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Continuing with yesterday’ blog about how much we take for granted I wanted to mention a few of the 100’s of things we look past every day. If you take time each day to Look for items in your immediate surroundings that are relaxing, comforting, inspiring, informative, or helpful, your brain in only a few days will do this naturally. This focus will keep it rooted in the positives around you not the negatives. Look at your outdoor surroundings and the beautiful trees or warm faces that you see. If outdoors is not an option, see if you can see or feel something beautiful, like a picture on the wall, a comfortable chair, or even the sturdy floor. Think of something or someone you are glad to have apart of your life in your present or past. Think of how easy it is to find decent, clean clothes. What would it be like if you had to walk a mile right now in order to get water from a well. Ponder for just a moment the images you see on TV of homeless, sick, hungry, and hopeless people. Focusing for the first time with real attention on any of these things I just mentioned will change your mood in just moments.
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Before disappointment strikes, you must be vigilant in reminding yourself that setting your hopes on one particular event or occurrence is dangerous, unnecessary, and misleading. No event will make you happy forever! Everything is transient and passes. The most subtle ones are those we expect in the course of our day, such as getting to work on time, having no traffic, having the computer work, or having the bus be on time. All are setups for disappointment.
Now, of course, you don’t want to expect bad things to happen, but you can’t forget that life is unpredictable. If you have personal expectations, it will feel like a personal attack when things don’t go your way, and you will fly into anger. Let me make this simple—Don’t cling to outcomes. Before I leave the house, I remind myself that regardless of what my to-do list says, anything is possible today. Beginning your day with expectations is like shoving a ticking time bomb into your pocket. It is only a matter of time before it blows.
Do the following reactions sound familiar? “Nice blinker, idiot!” “This stupid computer!” “Crap, it’s only three o’clock.” “Why is everyone driving like an ass?” “OMG, the Internet is so slow today!”
These reactions are as helpful as throwing your shoe at the clouds because it is raining on your day off! You are personalizing all of these random events. Such reactions also cut you off from seeing just how amazing life is around you. Stay present to these ridiculous, hidden beliefs that will do their best to wreck your day before it starts. When you walk out the door, remind yourself that although you intend to do this or that, anything can happen. Doing this disarms your amygdala, which is always on the lookout for things not going according to your plan. So take your plan (expectation) off the table. Your amygdala is different from that of the next person; whatever you believe should or shouldn’t happen is what it will try to protect, so only you can take down the beliefs/expectations that trigger it to begin with.
We human beings are just like addicts, making decisions from one moment to the next based on 2 questions: What will give me the greatest amount of pleasure right now or the least amount of discomfort? Every situation—physical, emotional, or social—is fueled, directed, and regulated by the drug effect we are seeking from the brain’s own chemical pharmacy, and this pharmacy is open twenty-four hours a day! The timely release of the “feel good” chemicals in the brain underpins a healthy emotional balance.
However, scientist know that we humans often take bigger steps to avoid the pain of feeling bad than to pursue feeling good and you are going to learn to reverse that. When we are trying to ease discomfort we may chase a hit of any of these three neurochemicals, by reaching for ice cream, having sex, or sitting down to watch a good movie; the multi-taskers in the group may attempt all three at the same time. However, as we all have experienced the feelings are short-lived. That is because these neurochemicals have a job, and that is to push our behavior in a direction, not put us in a “good mood”. That good feeling is just like the proverbial carrot, always tempting us to chase another short-lived buzz and it can become a vicious cycle. We don’t want the buzz we want a sense of wellbeing. This even effects our eating habits as we often eat foods for comfort not to feed our hunger. ( A subject I will be tackling in a future blog that I am writing for Psychology Today)
All it takes to move your mood toward a positive one is simply reprograming it to focus on good the way it looks for problems. Acknowledging that something is good or counting your blessings is very different from taking ten to twenty seconds to dwell on it so you can feel it on an emotional level. A study published in 2010 reported that when experiencing positive events, focusing attention on the present moment and engaging in positive rumination promotes a sense of well-being. Conversely, being distracted while having a good experience lowers the sense of well-being. How many times have you taken a few seconds to replay a compliment over in your mind until you actually felt happy about it? Probably never. Have you ever taken ten seconds to replay a hug from your loved one and really feel touched by the love? Of course not. We tell ourselves that, those things are not important enough or live changing enough to give them our focus. But you have it backwards. Big things only make us feel better because WE ALLOW ourselves to FEEL them not just think about them. This is where everything changes! Feeling the good around you will permeate the emotional area in your brain where words cannot reach. You can’t talk your way into a good mood; you must feel your way. You will learn to deliberately seek and hold onto the positive things around you, allowing these observations to become amazing feelings that sink into your whole being.
Take twenty seconds right now to envision a person or pet showering you with love; Yes that means you. Put the book down. Really feel the love filling you. Did you feel the emotional lift? Now imagine carrying that feeling around most of the day. Can you picture how different you would feel if you did this regularly?
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There are beliefs buried deep in our subconscious that we don’t even know exist, yet they steer our actions. Our evolutionary instincts have left us blind to this behavior. For example the degree to which we align with and commit ourselves to a group or cause is the degree to which we see only what they are seeing. I don’t really think we need to be told this however, we always think it the “others” who see only what they want. Like it or not it is us too. We don’t mean to, it’s not like we see the opposing facts and decide to ignore them, rather our brain only let’s us see what is “best” for us. This is why the Middle East will never have peace and republicans and democrats will never understand how the opposing party can “see it “ that way. Evolution has taught us that staying with “our group” is the best way to stay safe. Repeated studies have shown that we humans see only what we want to see, and hear only what we want to hear. This is why lawyers pick a jury according to what beliefs they hold, because they know they can sway them. The facts don’t matter. A really good point to remember next time you are in argument. No one is immune to this. Hold your opinions lightly. As far as evolution is concerned, being objective and making our own decisions often is not in our best interest, so the brain always steers us toward going along with “our” crowd. Only an extremely self-aware person who has no ego will have a shot to evaluate something from a purely objective stance, regardless of what others think.
#beliefs #stopstressing #behappy #happiness #happiness #anger #moodiness #amygdala #dopamine #serotonin #oxytocin #feelbetter #stopworrying #eckhartTolle #present #opinions #amygdala #emotions #perspectives