Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Growing Good In Your Brain

A blog posted yesterday on the UC Berkeley website, Greater Good, seems appropriate to share during these times when our news cycles can seem overwhelming when compounded by our personal lives, oft times making it a challenge to continue to perceive and create good.

How to Grow the Good in Your Brain

By Rick Hanson | September 24, 2013 |  Rick Hanson explains how we can protect ourselves from the stress of negative experiences.

Imagine that your mind is like a garden. You could simply be with it, looking at its weeds and flowers without judging or changing anything. Or, you could pull weeds by decreasing what’s negative in your mind. Or, you could grow flowers by increasing the positive in your mind. In essence, you can manage your mind in three primary ways: let be, let go, or let in.

When something difficult or uncomfortable happens—when a storm comes to your garden—these three ways to engage your mind give you a very useful, step-by-step sequence.
First, be with your experience. Observe it and accept it for what it is even if it’s painful. Second, when it feels right—which could be a matter of seconds with a familiar worry or a matter of months or years with the loss of a loved one—begin letting go of whatever is negative. For example, relax your body to reduce tension. Third, again when it feels right, after you’ve released some or all of what was negative, replace it with something positive. For instance, you could remember what it’s like to be with someone who appreciates you, then stay with this experience for 10 or 20 seconds.

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