What do you see in this picture?
A dark hole in the ground? Look again. Look for something less dangerous. Do you see it? It’s a bale of hay casting a dark shadow on the ground that looks like a dark hole.
The reason you see the negative first is because your brain is wired that way. It’s wired to protect you from what it perceives as a threat or unmet need. It’s your survival instinct working overtime to keep you from falling in a perceived hole.
Our survival instinct keeps us alive, but it can keep us from truly living.
Take the picture for example. Are you conditioned to see the negative aspect first? Most likely. Our brains are wired to do so. It is your survival instinct kicking in.
However, those who practice training a positive perspective, condition their brain to move toward the positive more quickly. Through consistent practice, that person helps the brain interpret whether or not the perceived threat is real or fantasy more quickly. It involves intentional practice of positivity and gratitude, even in the most unsettling times in life…like a pandemic and quarantine.
Here are a few ways to help you begin developing a positive perspective through consistent practice:
1. Create a Gratitude List each day. Write down as many as ten (10) VERY SPECIFIC things that happened to you during the day. For example, a cool breeze on a warm day, a kind word from a stranger in the store (with proper social distancing rules applied!), a flower growing through a crack in the concrete.
As you continue to look for things to put on your list each day, you condition your brain to look for the positive. You move from a fight, flight, freeze perspective to more of a Louie Armstrong/Wonderful Word perspective, which is a wonderful place to be. Do you see what I did there?
2.Practice verbalizing the positive in people with whom you live and work. Tell them what you appreciate and admire about them. Give them a note, card, or gift that expresses that positivity to them. Try to do this each day. heck, you may even start to like them more.
3. Change your perspective. If you can’t see anything positive, ask someone for their perspective. Would you have been able to see the hay if I hadn’t told you it was there?
Get up and move, so the shadow falls a different way. Allow others to provide you another point of view. It’s why we have each other.
Don’t see different perspectives as a threat. See them as valuable to your growth toward your best self.
Now…Look at the picture again. What do you see? It’s harder to find the hole isn’t it?
Your brain has already been conditioned to see the bale of hay, the positive in that scene. It can happen to you in the most challenging of life’s situations, too. Try it and see for yourself. Even in the hardest and scariest of times, look for the positive. It’s there.
Good luck with these tasks! May you find the world a more positive and wonderful place!