Neuroplasticity

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Taking in the Good Isn't the Same as Positive Thinking

 

Transcription

Feeling Good from the Inside Out: A Great Way to Change Your Brain and Your Life

Podcast 5: Taking in the Good Isn’t the Same as Positive Thinking

 

In our last podcast I talked about some of the benefits of Taking in the Good. One is that we strengthen our ability to focus our mind where we want to focus it. It’s like we’re saying to our brain, “This is a wonderful moment. Let’s slow down. Instead of letting it slip by, let’s take it in.”

Another benefit is that our brain is being shaped through our whole life. We have a choice of how to shape it. This practice of Taking in the Good lets us see the positive experiences happening in real time during our ordinary life and gradually even in challenging times.

Today I’ll talk about how Taking in the Good and positive thinking are two very different things. I learned this model from Dr. Rick Hanson. It’s research based. We bring our mind’s attention to notice the simple pleasures and then gradually learn to take in the good feelings that are present.

When we focus our mind it’s centering, it’s meditative. This ability to focus flows over into daily life more and more, each time we practice. Taking in the Good weaves personal development together with neuroscience. It involves a little effort as do most of the things that bring meaning to our lives: relating with our loved ones, good self-care, and bringing joy into our day.

As Rick Hanson noted, it’s not exactly a hardship to practice “Taking in the Good.” We learn how to savor our lives as they are.

Positive thinking on the other hand is like making a wish and hoping beyond hope it will come true. Like wishing that close friends and family could read my mind, and instantly, poof, all misunderstandings would fall away. Or positive thinking could be imagining that I don’t need to exercise, that sitting and being positive in my mind is enough.

Thinking positively has benefits, yes, but for most of us nothing replaces a good walk or doing the kind of exercise that gets our bodies moving.  

Today consider how Taking in the Good, bringing our mind’s attention present to notice the simple pleasures, and then gradually learning to take in the good feelings that are present is different from positive thinking. Making a wish and hoping beyond hope it will come true.

Today, take a moment. Pause. When you notice something that’s good, take three breaths. Imagine you are taking in the feeling of the good thing. Feel it in your body. Let it soak into you like a soft rain.

Thanks for joining me. Bye for now.