“If you can manage to experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion … you dramatically improve your health and your ability to successfully tackle any problem you're facing.” ~ Jane McGonigal
My husband was out of town and my youngest child wanted me to sit with her every night while she fell asleep. I used this time to watch some really amazing TED talks.Jane McGonigal. Photo from her TED bio page
One talk that piqued my interest and stimulated some mental connecting-of-dots was by Jane McGonigal, a game developer... who has noticed that games that encourage us into optimism, cooperation, and creativity can actually lead us to approach our daily lives with the same outlook (link to her talk at the bottom of this post).
It seems... that perception is everything. People perceiving themselves as competent, capable, powerful, able to produce the desired change... that perception trumps physical discomfort as an indicator of how much people will feel that their lives are worthwhile. While this is where she leaves the talk... it's where I'd like to begin. Because this is where healing begins.
To know that our mindset is directly related to our ability to heal is incredibly powerful. It means that we don't have to manage healing first (be it physical, emotional, or mental) BEFORE we see ourselves as worthy of healing, as lovable, capable, and full of gratitude. In fact, that's backwards. We must perceive the possibility before we can take steps to make it happen for us.
So, what steps can you take today... to do something that encourages a positive, strong, grateful state of mind? If you're not feeling well perhaps you could take some time to make a brief list of things that you are grateful for. Get physically active... take a walk around the block... dance... walk your dog... or take time to stretch fully. Anything that gets you moving encourages blood flow and movement in the cerebral spinal fluid that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Connect with a friend, your community, or nature. Challenge your brain and stick with it. Choose wisely, so that it takes effort, but is not so complicated that you'll give up. Do a Sudoku puzzle, make some art, plan next week's menu and the groceries you'll need to make them.
That's a long list... don't let it be daunting. Choose one thing today and do it. Just... go ahead and do it. It doesn't have to be gigantic... just successful... and I think the other piece missing from the talk is to give yourself credit for it. I know that I, personally, often get to the end of my day and lament that I didn't do ANYTHING that day. That's not true. I'm not giving myself credit... I'm discounting what did get done... by saying these things to myself and relating my day to my husband. I did the dishes. I threw the ball for the dog. I HAVE to give myself credit for what I accomplished in order to feel up to doing more. If, instead, I berate myself for what I did not do... well... then I feel unmotivated to do what needs to be done the next day. Again... all back to perception. The keys to a shift in perception being lasting, though, is to 1) to acknowledge the deed that was accomplished, and 2) receive the resilience (read: motivation) that is gained from the completion. Which is to say... really let yourself understand and give credit for that success.
My 3-step prescription? Choose one thing. Do it. Acknowledge the accomplishment and receive the resilience.
I'm going to do this myself today... and I'll let you know tomorrow what I did. Will you do that for me too?
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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