Tag Archives: positivity

Creating Pathways to Happiness

Like all living things, we have survival instincts.

Innately, it seems, our brain wants to hold onto negative experiences. In order to survive, we need to learn from those things that have had a negative impact and attempt not to repeat them.

This might be good for the survival of the species, yet as individuals we must not only learn, but also find a way to mentally let go of the negatives, or we won’t be able to move into a happier, more positive future.

The flip side of this is that good experiences tend to pass through our memories far too quickly — unless we are mindful of them.

Taking a moment to appreciate good things will help to cement them in our minds. This is an essential step in learning to calm your mind.

A good place to begin is to focus on the ‘small’ things that bring you happiness. We want to create a stockpile of these and the good feelings they produce, and hold them in reserve.

Perhaps your happy moments include a sunny day, a great book, or a private joke with a friend or family member.

University of California, Berkley neuropsychologist Dr. Rick Hanson advocates the idea of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts so that we refocus and retrain our brains. Hanson stresses the importance of being mindful of both positive and negative experiences, as both can be instructive.

His technique for changing the brain requires acknowledging — not denying or suppressing — the negative feeling, and taking time to experience the loss, the frustration, the pain.

Once the negative is fully realized and understood, which could take only a moment for small stressors or much longer for deep grief (although good therapy can accelerate this process), the next step is to find a way to minimize or let go of the negative.

Relax a little, take a deep breath, use your imagination to draw a mental circle around any harmful thoughts, as if placing them in a balloon, and then release them, letting them float off and leave. Perhaps cry a little. Tears can have a wonderful, healing, therapeutic effect, and they can be shed by the emotion of happiness as well as sadness.

After you’re able to let go of the negative, it’s time to shift your focus to something positive. Perhaps it’s a happy memory of someone you’re grieving, or remembering a frustrating project from the past that you’ve finally completed successfully.

By taking just a little step back, learning to interrupt the negative and shift the mind to something more positive, we can retrain our brains to access more happiness.

Genetics and innate impulses can be tempered with a little training and some thoughtful effort. By regularly using our mind and our brain to access more positive states, we can create fresh neural pathways and so alter the way we function and feel. To use the language of neuroscience, ‘neurons that fire together wire together.’

Our brain has an amazing capacity for learning, and it’s up to us to teach our own brain the pathways to happiness.

Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and London and Birmingham hypnotherapist. He is a Member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. For more information, please visit his Birmingham hypnotherapy website.

Think Positive

By Jessica Rector

Do you approach the year with trepidation or excitement?

The thoughts that play in your head for this New Year are probably the thoughts that play in your head on a daily basis. Are you scared or thrilled? Are you hesitant or joyful?

What plays in your mind for this New Year may be a reflection of what plays in your mind every other day. What are you saying to yourself?

Think of how you start your day, what’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you look in the mirror? I look horrible. I look a mess. I feel bad. I’m tired and exhausted. I don’t want to go to work. I hate my job.

All of these negative thoughts from the moment you get up affect the rest of your day. You carry these with you in everything you do. It creates your mood and once you’re in a “bad” mood, it makes it so much harder to get out of it.

Instead of all the negative thoughts you tell yourself a thousand times a day, think the opposite. I look great. I look hot. I feel awesome. I’m energetic. I want to go to work, because I enjoy what I do.

It’s just as easy to think of positive thoughts as it is to think negative ones. The amazing thing is when you think the positive ones, they will also help create your mood. You will have more joy creating a bigger bounce in your step and your head lifted a little higher. You will walk with more confidence and security.

You begin thinking you can do anything. Then you will take steps toward what you want and figuring out how to get it. Before you know it, months will pass and you’ll be meeting your goals, one by one and in the process watching your dreams come true.

So when your days starts off with negative thoughts or when you find your mind drifting toward being Debbie Downer, train your mind to think of the opposite. It’s all about training your mind and creating the habit of thinking positive. When you continually and consistently do this, you’ll start reaching your goals and living your dreams.

Now that’s a great way to begin 2015….and I’m eager to see how this New Year unfolds for you and your family. Think positive, and watch how the world conspires to make it happen for you!

As a single mom and founder of The Single Mom Movement, Jessica Rector is determined to educate and empower single moms. Single motherhood affects everyone. You can Join The Movement, Become An Advocate, or Partner with Us. Do you feel isolated? CLICK HERE and never feel alone. Single moms CLICK HERE for FREE 50 Resources Every Single Mom Needs.