So many hard things have happened this year and it’s wrecked many of our nervous systems.
And while we can’t control everything that happens around us, we can control what happens inside us.
To add some balance, nourishment, and positivity, here is a tool that will help you train your brain and body to focus on the positive. Cuz it’s a lot harder to change the world if we’re all a mess.
Most of us are really good at focusing on the negative experiences in our lives. Even if you feel like a positive person, negative experiences probably still dominate your thoughts and are hard to brush off.
This is particularly true with our jobs and relationships.
Think about your partner or loved one. They may be perfectly wonderful most of the time, but the moment they say or do something that upsets you, you can’t get it out of your mind! You mull it over again and again, cementing that negativity and stress into your nervous system, and building up emotional turmoil inside.
This is true with experiences at work, on social media, with road rage, everything! Negative interactions kind of run our lives :/
The Negativity-Bias is this behavior we have of focusing on and paying attention to the negative, over the positive.
A WATERMELON ANALOGY
I like to think of the way we internalize the negativity and positivity in our lives as like eating a piece of watermelon.
The sweet fruit is all the good, happy things around you, and the indigestible seeds are the “negative” things, for which there are far fewer.
What we do so often by what we focus on is spit out the juicy, nourishing fruit, and only swallow the indigestible seeds. We internalize the stress, and bypass the thing that actually feeds us.
The more we mull these negative interactions over in our minds (swallow the seeds), the more we prime our nervous systems for negativity and stress. Which can actually turn into an addiction! Trust me, I know this first hand.
WHY ARE WE SO NEGATIVE?
In one of my all-time favorite episodes of Marie Tv, Marie Forleo interviews Dr. Rick Hanson and they talk about how the negativity-bias is actually built into our brains because in our caveman days, focusing on and internalizing the negative experiences kept us alive. Fire = Ouch.
So really it’s not even our fault! Phew, right?!
But the cool thing is, that because we can condition our brains and nervous systems for stress and negativity, we can also reprogram them to look for and focus on good experiences!
I’ve come across many ways to do this, but I think this is such a good, fundamental one, and it’s actually the same thing you’ve been doing, just with a focus on the positive.
INTERNALIZE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
Step 1: Notice when you have a good experience. Even the smallest warm and fuzzy feeling.
Step 2: Don’t rush past it. Soak it in and take at least a few deep breaths. Be thankful for it and feel it in your body.
Step 3: Internalize it: I like to visualize swallowing the good feelings of that experience — it passing down my throat, through my heart, my solar plexus, and into my belly. (All of these centers hold so much stress and emotion). Let it sit there and digest, internalize and disperse through your body.
This exercise helps you retrain your brain and body to both look for things that are positive and to focus on them.
Doing so reduces stress and unhinges your addiction to negativity, while encoding the positive feelings in your brain, heart, and nervous system.
BONUS: You’re also retraining the universe to send positive experiences your way. You know I’m all about manifestation and the concept that what we focus on and hold in our hearts is attracted to us. Well, when you let that positivity you experienced sink into your system, even for a few moments, you are aligning your vibration to an experience you want, and are therefore attracting more experiences that match it.
Try this method with everything good you experience! A hug, a laugh, a good thought about yourself, a kind word from your partner. Don’t just rush past it. Swallow and digest it into your nervous system.
You’ll notice pretty quickly after a few tries how your body softens and your energy shifts to a more positive outlook.
Thanks so much for following along on this journey with me! I hope this tool can help you focus more on all the great things about you and your life!
Hugs & the Sweetest Watermelon,