Rewyre is a psychological tool that can be used in a number of ways. Each of the methods below has scientific backing, but some might work more or less effectively for you.
- Rehearsing Positive Thoughts
- Coping Statements
- Changing Self Talk
- Strengthening Personal Values
Rehearsing Positive Thoughts
The words and images that we see, say and imagine have a large effect on the way that we feel.
A study from 2016 took a number of participants who worried a lot and asked them to rehearse positive images and statements.
The researchers found that:
The replacement of worry with different forms of positive ideation, even when unrelated to the content of worry itself, seems to have similar beneficial effects.
In this study, participants were asked to imagine and rehearse positive outcomes of a negative situation (paying a bill), and then repeat the imagery or statements for two minutes daily. One month later, participants reported that their anxiety and worry had decreased significantly.
According to a study from 2015, focusing on positive outcomes of worries tended to be a particularly effective way of reducing worry.
Rewyre can be used to rehearse positive outcomes of negative situations - we recommend following the steps below:
How to rehearse positive thoughts
- Think of something that you’re worried about
- Try and imagine what a positive outcome might be - or a comforting feeling surrounding this worry, like the love of friends and family
- Create a Rewyre that captures this outcome, with words and visuals
- Watch this Rewyre as consistently as you can, focusing on the positive outcome
Coping statements, sometimes called coping cards, are a common Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) technique to counteract anxiety and panic. People who experience anxiety often engage in negative self-talk which can often exacerbate worry. In stressful situations it can be difficult to regain control of this self talk.
Common Negative Self Talk Statements
I’m not good enough, I can’t do this, I’m worthless, This will be a disaster
Coping statements are preprepared statements that help to fight against this negative self-talk. It’s important that the statements you select work for you, and calm you down. For this reason we recommend pairing coping statement Rewyres with calming imagery and beats.
Keep it authentic
Repeating “I am successful” over and over again in your mind is unlikely to relax you if you don’t really believe that you are successful. Saying “I’ll do the best I can”, on the other hand, is something that is always true and might not seem intimidating. Regardless of the thought you choose, make sure it’s something that’s true, authentic and believable.
If you feel your anxiety rising, use on of your preprepared coping Rewyres to focus your mind & absorb you. Watching coping Rewyres regularly will make the thoughts stronger in your mind over time.
Research has shown that for anxiety, and even physical pain, coping statements can be used to soothe the mind.
Changing Self Talk
When you’re performing a task, particularly a physical one like a sport, the words that you say to yourself are critical to your performance. A study in 2011 looked at 32 other studies and found that positive self-talk (thinking something like “I can do this” rather than “this is impossible”), was associated with improved performance in sport.
Designing a Rewyre to change your self-talk isn’t just limited to sport. By trying to associate the words you say to yourself with a specific stimulus or trigger, you can alter your behaviour in lots of situations: academic, social or business. Depending on what works for you, you might pair a positive thought with an image of a stressful situation, difficult person or sporting situation.
Imagining yourself in the scene that you see, and repeating a positive thought to yourself will create an association between the two - physically changing the wiring in your brain.
Changing your brain’s wiring
If you imagine the neurons in your brain as a bundle of connected wires, a thought results in messages traveling along certain pathways. The more you think a certain way, the stronger these pathways become. Repeated thought physically alters the brain, creating well worn pathways and habitual ways of thinking. Hebbian theory, introduced by Donald Hebb in 1949, describes in simplistic terms how these pathways are strengthened: “Cells that fire together wire together.”
Strengthening Personal Values
Self-affirmation theory, initially conceived by Claude Steele in the 1980s, suggests that reflecting on your core personal values can increase your performance under stress, activate brain reward circuitry as well as a host of other benefits. Self-affirmations are not mantras asserting success or wealth, instead they are value statements that remind you of important elements of your psyche.
Psychological experiments that have investigated Self-affirmation Theory typically ask participants to highlight three values that are important to them, and then write a short paragraph about each one. Critically, though, reminding yourself of your personal values in stressful situations is key - and this is where Rewyre can help.
How to strengthen a personal value
- Think of a value that is important to you
- Write down why this value is important to you and when, in the last month, you have done something in keeping with this value
- Create a Rewyre with a short statement that encapsulates the value
- Add a visual that represents the value
- When you view the Rewyre imagine that value & think about why it’s important to you