Clicker training is a method used for training animals (and children) that uses a bridge (the clicker) between a behavior and its reward. The idea is that the bridge can be faster than the reward. At its best, Clicker training is for positive reinforcement.
Why are we talking about training methods? Because, dear reader, we are going to disrupt all of the brain weasels you identified yesterday.
Specifically, we are going to use a bridge device to help domesticate them. Here is the thing about brain weasels, like any other thought pattern, repetition is a rehearsal. If you let them cycle unchecked they get stronger. For some, the cycles are strong enough that they are debilitating. And to be clear, there are neural differences that make disrupting them ridiculously hard.
The bridge I am suggesting today is using air, movement, and vibration to disrupt the patterns. Here is a shortlist of tools that work as a bridge, they will be most effective if you remember the reward at the end. So at the first sign of a brain weasel cycle, stop and label the weasel, then do one of these:
- Take a deep breath. Inhale, hold the expanded position, then exhale.
- Inhalation and exhale a hum as loud and long as you can get away with in the situation.
- Literally shake it out. Shake your body. If you know tremor — do that.
- 5 Minute dance party.
- Jump (As high as you can, as many times as you can).
Then get yourself a small reward, you will have to plan and stock these. Be it a small piece of chocolate, some chips, or a coffee/tea/whatever.
The idea is to stop the weasels in process, insert a disruption, and then reward yourself for succeeding however briefly. You are rewarding the interruption in the cycle because that is how you rewrite the cycle.
Brain weasels love to roam while you are in the presence of other people. In these situations using your breathing as a disruption is your best bet. It can also help to really focus on listening to the person or persons in front of you. It is very hard to listen to your brain weasels if you are focused on someone else. Don’t forget the reward.
Important note: This issue is about communication and interaction but, it is adjacent to mental wellness which is not my wheelhouse. If you are having a challenge that a simple disruption cannot move, please get professional help. I support you.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.