Daily OM for Sunday, May 6th – Culling Out The Weeds

Culling Out The Weeds
Mind Over Matter

The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.

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Train Your Brain to Be Happy

Train Your Brain to Be Happy

  • Care2 Healthy Living Guest Blogger

By Elisha Goldstein, PhD

If you were sitting in a room and on the left hand in a cage you saw a growling lion and on the right hand side in a cage was a scenes of a beautiful beach, which would your brain be drawn to?

If you guessed the lion, you’re right. That is because we’ve been trained over thousands of years to focus on the negative at the expense of the positive. If our ancestors spent their days being mindful of the beautiful scenery while enjoying their lunch, odds are not too much later, they were lunch. They needed to practice focusing on where the danger was to survive. Centuries later we inherited this very well crafted brain that is more attracted to the negative than the positive. Since we aren’t often in physical danger today, how does this automatic negativity bias show up in our minds?

Here are 3 examples of some common “Mind Traps” that we frequently fall into that move us further away from happiness:

Catastrophizing: If you’re prone to stress and anxiety, you may recognize this habitual mind trap. This is where the mind interprets an event as the worst case scenario. If your heart is beating fast, you may think you’re having a heart attack. If your boss didn’t look at you while walking down the hall, you think you’re going to get fired. You get the picture. This style of thinking will support increased stress, anxiety, and even panic.

Discounting the positive and exaggerating the negative: The news is wonderful at supporting us with this one. This is where we habitually reject or minimize any positive feedback and magnify the negative feedback. The glass is always half empty. If you catch yourself saying something positive and then saying “but” followed by a negative, you are practicing this. “I got a 95 percent on this test, but I didn’t get a 100 percent.” Without awareness, this style of thinking will likely land you in a depressed mood.

Blaming: Be careful of this one. We all do it, pointing the finger at someone else for our woes or point the finger at ourselves for others woes. “If my boss wasn’t so hard on me at work, I wouldn’t be so anxious” or “It’s my fault my parents got divorced.” Just check in with yourself after noticing this style of thinking. It doesn’t cultivate any solutions and just makes you feel stuck, anxious, or depressed.

The question is how can we rebalance this automatic nature of our brains toward greater happiness?

There are some basic practices we can use to begin retraining our brain to get some space from these mind traps and refocus on what truly matters. We can change our brain to handle stress better, be more empathic, happier, less fearful, and even enhance our learning and memory. Learning theory teaches us that what we practice and repeat in life becomes automatic and neuroscience is proving that we can change the architecture of our brains by intentionally paying attention with greater mindfulness.

“See, Touch, Go” is a technique I talk about in my new book The Now Effect and it simply means when your mind wanders onto a mind trap for example, “see” where it wandered to, “touch” or notice the thought, and “gently go” back to the task at hand. Practicing “See, Touch, Go” with our common mind traps, will strip away any of the wasted attention on self-judgment or any other distracting thoughts and get you back to the task with greater focus, making you more productive and less stressed.

See, Touch, Go

The 3-minute video below is the first of 14 instructional videos that are woven throughout The Now Effect. I wanted to share the first one with you to give you an experience of “See, Touch, Go.” Give yourself a chance to practice it right now, then go ahead and bring it to the tasks at work, even your email.

(Note: The introduction in the video says, “thank you for buying The Now Effect” because the reader experiences this as the first video in the book.)

****You can find this video at http://www.care2.com/greenliving/train-your-brain-to-be-happy.html?page=2****

Come back to this to practice throughout the day and bring it informally to the tasks at home and work whenever you notice your mind wandering onto a mind trap or from what’s most important to pay attention to. You may even want to schedule a pop up in your calendar asking yourself “Where is my attention now?” When it pops up, take a breath and then answer the question. You may discover you were caught in a mind trap.

You may do this dance over and over again. The purpose isn’t to judge yourself if you’re distracted, but just become aware of it and gently refocus your attention. This mindful focus has been proven to help us become more flexible in our decision making, less stressed and happier at home and at work.

Try it out!

Daily OM for April 8th – Culling out the Weeds

Culling out the Weeds
Mind over Matter

We can improve our overall physical well-being by first starting to notice our thoughts and our reactions to our thoughts.

The power of the mind is a curious thing, because it is so powerful yet so difficult to control sometimes. We find ourselves thinking a certain way, knowing that this thought may be creating trouble for us yet we find it difficult to stop. For example, many people have the experience of getting sick at the same time every year or every time they go on a plane. They may even be aware that their beliefs impact their experiences, so continue to think they will get sick and then they do.

Sometimes we need to get sick in order to process something or move something through our bodies. But often we get sick, or feel exhausted, because we don’t make the effort to galvanize the power of our minds in the service of our physical health, which is one of its most important functions. We really can use it to communicate to our bodies, yet we often regard the two as separate entities that have little to do with one another.

Knowing this, we have the power to create physical health and mental health, simply by paying attention to the tapes running in our minds. Once we hear ourselves, we have the option to let that tape keep running or to make a new recording. We harness the power of the mind in our defense when we choose supportive, healing words that foster good health and high spirits. All we need to do is remember to tend the field of our mind with the attentive and loving hand of a master gardener tending her flower beds, culling out the weeds so that the blossoms may come to fruition.

Your Daily Number for October 1st: 8

Today is a day of karma in action; this could mean either rewards or loss. While you may be feeling generous, it’s not a good day for gambling. Your feelings of loyalty for friends will be strong; you may even spend some time reminiscing today. Your health will improve vastly with exercise, so get moving!

Fast Facts

About the Number 8

Theme: Power, Responsibility, Good Judgment, Financial Rewards
Astro Association: Leo
Tarot Association: Strength

Your Daily Number for April 25: 8

Your Daily Number: 8

Today is a day of karma in action; this could mean either rewards or loss. While you may be feeling generous, it’s not a good day for gambling. Your feelings of loyalty for friends will be strong; you may even spend some time reminiscing today. Your health will improve vastly with exercise, so get moving!

Fast Facts

About the Number 8

Theme: Power, Responsibility, Good Judgment, Financial Rewards
Astro Association: Leo
Tarot Association: Strength