In my many years of practice as a family therapist and a creativity coach, I’ve become aware of the extent to which a background coloration of sadness haunts most of us. That’s why I made sure to include visualizations in my new book Redesign Your Mind to address that chronic, even epidemic problem.
Think of your own life. I’m guessing that right behind your everyday thoughts and feelings, and even when those thoughts and feelings are relatively light-hearted and self-friendly, there may reside a constant background coloration of sadness.
That’s true for an awful lot of people. For a vast multitude, it’s as if they’d painted the walls of their mindroom the most depressing shade of gray imaginable; or as if soot from a coal fire had continually deposited itself on those walls since they were little children. What can be done about all that background sadness?
Well, putting up new wallpaper, of course! This simple visualization, which will take you no more than a few seconds to perform, can make a huge difference in how you experience life. By repainting or repapering the walls of your mindroom, you instantly brighten that mindroom—and lighten the thoughts that arise there.
First, let’s get those walls prepped. Let’s get all that soot off! Fire up your power washer and power clean those walls. Watch all that soot disappear down the drain. It’s lucky that you can power wash your walls without getting anything wet! There go a lifetime of regrets and disappointments. There go the failures, there goes the harm done to you, there goes the sludge of missed opportunities and broken promises. Isn’t it quite something to see those walls clean again?
Now, pick out your new wallpaper. Pull out some gorgeous imaginary wallpaper books, sit in your easy chair, and peruse the patterns: the floral ones, the Victorian ones, the graphical ones, the ones that remind you of Mondrian, the hypermodern ones, the Gothic ones, the super simple ones, the ornate ones resembling cake decorations. What shall it be? Which cheers you up the most and warms your heart? That’s the one!
Hanging real wallpaper is no easy feat. But hanging this wallpaper is a breeze! Watch it go up without a wrinkle or a bubble in sight. While you’re at it, throw open your windows and let a good breeze float in. And if wallpaper doesn’t do it for you, then paint your walls some colors you love. Create exactly the bright, cheerful walls you want. This is your room and you can paint it or wallpaper it any way you like!
There’s more to do, too, in addition to putting up new wallpaper or painting your walls, if you want to get rid of a lifetime of sadness. Let’s summarize a bit from previous posts. You’ve installed windows so as to let in a breeze, some fresh air and some fresh thoughts. Throwing open those windows will help with the sadness. We got rid of that bed of nails and replaced it with an easy chair—surely that easy chair will make for a happier mental environment. And we have many more things to try in coming posts that will help reduce that background sadness.
Each of these efforts will help you improve the landscape of your mind. The major shift I’m suggesting is the shift from the idea that you are merely a creature who thinks thoughts to the truer idea that you can enter into a brilliant new relationship with your own brain. By employing the metaphor of a room, by visualizing that room and its contents, and by stocking it with what you need and deserve—bright walls, an easy chair, windows that open, and all the rest—you get yourself mentally healthy and keep yourself mentally healthy.
Most people live in a cell and are their own jailer. You can switch out that prison cell for a room as pleasant, as beautiful, and as functional as you would like to make it. I hope you like the wallpaper you chose! And if you don’t, switch it right out!
“Maisel’s thorough explanation of his technique will help readers who are looking to push through their mental roadblocks and improve their emotional well-being.”―Publisher’s Weekly. Redesign Your Mind, available for purchase now.