Sometimes good things might be happening around you, but you may not feel happy. You might wonder if your brain will ever allow you to experience happiness.
Our minds are wired to pay attention to the negative stuff around us (since that keeps us safe), and they seem to be less responsive when good things are around.
But the positive experiences can help in many ways:
- They can help you become more resilient.
- They help you feel better so you can cope better.
- They help you become more optimistic — then you can manage low moods and setbacks.
- They lower stress responses (fight or flight) by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (so you feel relaxed and contented).
With practice they become easier to tap into, so you can readily recall feelings of peace, contentment, well-being, etc.
You can train your brain to notice positive experiences and remember feel-good events.
- Actively look for good things in the world — signs that others care for you or good qualities within yourself. Then pay attention to these things.
- Decide that you will allow yourself to feel happy or to enjoy good things. Give yourself permission to relax and feel good about yourself.
- Actively experience the emotions that are involved — feel the warmth stealing through your body, the kindness soothing you, the peacefulness washing over you and the joy giving you a boost or a lift.
- Create some positive moments — deliberately set out to do something nice for someone else or for yourself.
- Stay with these moments (don’t rush away), savour the good feelings and let them spread through your body. Notice if you feel uncomfortable with positive feelings.
- Take time with these positive feelings — allow them to soak slowly into your body. Feel relaxed.
What you can do:
- Look for and pay attention to positive feelings.
- Allow them to be inside of you.
- Spend time experiencing them — allow them to register deeply inside your brain.