomes darkened. The further down this spiral we sink, the more difficult it is to raise ourselves up. At some point, we lose all desire to take such action. Our bodies actually stops producing some of the hormones required to be in a state of joy!

Only by retraining the body and mind can we encourage these hormones to begin producing again. It requires action on our part. It requires the ability to look at our thoughts and catch ourselves in the act of negative thinking. It requires us to make an effort to choose again––to choose a different way of seeing ourselves and the world around us.

• I read an interesting sentence I will share.  "Am I following an unsustainable course?"

To make certain I had all the little nuances of "unsustainable," I tried to looked it up in my Webster's, but it wasn't listed––you had to go to "sustainable" and then put "un" in front of the meanings. Here are a few:

1. To give support or relief to
(UN: Does not support or offer relief)

2. To supply with sustenance: nourish
(UN: Does not supply nourishment)

3. To keep up: prolong
(UN: Does not allow one to keep up)

With these thoughts in mind, stop for a moment and take a look at your chosen path––the work you do, the friends you have, those with whom you have chosen to share closeness.

Is your life sustaining you? Or are the life choices you have made leading you along an unsustainable course?

As long as you are able to breathe life into your body, you have the responsibility of choice.

Repetition of positive thoughts builds a structure of visions within us which support who we are or want to become. Positive movie loops, which play in our minds every time an incident or memory is jogged, help to strengthen our self-esteem and our ability to cope with new challenges in our lives.

On the other hand, negative thoughts build an inner base of self-defeating reference points––movie loops which undermind our ability to reach out and try to successfully complete what we have begun.

Monitor your thoughts, monitor your moods. What causes you to go down a particular memory lane? What triggers these negative or positive waves of emotions? Know yourself, so you can better live in your fullness.

Blessings, Joann Turner