Huh? What’s a CPU in therapy terms I hear you ask?
Well it is your Cognitive Processing Unit – the bit you use to think about your thinking
Hmm….do I do that? Well let’s see….
We think all of the time. According to Google, anything between 6000 and 80000 times a day apparently. That’s a lot!
To make things a bit easier, our brains will store a large percentage of thoughts as ‘automatic thinking’ – how to brush your teeth, how to get dressed, how to breathe – all happening all the time – auto-pilot mode.
But what about all the rest? Helpful thoughts, unhelpful thoughts, inquisitive thoughts, creative thoughts, random ‘don’t fit into any other category’ thoughts. We need some way of filtering all this incoming info, otherwise how do we get time to do anything at all?
Introducing your CPU 😁
We rarely have any difficulty with our helpful thoughts. They serve us well, help us get things done, promote creativity, innovation, motivation, positivity.
But who’s monitoring those negative thoughts? Who is challenging the incoming nasties? Negative thinking can come from external or internal sources and it can be really damaging to your wellbeing.
Internally, over a lifetime you may have built up some internal views and ideas of yourself that are less than kind. If you have Autism/ADHD, diagnosed or not, you may have an increasing number of negative perceptions about yourself.
In evolutionary terms, we are wired to look out for danger. Primitive humans were at much greater risk from large hungry predators than they were a nice sunny day. We needed to be able to act quickly in order to survive. Thanks to that clever bit of wiring, it worked!
But for modern humans, the threat of a sabre toothed tiger is long past and instead we are fed fake news, real news, terror, threat, scandal and doom on a daily basis through the media. We are externally influenced by the fact that bad news sells. It taps into our evolutionary need to be aware of danger.
You know the phrase ‘don’t believe everything you hear’? Well don’t believe everything you think either.
Before you next go down that negative thinking rabbit hole of self blame and beration…
Ask yourself ‘who is controlling my CPU right now?’ ‘Am I on auto-pilot?’ ‘Where’s the evidence for these bad thoughts I’m having?’ ‘Could there be a kinder way to look at things?’
There is a lot we can do to maintain the health of our CPU – curiosity and compassion are always important as is getting off auto-pilot. Think about your thinking and things start to get a lot easier!
If you would like to learn more about the challenges of ‘thinking’ in relation to neurodivergence, please join our facebook group ‘Different Not Less – Supporting Neurodivergent Lives’ where we are working to create an inclusive community advocating for difference.