The Power Of Positive Experiences

I am sharing an article on Psychology Today on the Power of Mindfully Embracing Positive Experiences that I recently read. It fits perfectly with my last post on mindfulness living in Newfoundland and Labrador!

Positive thoughts generate positives feelings and attract positive life experiences.

I have come across various articles in the past, but what sets this particular one apart is its remarkable ability to convey complex ideas in a straightforward manner. The author has managed to make it incredibly easy to comprehend and apply. I do these things daily and it has made an immeasurable difference to my life.

Over the past 3 years, I have mastered the art of self-improvement and a growth mindset. It all began during my last summer in Ontario back in 2020. I would leave my apartment and walk, trying to notice everything around me, and within me, at that moment. Since then, my journey has been filled with exponential growth and endless opportunities. It takes time, but as with anything, once you learn it becomes second nature.

Moving to Newfoundland and Labrador has been an extraordinary journey for me, as it has left an indelible mark on my soul. Once I learned to relax and practice Mindfulness, absorbing all that is around me and living in the moment, has given me back my personal autonomy to live my life according to my personal values, not the opinions of others. It has allowed me to move past that terrible experience and have more positive ones!

For me, living in Newfoundland and Labrador has been a transformative experience. The province’s awe-inspiring landscapes, welcoming people, rich cultural traditions, and vibrant festivals have all contributed to creating a tapestry of memories that helped me heal.

I go out almost every day, and walk, so I can take in all around me, the sights, sounds, and smells that make up where I live and every day, I become more peaceful as a result. I have more positive experiences now than I do negative ones.

As I mentioned, I recently got a Family Doctor here and had blood work done last week which I got the results of yesterday. My cholesterol is up a bit, so new medication for me, but everything else is fine.

We spoke yesterday as well about my Mental Health and I was told I have a very positive outlook! She also got the reports from the counsellor I was seeing, notifying her that I no longer need regular counselling! I am waiting to see an endocrinologist about the Cushings Disease and a date for the laser surgery, but it will come, there is no rush.

My Doctor looked at the websites in my name and she did laugh when she saw the text there, claiming that I am “going crazy“. She said that she could tell this writer isn’t a professional in psychology to make such a bald statement about my mental well-being and she could see for herself that I am doing very well!

As with everyone who saw those sites, she as well tells me to ignore them, they mean nothing and will do nothing. She doesn’t know me very well, but even she could see I am not as they try to describe me and anyone who meets me will see the same. I felt very empowered after my appointment and went for a walk Downtown to enjoy the weather.

I stood there by the waterfront and took it all in, as I do everything, every day!

Read the article and see if it could help you too to live more mindfully!

You can offset negative bias whenever you encounter a positive experience, by mindfully noticing it, staying with it, and absorbing it.

  1. Mindfully notice, in the moment, when you’ve had a positive experience. This can take practice, especially if you’re an expert at glossing over the positive. Be on the lookout for even fleeting moments where you experience laughter, wonder, love, gratitude, contentment, being appreciated, being cared for, a sense of accomplishment, or anything else enjoyable.
  2. After you note having a positive experience, stay with it. Don’t brush it off or hurry away from it. Accept it, reflect on it, and lean into it. Sense how it feels in your body, and sit up or stand a little straighter in the face of it. Commit to momentarily dwelling on it, knowing it will help your brain build positive neural pathways. By actively staying with it, you enrich the experience and make a bigger impression on your brain.
  3. Absorb the positive experience. Be a sponge. Imagine your brain holding on to it. Visualize folding the positive experience into your body. Let it land. Rejoice in it. Feel gratitude for it.

The Power of Mindfully Embracing Positive Experiences

How to rewire your brain, boost mood, and strengthen the positive in your life.

Posted August 2, 2023 Reviewed by Lybi Ma

KEY POINTS

  • Especially when life is overwhelming, you need repair in the form of positive experiences.
  • Unfortunately, our brains tend to operate with a bias that highlights the negative and downplays the positive.
  • To overcome negativity, mindfully notice, think about and absorb your positive experiences and emotions.
  • By guiding your thoughts toward the positive, you create positive neural pathways and boost your resilience.

When life is crazy busy or hard, your brain and body need a break from the stress and strain. Notice how your mind inevitably wanders after a period of focused concentration. Notice how your body requires you to stop, sit, rest, or sleep after a period of steady exertion. You require respite.

But not just any respite. You require repair in the form of positive experiences. Positive experiences cultivate the resilience of your brain and body, boosting your strengths, which you can draw on when you’re overwhelmed and in survival mode, as well as when you’re thriving.

