What Everyone Needs To Know About Their Brains
You already know how incredible the brain is, but here’s something everyone needs to know. Brains are highly adaptable and how we think can alter the pathways for our emotions. Your thoughts really are powerful!
The concepts in this post have been condensed from Rick Hanson, a psychologist who specializes in neuroscience. He has many great resources if you are curious about learning more.
The Negativity Bias
Rick shares that our brains have a negativity bias. While negative experiences are unpleasant, the mind will remember those experiences more than a pleasant one. By paying more attention to what is good or pleasant, you can rewire your brain to respond better during bad situations.
Finding that silver lining can really be helpful when you are feeling stressed or dealing with an unpleasant situation to help turn flip your mindset.
Pay Attention To Your Thoughts
Since we know that brains are wired to learn more from negative experiences, we need to pay closer attention to our stream of thoughts. Rick says that most people pay too much attention to the bad stuff, and disregard the mildly positive or neutral events.
This deepens the negative thought pathways and weakens the pathway for positive experiences. Overall, this creates a more negative influence on our brains.
Red Light Or Green Light
Finally, Rick notes that brains basically operate on a red light/green light system. Green represents basic needs like connection, safety, and satisfaction. Being relaxed, and playful are green light scenarios. Red light is danger, fear, stress and frustration. It’s easy to live mildly in the red light system for with only small parts of the day in a green light system.
This is actually opposite of how we are designed to function best. Spending too much time in the red light system will actually alter the chemicals that the brain produces.
That means more cloudy skies and less sunny days, mentally speaking. While it may take a little more practice to spend time in the green zone, it can be strengthened with practice.
Stress can run high for a number of reasons. We all have deadlines and commitments for work. Family and financial concerns also rank high, as well as health matters. This will wear you down over time!
Daily meditation helps wonders. It can be a quiet sit down meditation or a walking version which I prefer. While walking feel the sun on your skin, the ground beneath your feet, the breeze on your face, your breath moving in and out. Listen to the birds, hear the leaves rustle in the trees. Really, you are just practicing slowing down and being in the moment.
Numerous studies show that even small doses of nature during your day can alter your brain mood. Eat lunch outside, go for evening walks, find a park to relax in and let nature help you destress naturally. You can’t go wrong with a hike1