The more I learn about what it takes to become the best version of me, the more I am convinced that the two most important strategies to produce consecutively good days are a positive outlook and a calm demeanor.
“It’s easy to think about positive psychology as a magic carpet ride,” explains Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Resilient, his latest book about growing an unshakeable core. For example, someone recommends you keep a gratitude journal and that is what is suppose to transport you to a new level of happiness and joy.
While remaining grateful sounds like good advice (and I know from personal experience that being appreciative of what you have is a better way to be) – – – what happens in the real world? How does keeping a gratitude journal help with the everyday stress and difficulties we deal with and the the reality about hard things in our lives?
While I haven’t read his book yet, Dr. Rick Hawkins reminds us that if we want to improve our lives we must be aware of our bias towards negativity.
It is perfectly natural for us to look for bad news, threats that might effect our lives and then focus upon the negative and possibly over react to it. This is the fast track to becoming extra irritable and anxious throughout our days.
When we become more aware of our negativity biases we can begin to work with them to see the upside of events, the opportunities and the possibilities that can even come from difficult and challenging experiences.
Two habits that I am nurturing to help me are guided meditation (I highly recommend Jordan Bach’s free 7 minute giveaway guided meditation) and pushing myself to at the bright side of everything that happens. Finding one slice of goodness in even what looks like the worst possible scenario. These are simple strategies, and they are working for me.
Read Dr. Rick Hawkins books
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture.
Resilient because it’s vital to grow strengths inside like grit, gratitude, and compassion—the key to resilience, and to lasting well-being in a changing world.
Hardwiring Happiness because life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated, and stressed, instead of confident, secure, and happy.
Buddha’s Brain draws on the latest research to show how to stimulate your brain for more fulfilling relationships, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater sense of inner confidence and worth.
Just One Thing is a guide that offers simple things you can do routinely, mainly inside your mind, that will support and increase your sense of security and worth, resilience, effectiveness, well-being, insight, and inner peace.
More at Scientific American on the roots of embodied cognition.