The mindfulness piece is important because the human brain is most efficient at highlighting unpleasant experiences and emotions—often because alarms are triggered, resulting in efficiently built and reinforced neural pathways that focus on the negative. This tendency may have promoted human survival over the eons, but unfortunately, it coincides with the brain’s tendency to ignore, gloss over, or dismiss pleasurable experiences and emotions—which are experienced as harmless and no big deal—resulting in a relative lack of positive neural pathways.

To see this bias in action, you might recall that when a group of people praises you, you shrug it off, or even reject it outright, rather than taking it to heart, feeling appreciated, or even graciously saying, “Thank you.” Instead, “Oh, no, not me. You’re too kind.” But when one lone person criticizes you, you take it to heart and it bothers you for days. That’s your brain easily absorbing the negative and rejecting the positive. Unfortunately, this bias can lead to chronic stress, depression, anxiety, anger, pessimism, and bitterness. Naturally, if you’re chronically overwhelmed, you are even more prone to this kind of misery.

Misery is part of life, for sure, but you needn’t suffer prolonged or unnecessary misery. Chronic misery is not living. And to ward it off, it’s important to nourish your brain by seeking and embracing positive experiences. To do this effectively, start by offsetting your brain’s bias toward the negative and actively focus on the positive.

How to Offset Negative Bias

You can offset negative bias whenever you encounter a positive experience, by mindfully noticing it, staying with it, and absorbing it.

  1. Mindfully notice, in the moment, when you’ve had a positive experience. This can take practice, especially if you’re an expert at glossing over the positive. Be on the lookout for even fleeting moments where you experience laughter, wonder, love, gratitude, contentment, being appreciated, being cared for, a sense of accomplishment, or anything else enjoyable.
  2. After you note having a positive experience, stay with it. Don’t brush it off or hurry away from it. Accept it, reflect on it, and lean into it. Sense how it feels in your body, and sit up or stand a little straighter in the face of it. Commit to momentarily dwelling on it, knowing it will help your brain build positive neural pathways. By actively staying with it, you enrich the experience and make a bigger impression on your brain.
  3. Absorb the positive experience. Be a sponge. Imagine your brain holding on to it. Visualize folding the positive experience into your body. Let it land. Rejoice in it. Feel gratitude for it.

Even 10 to 15 seconds of noticing, staying with, and absorbing each positive experience can make it easier for your brain to build and strengthen positively inclined neural pathways. Over time, it’ll become even easier, because shifting your attention to the positive actually changes the neural connections in your brain.Your neural connections produce the content of your thoughts, and by guiding the content of your thoughts, you change the neural connections. And having more positive neural pathways reinforces your positive traits and emotions, which contributes to your resilience. By rewiring your brain in a positive direction, you reap the benefit of having a more positive life.

How to Adopt a Habit of Positivity

Many people find focusing on the positive to be a challenging habit to adopt. It may feel unfamiliar or counterintuitive, it takes effort, or it’s seemingly too time-consuming to fit into a busy life. Needless to say, it can be very challenging when you’re overwhelmed. But when you are able, practice being aware of your thoughts and shifting your attention to the positive. Here are several simple ideas to get you started:

  • Give yourself credit for your triumphs, accomplishments, and responsibilities fulfilled, large and small. Make a detailed to-do list, even at the end of the day, and check off everything you managed to do so that you can feel satisfaction. Include tasks you used to take for granted, such as showering, getting dressed, going outside, or eating a nutritious snack.
  • Accept compliments as gifts. Saying thank you shows your gratitude and fosters a sense of mutual connection, which benefits both you and the giver. If you forget to say thank you in the moment, don’t just drop it as a missed opportunity. Rehearse thank you in your mind, and when you can, bring up the compliment and thank the person then.
  • Read, write, and say positive affirmations to reinforce positivity in your brain. Notice and refute any negative self-talk.
  • Seek out contemplative experiences, particularly connected to nature, that invite you to simply be and effortlessly enjoy the present moment. Watch bees pollinate flowers. Sit in the sun. Lounge by a body of water. Study the clouds. Observe the rain, lightning, or snowstorm. Hug a tree. The idea is to focus on being rather than doing. Schedule be-me time to get your daily dose.

As with all mindfulness practices, embracing positive experiences gets easier with practice. You got this.

https://www-psychologytoday-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/laugh-cry-live/202308/the-power-of-mindfully-embracing-positive-experiences?amp=&amp_gsa=1&amp_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQGsAEggAID#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16911416635858&csi=0&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.psychologytoday.com%2Fus%2Fblog%2Flaugh-cry-live%2F202308%2Fthe-power-of-mindfully-embracing-positive-experiences

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