You had the power all along. Choose what you think!
You are the only one that can think in your own head – and you have a choice about what to think about! Yes! Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you had the power all along.
Did you know it’s impossible to think two thoughts at the same time? You might think our brain is capable of multitasking. But it can’t. It can think thoughts in quick succession, but it’s one thought at a time. And that’s a good thing, especially if you are experiencing negative emotions. Let me explain.
Fear and Anger
The two biggest negative emotions we feel are fear and anger or variations thereof. But you can replace that emotion by choosing something positive to focus on.
I personally struggle with worry, a fear-based emotion. But I know it’s impossible to be both worried and grateful simultaneously. By being grateful even before I find a solution, can eliminate the fear that usually holds me back. And gratitude literally changes our biochemistry. In fact it is the antidote to worry. I can’t be grateful and worried at the same time. So I choose gratitude! This is one of my core practices as I move throughout the day. Notice I said practice. The more I practice, the easier it becomes.
Now let’s all acknowledge that it’s challenging to focus on the bright side of things while living in our fast-paced world. We are immersed with an influx of information heavily centered around negative events. This is true especially if you follow the news, hang around negative people, or consume other negative media.
The answer? This may seem obvious and it can be difficult. But limit time with negative people and negative media.
Focus on the Bright Side
Adversity is part of our common humanity, but it does not mean that there is no space for brighter things to happen. By deliberately placing our attention on positive events and prolonging the positive feelings that result, we change our biochemistry for the better. This makes our bodies healthier and more resilient
However, if we are only grateful for the big things in life, we miss out on all the little things that make our day a good day. Slow down to begin to notice the small yet wonderful moments in your life.
- A warm shower
- A hot cup of coffee
- The sunset
- The feel of a gentle breeze filled with the scent of nearby blossoms
- The smile on a loved one’s face
- Something funny a friend said
Savor these micro moments. Give yourself the gift.
In fact, savoring is being studied in the field of positive psychology. Savoring is defined as attending, appreciating, and enhancing positive experiences that occur in one’s life.
Savoring is an active behavior. It acknowledges the interaction between the person and their environment. And the person focuses on the experience of delight in its broadest sense.
Savoring can be tangible or intangible. It can be an external or internal event. Savoring is more about becoming aware of the experience of pleasure and appreciating the positive emotions resulting from that experience.
To savor an experience, one must have a certain degree of mindfulness. In other words, pay attention, remember, or project the goodness.
- Be mindful. For instance, enjoying a new meal by drawing your attention to the color, texture, flavors and smells.
- Reminisce. For example, remembering funny moments from school with a friend.
- Anticipate. For example, anticipating the fun you will have at a friend’s cookout this upcoming weekend.
Positive emotions expand people’s thoughts and behaviors. They promote creativity, social connection, personal resources, and resilience. You actually become smarter because you can let more in and be more of who you are.
Do you want to expand your savoring ability? Set yourself up to ensure success by:
- Freeing yourself from urgent social responsibilities
- Making sure your basic physical and psychological needs are met
- Becoming aware of what you are thinking and shifting those negative thoughts
- Connecting to the present moment
Practice At Home
I leave you with an exercise you can practice on your own. You can decide if you want to focus on the Past, Present, or Future.
Spend 15 minutes throughout three days savoring a positive experience by actively reflecting on thoughts and emotions related to it. To make this practice even stronger, journal your thoughts. This is proven to be effective in enhancing wellbeing and happiness.
Taking meaningful and awe-inspiring photographs for at least 15 minutes twice a week. You will look for interesting and beautiful things and enhance your mood in the short term. Become a mindful photographer.
Visualize four positive events that are likely to happen tomorrow. Do this each day for two weeks. Expect the best, look for it! Who knows? That positive expectation may even help you to do the necessary things to ensure that they will happen.
Gratitude and appreciation are practices I have learned to cultivate to reduce stress. But I have so many more resources. Just like Dorothy, I had the power all along and I don’t need ruby slippers. Neither do you. You don’t have to follow the long yellow brick road because I already have. I found a faster path to get out of the cycle of stress. And I want to share that with you as a stress transformation coach.
Schedule a complimentary 15 min consultation. You don’t have to fly solo.