There are basically Five Fundamentals for a Fabulous Life:
- Feeling Good
- Getting in the Flow
- Really Relating
- Having Meaning and Purpose
- Achievement and Success
Today we’re starting with #1: Feeling good.
You might think feeling good should start with ways to have fun, laugh more, get healthy, and be optimistic. And yep……all that comes into it. But first we need to learn to let go of some of the negative feelings before the good feelings can flow in.
See, we poor human beings are at the mercy of our simple little brains. And our simple little brains are mostly geared to focus on negative and scary stuff – over and above positive and wonderful stuff.
“But that just doesn’t make sense” you say.
How about some science to help explain why?
Ok. First of all we are biologically geared for survival. We want to remember that the tasty looking red berries that poisoned the poor unsuspecting birdy are bad and scary. We want to be on the lookout for those paw prints that are closely related to the big scary stripey cat with enormous fangs that ripped our cow apart.
Focusing on the negative and scary stuff helped us survive by making us aware of the dangers in the environment and (hopefully) avoiding them.
In this day and age, where sometimes the scariest thing we face is running out of milk, this survival strategy isn’t that helpful.
What happens is our brains do this thing where it makes all the negative, scary thoughts sticky. And all the positive, wonderful thoughts super slippery. They just slide right out of there.
What this means is that even though our survival isn’t in danger we have the problem of it being much easier for us to be negative than it is for us to be positive.
Mmmm. Not very feel good.
To make matters worse when we focus on negative and scary things our brains form all sorts of neural networks that reinforce all the negativity and fear. It’s kind of like this: June hears about a rapist in the area. She’s pretty scared. Off she goes to tell Kelly about it because she wants Kelly to share her fear and also to protect her friend. June connects with Kelly and now Kelly’s scared too. She looks for other people she can warn. And they do the same. Until eventually it’s this huge spreading activation of fear.
That’s what happens in your brain. All the time. Every day. About anything worrying, scary, or negative. And that includes negative self-talk. The more you focus on it the more the story spreads and gets reinforced.
AND….. I recently saw some film of what happens in our brains when we focus on negative or scary things for 3 – 5 minutes. Our neurons self-destruct. Poof! They pop like tiny little balloons.
Are you scared now? I was when I saw it. I wondered if that poor little neuron had died of fright!
So let’s face it. We have some work to do to get our brains under control.
But there is good news amongst this article of fear. We CAN retrain our brains to focus less on the fearful, scary, negative stuff. We CAN train our brains to build BIG networks of fabulous feelings. And we CAN do things to release all the nasty’s that come from having built big negative neural networks in the past.
You’ll just have to keep reading my blogs to find out what you can do.