Bad news people – our brains naturally have a negative bias! If you look at all the doom and gloom and dramatic negativity that is used to sell newspapers, headlines on the news and so on you can see why some people like exploiting this minor fault that we (almost) perfect humans have. If you bring that to a more individual level, think how easy it is to feel useless, a failure or totally helpless (called acquiring feelings of learned helplessness) and so much more difficult to undo those reactions even after we have many successes.
BUT the good news, we can change that and balance out our mind and the way the brain thinks. Even just by realising and accepting how strong this negative bias can be, we already can pay attention to the importance on working to balance this out.
This is not only for our emotional and mental health but for our physical health too. Feeling bad has effects overall and can provoke illnesses and reactions that are not easy to overcome.
So how can you balance this out?
Already the awareness of this bias and catching ourself when reacting negatively is a great step in the right direction, but we can go further.
Think of the good things that are happening around you all the time that you just overlook, a kind gesture, a compliment at work, a beautiful sunset, your child’s laughter… With all of these make them a real positive experience, don’t just let them pass you by, really experience them, live them, appreciate them and rejoice in them.
With each and every good thing, focus on the positive emotion you feel in your body as well as in your mind. Savour it for a full minute (or considerably longer) before your attention passes onto something else.
To enhance this even further you can actively visualise the good flowing into each cell in your body. You can try several images for this, maybe light flowing in, maybe warmth seeping through, maybe a swelling of the cell as it expands with goodness – use whatever imagery you feel most comfortable with. Really embrace the positive thoughts, emotions and sensations that come with this experience.
To begin with you might need to set a particular time to focus on this as often we forget if we have a busy day, but gradually you can build up the habit, even increase it to two or three times a day. You will find it becomes an oasis of pleasure, a pool of tranquillity – something you will start to really look forward to in your day.
How do you think you will feel after you have done this for a week, or a month? Can you imagine how much more pleasure you will feel in your life from this increased positivity and beautiful serenity and balance it engenders?
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