Odds are you’re reading this because you have more than your share of Eeyore moments, parked on your butt, holding your disconnected tail, the vision of doom and gloom. Let’s say, you thought an interview went well, but now there’s radio silence. And your post-mortem analysis. Why did I wear that jacket, crack that joke, show up early, show up at all, who am I kidding..? Caught in vain imaginings, you’re either afraid of not getting what you do want, or, getting what you don’t want. You’ve lost perspective and access to creative flow, patience and inner calm.
Well, as John Cacioppo, Ph.D. discovered, you have plenty of company. Our brains actually have a negative bias. In response to positive, negative or neutral images, electrical activity in the brain’s cortex varies. Turns out, negative images elicit more intense activity. Neurologically, the amygdala (fight or flight, fear center) becomes aroused and remains so for an extended time. Our negative and fear based thoughts not only imprint, they have greater hang time. This makes perfect sense when you consider that our evolutionary hard wiring is designed for survival. How else would we learn to stay out of harm’s way?
Still, dark thoughts keep us separate from the world’s joy and beauty. Even more consequential, we miss the present moment. We’re so distracted by “What if’s” that today’s opportunities, delights, and possibilities are forever lost. Let’s counter that negative spin cycle.
You could set a foundation for the best outcome with one new concept. Why not ask yourself, “What if, the only energy that flowed was goodness and wellbeing? What if I either allowed that, or blocked it?” This one shift can put you in the driver’s seat of a positive thoughts and power.
From this place, you can easily ask, “What if everything turns out fine?” It always does, eventually. You know that from experience. What if that lack of response to you is due to issues that have nothing to do with you? (Wait, It’s NOT all about me?) Now that your mind is more clear, you can be more kind to yourself.
Take a stroll. Even light exercise will release endorphins. Meditate. Use your breath to release tension. In my experience, thirty slow breaths, mindful of “inhale peace, exhale stress” moves us out of past or future thoughts and into the now. Start with ten if that’s easier. When we practice positive actions by a ratio of 5:1, we develop resistance to the impact of negative experiences.
Finally, what can you say “thank you” for right now? From where I sit, we’re into day three of steady rain. We’re spoiled with sunshine over 300 days a year. Today, everyone is grumpy. But you know, a hidden chartreuse in the spring green leaves doesn’t really pop without dark, wet bark. We need all of it. Better, we deserve all of. So let go of expectations, practice being curious, be in this precious, beautiful moment. All is well.