Write your happiness down
"Where attention goes - energy flows" - one of the most useful and mind-catching statement of the quantum physics as well as positive and cognitive psychology. Evolutionary, human brain wired to focus more attention of negative things such as potential threats and possible dangers in order to survive. We are all descendants of the most vigilant pessimists. No wonder that the rate of depression, anxiety, burnouts, and basic life dissatisfaction is so high in the contemporary Western society. Eastern people are not spoiled with happiness either. Karoshi (the death from overwork) is an officially accepted diagnosis in Japan, for example.
How to break this vicious circle of negativity?
Positive and cognitive psychology experts believe that reflective practices and mindfulness are extremely helpful. Let's have a look at the first thing.
Positive reflection techniques to boost happiness at work and private life are very similar. All of them are based on positive, social and cognitive psychology principles and models. "Gratitude journal", "Tree random acts of kindness", "Get 10 smiles back a day", "3 funny things at work", "3 small wins", "21 days of miracles" - just to name a few. The point is it is very important to keep physical records of those things by writing them down with as many details as possible. Usually, it takes 10-30 min a day. Preferable time: before bad when our brain calms down after daily stress and hassle. For how long: as long as possible, but not less that 21 days (the officially accepted by psychologists and neuroscientists minimum number of days sufficient to change a mental habit and rewire relevant brain circuitry in adults). Another amazing tool is to finish reflection with meditation (10 min of calm deep breath is enough for newbies). I will come back to meditations in one of the next blog posts. Also, please check the syllabus of the course I run "Meditate your destiny".
So, what are the benefits of reflective practices?
1. focused attention training -> improves cognitive functions such as memory, information processing, analytical skills, and many more... In other words, it could be interpreted as a balanced workout for your brain.
2. gentle focus shift to the positive things and achievements from annoying things and disappointments (that's what we usually tend to do as a human beings) ->
3. dopamine circuitry activation -> mental degenerative disease (ex. Parkinson) prevention
4. motivation boost in whatever you do ->
5. stress reduction (reduction in toxic stress neurotransmitter cortisol) ->
6. immune system boost ->
7. better physical health and increased longevity overall (right neurotransmitters' balance prevents telomerase from shortening too fast) ->
8. more energy ->
9. better relationships with others (due to feeling better mentally and physically) ->
10. more beneficial and healthy social activities -> organic growth of network ->
11. more opportunities
12. better sleep as a result of a more balanced life.
Question! How often do you allow yourself a luxury to sit quietly and do positive reflections and meditation? Please share!