The Power of Mindfully Embracing Positive Experiences

The Power of Mindfully Embracing Positive Experiences

Happiness, can be so elusive and yet so easy to enjoy.

Positive emotions come and go, and we could enjoy them more, for longer, if only we were aware of and practised just a few (relatively) simple strategies.

So many positive emotions are “wasted” because we don’t notice them, or we don’t savour them for long enough.

But with mindful practice of these, and other tips, we can have more happiness, and more positive emotions for longer and longer …

via Psychology Today by Deborah L Davis

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, depressionanxietyangerpessimism, 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 …

… keep reading the full & original article HERE