Who doesn’t want to be happier?
Who doesn’t want to be happier?
But, we can’t. We’re busy with to-do lists that extend beyond bedtime.
Or, can we?
YOU are entitled to feel good about yourself and life.
Being positive about yourself is not vain, self-centred or selfish. It is a healthy habit which builds your resilience and compassion . That makes you a better person for everyone, not just yourself.
You’ve come to the right place because
I’m going to show you how to
RE-WIRE your brain to offset the ‘negativity-bias’ inherent in all of us;
become increasingly HAPPIER
WITHOUT having to:
change your existing routine
dedicate blocks of time to study something new
Sound good? Impossible? Read on and you’ll see how simple it is.
What is the negativity bias?
Scientists tell us that humans have a built-in negativity bias. Back in the day when our ancestors were fighting for survival, they needed to watch for predators more than they needed to stop and smell the roses.
What happens to your brain when you increase positivity?
By paying attention to the good things going on in your life, you readjust that bias so that the good experiences trigger more positive responses. How so?
Have you heard of the expression "Neurons that fire together, wire together?"
It means that everything you do and experience--whether positive, negative or neutral, triggers thousands of neurons.
These neurons form a neural network. When you repeat an experience over and over, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time. Hence the expression,
"Neurons that fire together, wire together."
How can you increase your happiness?
Now that you know that the brain makes it easier for repeated activities to happen again, you have the choice of what kind of habits and thoughts you want to repeat.
Put another way…are you going to have glass-half full or glass half-empty kinds of thoughts?
With that in mind, here is how you can start shifting that negativity bias and start to increase your happiness.
Is this you?
It bears repeating: YOU are entitled to feel good about yourself and life. Being positive about yourself is not vain, self-centred or selfish. It is a healthy habit which also builds your resilience and compassion .
All of which makes you a better person for everyone, not just yourself.
A word to the wise
It would seem to go without saying that by starting this habit today you will not wake up as Mary Poppins tomorrow but I’m going to say it anyhow.
The science is real.
The benefits are real.
They come with practice and perseverance.
As with everything in life, do yourself a huge favour and be realistic about your expectations. This allows you to be delighted by bigger results than you expected over time rather than disappointed by having set the bar too high.
If you don’t notice that something good just happened and only recall it later, you still get the benefits as you recall the incident and revel for those few seconds in the good feeling engendered.
You can make a habit of casting your mind over the previous hour or two to pinpoint the good things that just happened.
Developing a new habit has the most chance of success if you can bolt it onto an existing routine.
So, your ride to work or…
getting ready for bed
can all be times where you give some thought to the good things that happened and to savour those good feelings.
6 opportunities, each for 10-30 seconds of recollections to increase your happiness.
You are going to laugh once you realize how many of these good things—large or small—that you are accomplishing over the course of the day without even realizing it.
I find when I follow the steps outlined above and stop to pay attention and simmer in those good feelings feelings, one good thing starts tumbling after the other into my and I can’t keep up. I know it will happen with you as well.
Don’t wait until your find the cure for cancer or figure out how to get the cast of Friends together for a reunion to feel good about something. All good things, small, smaller and smallest included!
Spread the Love
What do you think of the idea of helping your children feel better about themselves?
Another no-brainer, right?
I’m sure you can come up with fun ways to engage with them to help them get in the habit of finding the good in their days and feeling good about it on a regular basis. Maybe dinner-time is a good place to go around the table and have everyone say something good that happened to them.
Encourage them to pay attention to the good feeling they have when telling you about it and allowing a few seconds for them to rest in that good place. Bath time…bed time.. In the car on the way to the mall…
All sorts of ways. I’m sure you can come up with more ideas in no time.
A word about the science
Finding the balance between simplistic presentation to ease understanding and comprehensive understanding is tricky. Oft time, writers default to a simplistic explanation that will, ultimately, be misleading.
The brain is wonderful and complex. There are not good and bad parts to your brain. A recent article in Mindful.org The Magnificent Mysterious Wild Connected and Interconnected Brain does an excellent job of making this point and I love the example given by Amishi Jha, PhD of explaining how the brain worked to her young daughter:
“…I talked to her about how all of these parts never work alone. They always work together, but they work in specific ways together. As an analogy, I asked her to think about what body parts she would use to do a cartwheel. She said, “I need my hand, and that’s connected to my arm, and that’s connected to the rest of my body.” As I coaxed her through this investigation, she realized she needed all those parts and more, and she needed them to move together in a pattern that results in a cartwheel.”
Onwards and Upwards
Building life skills is not a one-trick pony. By this, I mean don’t rely on just one habit to create change. Think in terms of a collection of practices you engage in with a goal of reducing stress, increasing happiness, self-compassion and compassion for others, resilience in the face of life’s challenges.
There are a variety of practices you can engage in for each of these areas, many with overlaps. In doing so, you retain flexibility and diversity and interest. Such an approach also recognizes that the complexity of the brain and the interconnections of the various parts
You deserve happiness. We all do.
I’ve shown how, in your busy life, you can find ways to start a regular routine to rewire those neurons to increase your happiness. Less stress, more calm and happy moments. I wish you all that and more. I’m all for being the happiest YOU you can be.
Can you see yourself taking this next step to a happier, healthier life?
Do you have 10 seconds to give it a chance?
You’re worth it, right?
Where to next? The easiest way is to join me below and get exclusive, free and practical bi-monthly emails to:
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