When I am having a bad day, I feel consumed by negativity. Unfortunately, this makes a lot of sense from a psychological perspective. Our brains respond to negative information three to five times more than they do to positive input. In the old days, this was crucial to survival. It wouldn’t have been wise for our brains to notice the beautiful scenery when we had to be attuned to natural threats such as predators. Even though we aren’t faced with the same threats today, our brain is still wired the same, which is a major bummer if you ask me (Source: Mindful Life).
Thankfully, research has shown that the more we can combat these negative thoughts by flooding our brains with positive ones, the stronger the neural pathways become that are related to positive images and memories, and, consequently, the more positive we become.
Having experienced intrusive and unwanted thoughts in the past, this little slice of science helps me see that I while it was a scary time for me, there is hope that I can continue to train my brain to think more positively.
Winter and I read “The Little Engine that Could” about a million times per day. She loves pointing out the clown out of all characters in the book (which makes me laugh because Perry is deathly afraid of them) and when we get to the part where the little engine is climbing up the big hill saying, “I think I can”, I get a little teary eyed. Winter has such a “can-do” mentality. She is so confident and it pains me to think that there will come a day when she too has to be mindful about ways to combat that ugly voice in her head telling her that she can’t.
Lately, I have been working really hard to slow down and stop and smell the flowers if you will. On our daily walks, I often set an intention and refuse to let the tasks in my future, what’s on my to-do list or the mistakes I made in the past impact they way I feel and what I observe as we walk. Walking with Winter is our sacred time. It’s our time to be still, be quiet and let serenity and peace find us. I am certain on these walks that my brain somehow defies science and is three to five times more sensitive to the beauty that is called life.