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Planting flowers in the garden of the mind

Did you know that you are wired to relate to negative experiences more than positive experiences? This is what has kept humans alive since the days of hunting and gathering out on the open range. We have evolved to always be on the look out for threats. While this keeps us safe most of the time, it can also lead to an increase in stress and lack of peace, contentment, and connection. If we are always looking out for a paper tiger in the bush, it is hard to feel stable, secure, and at ease.

Studies show that you can actually retrain your brain by taking time in your day to bring in the good and really let it soak in. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, complex, or mind blowing. It can be something as simple as a cup of tea, or the sun shining in through the trees, or a beautiful flower, or even a warm hug from a friend or pet (my dog hugs me all the time). We leave so many positive experiences on the table without soaking them in to create positive neuroplasticity. Instead, most of the time, we spend more time on thinking, worrying, and planning about negative events, thoughts, emotions and those seem to leave a deeper mark in our mind.

What would happen if you instead set aside a few minutes each day to soak in something positive. Start simple, have an experience and really experience all aspects about it (color, sound, touch, smell, etc.), then absorb it into your body and let it sink in so that your mind can file it away. If nothing else happens, you have at least saved yourself a few minutes of stress related hormones raging through your body. It’s likely though that you will experience some level of relaxation effect in your body and mind. You will begin to see the the true essence of your nature: to be happy, feel content, safe, and connected.

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