Bits of Inspiration
Just 20 seconds......Notice, Savor, Allow
Why is it so hard for us to allow life’s simple pleasures, and positive experiences to feed us and increase our happiness?
Because our survival instincts are always scanning for the negative in order to keep us safe. And science tells us, it has a name, it’s our “negativity bias.” How many times have you said to yourself, “now stop being so negative, stop worrying.” Or “why did I go to the negative right away?” Well it turns out, it’s perfectly natural and normal to scan for the negative, as this is what we learned from our ancestors AND it keeps us safe, but it’s when these negative thoughts take over and become more prevalent, and the positive ones are forgotten as quickly as they come.
Rick Hanson tells us that “Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” If you want to know more about the negativity bias, you can go to Rick’s website or listen to his Tedx talk This is why being mindful can help, because if we can be more present for these large or small pleasant experiences, moment by moment, and allow more time to savor them , say 20 seconds or more, we actually change our brain in a positive way.
Just try it......20 seconds.........Take a walk, and just notice everything, when something really catches your eye, just stop, take it in, every aspect of it, color, texture, light, use all of your senses. Take a few breaths and really allow yourself to be fully present. Notice if we try to resist it. And just Allow it.........Identify any emotions that might be present. Allow any positive emotions to fill your entire body.
This is a practice, a muscle to be strengthened, every time you experience something pleasant, just stop, take the 20 seconds or more.
You can weave this into the moments of the day, a smile on someone’s face, nice cup of tea or coffee, appreciating a break in your day, a nap, taking in the warmth on a spring day, positive feedback from a friend or colleague, a newly blooming flower, a fresh rain, looking at a picture of someone.
Every single time you do this, it will make a positive change in your brain and over time lead to more contentment and joy in your life.