We often start off our day with a feeling of positivity and optimism. As the day goes by, however, we may start to become irritated with people and situations around us. It is important to not allow small inconveniences to take over our entire day. Here are some tips to have better, happier days.
The mind’s blueprint
In a study by Dr Rick Hanson, the neurologist shows how the human mind is wired towards negativity. If we go through the day and have five good things happen, three everyday experiences and one bad experience, we will probably go to bed in the evening being irritated and down about the negative experience that we had.
Why is it that our brains are wired this way? A possible theory is that our brains are naturally in defense mode due to our primitive blueprint. Back in the days of hunting and gathering, it would be important to dwell on threatening experiences such as a saber-tooth tiger attack. We would need to learn from the experience and learn the patterns of a tiger’s behaviour in order to avoid such an experience in the future.
Fortunately for us, we do not have to be as hyper-aware of such dangers in present society. We have media and information available to be knowledgeable, but it is still possible, and necessary, to enjoy the smaller experiences in life.
So how do we change the way our minds work? How do we stop focusing on the negative aspects of our day?
There are a few ways that we can change the way our brain thinks:
- Catch your thoughts – If we spend a lot of time ruminating on negative experiences, our brain will wire this way. Neural pathways are strengthened as we continuously think in a certain direction. If we automatically default to think about negative experiences, it will become a habit. If we choose to focus on postitive experiences, new pathways will form and we will be more likely to think in a more optimistic way.
- Focus on the positive moments in your day for 20-30 seconds. This is where mindfulness comes in – notice beautiful things in your day and really appreciate them. Think about them throughout the day and be grateful for them before you sleep at night.
- When people compliment you or thank you, don’t brush it off. We often will be congratulated and will say “oh, it was nothing really!”. We are complimented and say “no, I actually didn’t even wash my hair! I really don’t look great!”. Instead of being bashful, rather say something like “thank you. I really receive what you are saying.”. This will allow you to take it in and appreciate it.
- During the day, really feel your emotions. If something is fun, laugh. If it is sad, feel the sadness. Cry if you need to. Expressing emotions will allow you to really feel them. It will also allow you to let them out. Your mind may not need to hold onto thoughts if they have been properly experienced and expressed.
- Meditation – this will help us to be aware of our thoughts. We have to catch ourselves when we are ruminating and change that behavior. Meditation reminds us that we are not our thoughts. We can control our thoughts. Endless streams of negative thinking will affect our mood and this is not okay. You are in charge of your thoughts – change the way that you are thinking and have a happier day. It really is that simple.
Happiness is a choice
We are only as happy as we allow ourselves to be. Change your thinking, change your pathways, change your life! Let’s hardwire happiness into our heads.
Have a great day
Lots of light and love xx