Brainwash Yourself: The Conscious Choice to Reprogram Your Mind by Michael Ceely

Guest Post by Michael Ceely at Ceely Counseling


I’d like to introduce you to my friend and colleague Michael Ceely, LMFT over at Ceely Counseling in the East Bay. In addition to his psychotherapy practice, he is a sports performance coach at Ceely Sports where he empowers athletes to achieve success and find a deeper purpose for the sport they love. In this guest blog post, Michael shares some sage advice about the benefits of brainwashing yourself for increased positivity and less stress, and the six steps you can take to get started:


What you feed your brain makes a difference

When we hear the word brainwashing, we usually imagine something negative that some evil hypnotist does to us. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can brainwash YOURSELF… in a positive way.

Back in January of this year, after the presidential inauguration, my friends on social media unleashed a barrage of negativity and hopelessness. Some people offered insightful solutions, but most just complained.

I also noticed that the news was mirroring my social media feed. Negativity. Despair. Fear. Soon, every single day was filled with stress.

So… I took a bold step. I stopped watching the news. No more Crisis News Network (CNN), no more diatribes from “personalities” on Fox News or MSNBC. Check out my previous blog post where I talk about “news fasting.”


Another step I took was to un-follow a number of friends who posted political stuff. I felt a little guilty at first, but the lack of negative news was refreshing.

At this time, I also began to populate my social media feeds with positive quotes, nature photography, and videos from people like Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle. I felt a bit like a positive-thinking lemming…. and I felt guilty for ignoring the world and all its problems.

But I wanted to keep the experiment going. I had made a conscious choice to brainwash myself with positivity. I was curious to see what would happen if I kept going.

I began to refine my brainwashing. I put positive messages on post-its, and stuck them on my computer screen at work. I stopped following fraudulent positive-thinking hucksters, and tuned in to the ones who resonated with me.

Soon, I began to notice I had almost nothing negative to focus on. What a concept. I slept better at night, had more energy, and started smiling at strangers on public transit. What’s more, I felt energized to tackle my own immediate worries. I was no longer overwhelmed with the entirety of the world’s problems.

So flash forward to now, after 9 months of positive brainwashing, I’m happy to report that my overall stress level is way lower, I have more energy, and I still smile at people on public transit.

What happened to me? I made a conscious CHOICE to focus on the positive. The initial choice has now become HABIT.


So, are you ready to begin your positive brainwashing campaign?

If so, here’s your checklist:

1.    Stop watching the news. It’s scripted to get you addicted to drama and negativity. Really. If you must get your news fix, pick one day of the week to catch up, and get it in written form, not video.

2.    Un-follow negative Facebook feeds. All of them. Even your friends’ (don’t worry, they’ll be okay).

3.    Start following some cheesy, positive daily quotes on Facebook and Instagram.

4.    Watch one funny Youtube video or standup comedy clip per day.

5.     Buy some post-its. Write down a positive quote that resonates with you and put it where you can see it.

6.    Make a “post-it booby trap.” Write down a cool quote or message and stick the post-it in your freezer, or inside a jacket pocket. You’ll find it later and be (hopefully) pleasantly surprised.

Try some of these tactics for a week. See what happens. At first you may notice a craving to watch the news. That’s what happens when you quit an addiction.

But hang in there, stick with your positivity campaign, and you will likely see a shift in your daily mood. Happy brainwashing!


PS: After writing this post, I thought I would clarify that positive thinking does not mean apathy. What I am encouraging is simply taking control of what you let into your mind.

I also want to recommend a few good reads. One is called  What Happy People Know  by Dan Baker. The book talks about how to take charge of your thinking, and focus on the positive.

I also recommend this excellent Huffington Post article about the effects of the news media on mental health.

To read more posts from Michael Ceely’s blog, click here.

About Jeremi McManus

I am a licensed psychotherapist offering individual psychotherapy and couples counseling in San Francisco. If you are looking for some therapy to address challenges in your life or to address challenges in your relationship, I welcome hearing from you at (415) 375-0311. Specialties: - Relationship Counseling - Psychotherapy - Communication issues - Couples Counseling - Dating and relationship challenges Jeremi McManus, MFT Psychotherapy San Francisco and Couples Counseling San Francisco
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