The human brain is amazing. Even in the midst of adversity the brain is capable of recalling pleasant pictures. And while riding the emotional rollercoaster we can get to ease just by envisioning a calm and uplifting episode of our past.
I am convinced this knowledge makes a difference in your daily routines. And if you use it for your own good, you will become more successful in life. Join me in this thought experiment.
Just pick any stressful situation: an unpleasant feedback of your boss, that furious call of a customer, your child screaming down the neighbourhood for no reason. Immediately your brain switches to stress-mode – you can only focus on the bad, your creativity is limited, you want to run away. All those reactions are totally normal. The human brain is programmed like this. If we get into stress, we want to get out of it. Quickly.
Unluckily running off isn’t possible most of the times. So we suffer in the situation. And even if the stressor is gone, we ponder on the bad feeling; replaying the stress situation again and again.
Interestingly we can keep the bad feeling for quite a long time although the situation has passed. While hitting replay in our minds again and again, we also revive the bad mood attached.
If that is true for stressful memories, why not using it for good!?
Change your thoughts and you change your world.Norman Vincent Peale – Pastor & Author
Pastor Peale nails it down quite precise: instead of rerunning the same hurtful thoughts, the human brain is capable of activating positive recollections. And while thinking of the good old day(s) the emotion slowly follow.
How does it look like to put this into practice?
Keep an assorted collection of your finest memories. Maybe that marvelous sunset at the beach while your feet sunk into soft sand? Perhaps that good laughter with your closest friends over dinner the other night?
Whatever it is, make sure it is easy to recall. Whenever you get into the stressful situation, set yourself an inner “stop!”, relaunch your memory and take a moment to regrow the positive feeling.
Remember: you are not a victim of your (bad) environment and the emotions attached to hard situations. You can keep your inner peace. And by staying calm, be able to think creatively, find new solutions and make good decisions.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4, 23
I wonder whether Pastor Peale is referencing to this bible verse when he is writing about positive thinking. Only a sound mind and a peaceful heart are able to make solid decisions. Decisions that influence our lives.
I encourage you to take care of your emotions. Be the guard of your heart and stop negative thoughts early. Instead turn to powerful memories and refill your emotional reservoir during the day.