If you’re anything like me, there can be literally a hundred positive things that happened today, and yet as your head hits the pillow at night, you remember the one or two things that didn’t go favorably or as planned. This happens to me all the time. I’ll sometimes even get stirred by a look that someone gave me, thinking, “Jeez, I wonder if I upset them.” And in that moment, I completely discount or forget all of the great things I did the rest of the day.
Studies done by Rick Hanson, a neuroscientist, show that one must consciously hold on to a positive thought or feeling for a minimum of fifteen seconds before it leaves any kind of lasting imprint on our neurological system. Fifteen seconds! In his book Hardwiring Happiness, he discusses a negativity bias of the brain, basically saying that we are genetically predisposed to recognize and store negativity. This is probably due to our survival instinct to remember harmful experiences so that they are not repeated. It does come with some drawbacks, though. One drawback is that we tend to focus on problems and simply forget or shrug off our positive vision. Our minds get wrapped up in negativity like Velcro, while letting blessing and beauty slide off like Teflon. In fact it is even called the Velcro/Teflon Theory.
Just imagine with me for a moment. You’re having a conversation with a co-worker or friend and they tell you how brilliant you are. How would you react? Most of us would likely would simply say thank you and go on about your day. But, what if you stopped for a full fifteen seconds (or more), right then and breathed in “I am brilliant’? Wouldn’t that moment then have profound meaning?
That is the practice. When someone tells you something nice and positive, especially if you don’t agree or believe it, take the time right then to anchor that message in your mind and body. It’s a simple practice. But, it is difficult sometimes to hear positive messages.
The next part of the practice is to send positive messages. When you compliment someone, take time to acknowledge the compliment that you’re giving as a trait that you also possess, or you would not have been able to see it in someone else. This is the “you spot it, you got it” idea. Take a full fifteen seconds (or longer) to anchor that in yourself, and invite the other person into this anchoring practice as well, especially if they seem glib to your compliment.
This is a very powerful practice. Take a moment and think about the last compliment you received. Anchor that complement and hardwire it into your psyche. Do it often enough, and you actually start to believe it!
If you’re having trouble finding positivity and inspiration in your life right now, you don’t have to face that alone. I am here to help you find your vision and to become peacefully empowered.
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