Our brain makes us believe that there is only one reality out there: the one we perceive. We have evolved this way to make sure we can go about our life without being constantly overwhelmed. The downside is that if our brain is used to seeing the world with a rather negative lens it’s almost impossible to believe that things could be different. It takes effort to change the pathways your brain has created but it can be done. Imagine you had an assistant and that assistant has learned throughout the years what kind of information you react to and what you ignore. Your brain is exactly the same. You can retrain your brain to highlight more about the world that is good and meaningful and less about things that are annoying or sad. This doesn’t mean you ignore negativity. It means you choose wisely to focus only on negativity that you can do something about as opposed to feeling helpless.
To show you how much information your brain hides from you pay attention to positive emotions today. Every time somebody smiles, winks or expresses gratitude take note. You don’t have to passively wait for this to happen. When you are commuting look at the other passengers. When you are in a meeting listen out for something nice, no matter how small. When you watch a movie take note of positive expressions.
When you see negative expression don’t foster it. Don’t join in complaining. For just a day or two change the channel when something negative happens. You will not do this forever, this is just so that you get in the habit of being able to see how many different things happen each day and where your attention tends to go first.
If you want to take this one step further you could write these things down, just for a day or two. When you have a moment, at a red light for example, recount those positive expressions and pay attention to how this makes you feel.
I wish you lots of positive emotions today. Why not check out the Positive Psychology Podcast next?