While you have been anchoring in your breath, your mind has been busy telling stories. These stories are of interest especially the ones that do not focus on positive emotions. While we are meditating, we want to return to focusing on our breath. But at others times in our day, the stories we tell ourselves matter. Much of the work I do with people focuses on the stories that are spoken internally. These narratives are often repetitive, and negative – contributing to depression, anxiety or stasis.
The premise I want to explore today is the effect of the stories we tell ourselves. And I mean the effect on the neural structures in the brain. I would like to thank my friend for sharing the article Buddha’s Brain: – Wisebrain.org by Rick Hanson Ph.D. with me. His definition of this phenomenon is most useful; ” with a little skillfulness, you can use your mind to change your brain to benefit your whole being – and everyone else you affect. ” The skillfulness he is referring to is simply to sit still, and focus on your breath. Additional skillfulness involves and at other facilitating positive emotions. We can do this by intentionally noticing, focusing and grounding in positive experiences. Simply replaying positive, happy interactions in our day can help to change our neural structures. The changes enhances our ability to notice more positive experiences in the future. This concept is based on neuroscientist saying “what fires together, wires together”. What we notice, and how we spend the majority of our time thinking, can strengthen previous “wiring” (in this instance negative events) or create new wiring (positive events).
In a typical day we are bombarded with negative news, our brains are skewed to notice negative and dangerous events, and people tend to gossip about upsetting information. We need to make a conscious effort to counteract this negative bias. Make a decision today, try and really take in a good event- repeat the narrative to yourself. Make a decision today t0 say something positive to yourself about your appearance, and your performance. Slow down and take in something uplifting or beautiful. Add this practice to your daily practice of abdominal breathing, and meditation. These small actions can literally change your brain to increase your positive emotions and happiness.