LET'S TALK TURKEY...
Making THANKS-GIVING a year round practice can change everything.
Your brain has a built-in negativity bias. That means it’s designed to experience and embed the bad stuff you encounter while it enjoys, but sluffs off most of the good stuff.
And there’s a reason for it.
Think of your cave-dwelling ancestors. Knowing where the tiger lived kept them alive. Remembering the lovely field of flowers...not so much.
Unfortunately, most of the negative things your brain embeds today have little to do with keeping you alive and quite a bit to do with keeping you stressed out.
Luckily, you are not at the mercy of your physiology. You can actually change your wiring and build a much more balanced brain.
Why is that important?
Picture your brain as an ever-changing database of your experiences. You use this database to make every choice and decision in your life. Now imagine that the database systematically ignores big chunks of your experiences leaving you with an incomplete record of your reality.
That record naturally impacts the choices you make.
But it’s actually worse than that. The record you possess of your own reality, your database, is not just incomplete, but seriously skewed toward your worst experiences.
In fact, it treats your negative experiences (rejection, failure, embarrassment) as if they were deadly predators and your positive ones (friendship, joy, compliments, achievement) as if they were a lovely, but unimportant, field of flowers.
Is there GOOD news?
Of course! By training your brain to embed your good experiences the same way it already embeds your bad ones, you get a much more accurate (and balanced) database from which to make decisions.
Oh, and you’ll feel less stressed too.
Am I telling you to pop on rose colored glasses? Absolutely not. Simply to start to notice (and embed) the good things that happen every day that are 100% real for you.
An easy way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. It will take you less than 5 minutes a day.
Pick a particular time of day (most of my clients choose first thing in the morning or last thing before bed) and write down three things you are grateful for in that moment.
It doesn’t matter what you choose. In my own gratitude journal my children and husband make regular appearances, but so do hot baths, and strong coffee. (Fitting into a pair of jeans when I was sure it wasn’t going to happen has shown up as well!)
All that matters is that you feel truly grateful for it in the moment that you write it down.
Take a moment to read over what you’ve written. Try to make the rereading a sensory experience. By recalling what things look, sound, taste, feel or smell like you’re activating different parts of your brain.
In the seconds it took you think about the things you wrote, your brain embedded them. By making this a daily practice, you will grow a more balanced brain, notice more opportunity, and yes…feel better.
Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving and a bountiful year!