Taking in the good

Tuesday July 3, 2018

My mind (as I suspect is true of many of us here) tends to drift more easily to the negative than the positive. Even with two small children whose presence should (and does) bring so much joy my mind goes more easily to the 'what ifs' of life and I worry endlessly over all the things that can go wrong rather than appreciating what is right.

I have been reading a book called 'hardwiring happiness' by Rick Hanson, a neuropsycologist. His basic premise is that our brains, in ancient times, developed a strong 'negativity bias'. It was safer to go into fight or flight mode over 1000 imagined tigers than to ignore one real one and get eaten. He likens the brain to a wax record where each time a train of thought is followed the groove becomes deeper. Because human brains evolved to favour the negative reactions which kept us safe in dangerous times those negative grooves become deeper and deeper and we go more and more automatically to negative patterns of thought.

Rick Hanson recommends that we begin to counteract this by 'taking in the good' to make our minds more likely to head to a positive groove.

It's a simple idea where you identify a positive experience, notice it and stay with it for a few moments to really experience it making it easier to bring to mind later on. He recommends that you practice bringing those moments back to mind during the day so that you can reach out to them in difficult moments.

So I plan to try to notice the small positive things; a good meal, a hug from a friend or the smile on the face of a child and to catch my negative groves before I slip down the rabbit hole again. I want to really notice those things I normally take for granted rather than letting them slide past; breathe in the smells, appreciate the touch, bite into a chocolate and really taste it. Linger in the experience longer than you normally would and bring it to mind a few times later in the day. Deepen the 'groove' in the record that is your mind and make your 'needle' more likely to travel there in the future.

Even for those of us for whom life is currently really full of challenges we can work on finding a positive experience to notice and dwell on and small things work well. A clean crisp bed sheet, a warm cup of tea, a small task done well or a conversation with an old friend.

What Simple everyday things will you try to enjoy and savour?

Best wishes,
A moodscope user

Moodscope is crowdfunding. Please help. It only takes a couple of minutes to donate:https://bit.ly/2JcDkMm"

By making a donation you will enable Moodscope to make the improvements necessary to offer immediate help to everyone who needs it.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


Comments are viewable only by members. Register Now to participate in the discussion.

Already have an account? Login to leave a comment.

There are 30 comments so far.

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.