The Ten-Minute Cognitive Workout
The default programming of the machinery of our mind
At least 99% of everything we think, feel, decide, and act upon each day is done automatically, without any serious contemplation or questioning. That is as it should be. We could not operate effectively in our world without relying on the machinery of our mind.
For the most part, the programming of our machinery that allows it to think, feel, decide, and act in all the various circumstances of our life has been put together haphazardly. It's a hodgepodge of messages from our family members, from our peers, from our teachers, from the media, and so on. It also comes from decisions that we may have made about how to survive, often created at an early age.
We tend to believe what our machinery tells us
Your spouse gets angry and blames you for carelessly forgetting something important to him or her. You feel defensive and start to defend yourself.
Your machinery has "told" you that there is a "danger" that you "need to defend yourself" from. Another part of your machinery believes this is true and acts accordingly.
If you stop to think about it, you can understand that there is nothing to defend. In fact, the better response would be curiosity rather than defense. But your machinery has not been re-programmed yet with this new, more accurate and effective belief.
Re-programming the machinery of your mind
The ten-minute cognitive workout is one simple way to step-by-step re-program some of those thoughts and beliefs of your machinery so that they are more functional in creating and maintaining a life that you love.
How to setup your ten-minute cognitive workout
Special note: check out a few of the statements that I use in my ten-minute cognitive workout at the end of this document.
The following notes were taken from Dr. Peggy Snyder's book: The Ten Minute Cognitive Workout:
Are you wondering what to write? Let’s start with some general statements that are useful each and every day. Then we’ll create statements that address specific emotional states like depression, anxiety, and feelings of stress. We’ll also create statements that pertain to specific situations such as sleep, relationships, parenting, job, school, health, skills, talents, and leisure activities. GENERAL STATEMENTS Here are some useful statements to write each and every day. Select two or three that resonate with you. You are not limited to these examples. You can write whatever you wish as long as it is a POSITIVE statement in the PRESENT TENSE that begins with ‘I AM’ and uses the PROGRESSIVE ‘ing’ form of the verb. At first, while learning the technique, you might want to use the statements suggested in this book. REMEMBER: Each POSITIVE, PRESENT TENSE, PROGRESSIVE statement is something you would like to be true. But you are writing it as if it already is true. In other words: I am writing positive statements. I am wanting them to be true. I am noticing that they are becoming true. I recommend writing at least two general statements every day.
Here are some examples: I am embracing each and every day. I am enjoying today. I am living in the present moment. I am looking forward to today. I am having a productive day. I am staying focused. I am handling things well. I am taking things as they come. I am coping well with problems. I am focusing on the positives. I am moving smoothly through the day. I am confidently coping with challenges. I am noticing how well the day is going. I am feeling fully and deeply alive. Select two or three statements from the above list and write them here.
I am focusing on all that is positive. I am experiencing an inner joy. I am embracing today and every day. I am looking forward to today. I am having a good day. I am doing something I enjoy. I am noticing that my energy is increasing. I am sleeping deeply and soundly every night. I am being good to me. I am loving myself more and more. I am beginning to feel hopeful. I am laughing more and more every day. I am having a productive day. I am feeling good about my accomplishments. I am complimenting myself today. I am making someone laugh today. I am doing one of my favorite things today. If you are despondent or depressed, select five to eight statements from the above list and write them in the space below.
I am letting go of stress. I am living in the present moment. I am breathing easily and naturally. I am sleeping deeply and soundly every night. I am beginning to feel more and more calm. I am noticing that my mind is feeling more clear and more quiet. More examples: I am focusing on whatever I am doing. I am accepting what is. I am taking things as they come. I am letting go of worry. I am living in the now. I am enjoying each and every moment. I am embracing each and every day. I am learning ways to soothe myself. I am feeling hopeful. I am laughing more and more every day. I am having a productive day. I am feeling good about my accomplishments. I am complimenting myself today. I am making someone laugh today. I am doing one of my favorite things today.
I am sleeping deeply and soundly each and every night. I am waking up in the morning feeling rested and refreshed. I am easily drifting off to sleep each night. I am feeling very relaxed when I am getting into bed. I am allowing my body to drift off to sleep. I am reminding myself that I am functioning well throughout the day. I am letting go of stress and worry. I am feeling calm and deeply relaxed. I am engaging in relaxing activities prior to going to bed. I am noticing that my mind is growing quiet as I am lying in bed. I am abstaining from napping.* I am becoming an excellent sleeper. I am performing a self-soothing activity before going to bed.
I am noticing that my relationship with (write name) is going more and more smoothly. I am becoming more and more patient. I am creating a positive relationship with (write name). I am feeling closer to (write name). I am learning positive parenting skills. I am listening and observing without reacting. I am being clear, firm, and loving with (write child’s name). I am behaving in a warm and loving manner with (write partner’s name). I am spending quality time with (write name) on a regular basis. I am verbalizing caring and loving feelings to (write partner’s name). I am displaying physical affection to (write partner’s name). I am doing something for (write partner’s name) that I know will please (him/her).
I am managing my time more effectively. I am noticing that my relationship with (write name) is going more and more smoothly. I am enjoying my work. I am having a productive day. I am noticing that I am looking forward to going to work. I am living in the now. I am dealing with one thing at a time. I am feeling a deep sense of satisfaction in my work. More examples: I am taking care of me. I am developing specific skills and competencies to improve my job performance. I am creating a positive work environment. I am creating a positive relationship with (write name). I am asking my supervisor for specific feedback. I am leaving my work at the office/workplace.
I am completing my assignments on time. I am setting aside study time every day. I am feeling good about my progress. I am living in the present moment. I am noticing that my study skills are improving. I am feeling confident that attending school now is making my future brighter. I am attending every class. I am completing all my assignments. I am participating in every class. I am getting to know my fellow students. I am developing a good rapport with the instructor.
Health and Fitness
I am taking good care of me. I am eating a healthy diet. I am maintaining an optimum weight. I am exercising regularly. I am being an informed and savvy consumer of medical services. I am reading articles and books devoted to health, nutrition, and well-being. I am seeing a health care practitioner when appropriate.
Skills and Talents
I am becoming a better dancer. I am noticing that I’m playing the piano better and better. I am skiing with more and more skill. I am seeing my gold score improve. I am learning to speak a new language. I am playing bridge with more skill and finesse.
I am taking time to play and have fun. I am maintaining balance in my life. I am taking regular vacations. I am laughing a lot. I am laughing with others. I am being good to me. I am doing my favorite activities. I am taking a break from work. I am letting go of stress. I am resting and relaxing.
Remember the four simple rules in creating your statements:
Begin with “I am…”
Use the progressive “ing” form of the verb
Create between ten and fifteen statements. Each morning, or sometime in the day when you have the highest energy, write each of these statements out in your “Ten-Minute Cognitive Workout” notebook. Then recite each statement with energy, enthusiasm, and intention.
With thanks to Peggy Snyder who wrote the book, “The Ten Minute Cognitive Workout.”
Examples of a few of the statement that I use in my ten-minute cognitive workout:
"I am fully engaging with and enlivened within all my circumstances."
"I am sleeping quickly and soundly every time, waking up rested and energized."
"I am eating and supplementing and fasting super healthfully."
"I am speaking and listening charismatically."
"I am healing and youthing more and more every day."
"I am noticing the world anticipating my every need and want and aligning those for me."
"I am noticing my ADH site move towards global recognition, influence, and acclaim."