Live Better. Love Better. Work Better.

Cognitive Twitter: What Are You Re-Tweeting?

By: Bridgette W. Gottwald, LPC, NCC

This week I had an interesting and super inspiring session with a client of mine that I’ve been working with for the last year and a half. In response to a negatively charged comment about herself, I said “You’re stronger than you think and give yourself credit for.” She said excitedly “RE-TWEET!” in response. From there, that response of hers became the precedent for the rest of the session. What did she mean by that? Well, turns out she knows that what I said is true deep down, and she believes it, but negative self-talk and rumination can get the best of her sometimes – many of us can relate. 

People who ruminate dwell repetitively over negative thoughts in their head that are typically related to failure, rejection, humiliation, loss, or retaliation. It can take a person to a negative place of self-sabotage and quickly get out of control. Fortunately, my client permitted me to write about this topic when I asked, of course with the understanding that I’d maintain secrecy and confidentiality. Typically, some of my favorite moments in session with my clients are when they have what I call a “light bulb moment.” It’s that circumstance where they make a big realization and connect dots as they are processing through their feelings, thought patterns, and behaviors. This moment usually starts with a big “Oooohhh!” 

Twitter in Comparison to the Brain – What? 

If you’re familiar with Twitter, you know that you have a “feed” where other people’s tweets appear, and you can contribute to that feed by adding in comments yourself. So, what you’re looking at on your feed stimulates thought, takes up space in your brain, and after seeing it, you process it. Thus, if we think of Twitter in comparison to the brain, the “feed” represents the thoughts we find worthy enough to attach ourselves to or pick apart, or in the case of Twitter, the things that are worth reacting to or posting to your profile page. What you post to your page makes up your profile, and remains there, unless deleted. So, in a way, what you post on Twitter defines your profile. Similarly, within the brain the thoughts you “tweet” (aka process and attach to) are going to make up your reality – they’ll control your stream of conscious and thought patterns, which can affect both your mood and behavior. Interesting concept, right? 

Controlling Your Feed…and Thoughts

This has probably gotten you thinking – what does my mental Twitter feed look like and what am I paying attention to? Am I being negative or positive? What’s fueling and comprising my profile? Maybe there are some things you want to change, or maybe you have your thoughts and self-talk down to a science. Regardless, awareness here is key. Once we are aware of what dominates our reality, we can better take control of it. What are things you’d like to change about the way you think? Maybe you tend to be self-critical, or particularly judgmental of others, or negative about the way you look, or hard on yourself about things you have done or haven’t done. No matter what your thought process looks like, be open to and realize that there is always room for growth and self-improvement. 

Altering My Thought Process

If you’re my client, you’ve certainly heard me say this before, but if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. To get a different result, we have to implement a new behavior or intervention. Troubleshoot until you find what works for you. Here’s an example. 

Say you have to give a presentation at work and you struggle with this. So, before every presentation saying “I’m an idiot, people are going to think I am so dumb and bad at this” before you go gets you down, try some positive self-talk or reassurance instead. Reframe that comment into something that looks like this: “This is hard for me but I can do this and believe that all the people watching are rooting for me, not against me.” The concept of reframing can take us a long way and make that “feed” a much happier thing to look at, or in the case of your brain, a better place to be. Good luck everyone!

Symmetry Counseling Recent News Image 4
Recent Posts

When to Go to Couples Therapy? When You Notice These 3 Sign

Apr 30, 2024

Zoe Mittman, LSW If you’re asking the question “when to go to couples therapy”, you are in the right place. I am going to spend some time talking about 3 signs couples therapy may be a good fit for you.…

Read More

Healing the Heart – Tips for How to Get Over a Breakup

Apr 23, 2024

Breakups can be extremely difficult for both the heart and the mind. Grieving the loss of a relationship is taxing both mentally and emotionally. Whether you initiated the breakup or are the individual being broken up with, the pain and…

Read More

Surviving the Holidays: 5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Apr 16, 2024

Paula Gonzalez MA, LPC, ADHD-CCSP, CIMHP                                                                                         The Christmas holiday season can be filled with “tidings of comfort and joy!.” It can also be filled with lots of invitations to holiday parties that will have you “rockin’ around the Christmas tree…

Read More