Tom discusses a women’s magazine called Evie with guests Janice Fiamengo and Moiret Allegiere. While acknowledging that the magazine celebrates traditionalism, we were pleasantly surprised by how anti-feminist and male-positive it is overall.
There is a saying that negative thoughts are like Velcro. They stick in the brain and linger. Positive thoughts are more like Teflon. We think them and then they disappear. They don’t stick around very long they slide and decay rapidly.
One antidote for this has been studied by positive psychologists who have found that the act of being grateful can counteract this dilemma. In fact they have found that gratefulness has a lasting impact, not just hours or days but months. They have also found that it impacts not only negative thoughts but also depression. Gratefulness improves immune function, increases stress resistance, and improves ones sense of self worth. It also has been shown to increase our enjoyment of the present moment! This is huge and tells us that we all need to be working on cultivating our own gratefulness.
Write a letter to someone you know that you feel deserves your thanks and appreciation that you have yet to express. Let them know in the letter how grateful you are for what they have done. Send it and watch what it does to you. For a bonus, scientists have found that if you read the letter to the person aloud the impact is even greater.
It might be a friend, a family member, a coach for your children’s sports or whoever you feel grateful to.
I want you to try something. Hum a tune. Maybe Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Try a line or two. Now try it again and as you are humming try to think of the tune of another song while you are humming Row Row Row Your Boat. What happens? My guess is that like the rest of us, you can’t hear the other song in your head as you are humming the first. Maybe there are a couple of folks out there who can do that but most of our brains short circuit if we try to double up. While this may be a bit humbling it is also good news. The good news is that by occupying the mind with one theme you can successfully avoid other themes.
This is actually the essence of the age old idea of counting sheep to get to sleep. By counting the sheep you focus on one theme, the sheep, and all the other themes get put on hold. So many times the main problem in failing to get to sleep is a series of intrusive negative thoughts. Very difficult to sleep when you are being bombarded. These same intrusive negative thoughts wreak havoc on our feeling good.
So how can we use this to our advantage?
Make yourself comfortable, lying down or sitting. Become aware of your breath. As you breathe in say to yourself or say out loud “one, one, one, one, one” repeatedly as long as you are breathing in. When you start breathing out say out loud or to yourself “two, two, two, two, two” repeatedly for as long as the exhale takes. Then on the next inhale say “three, three, three, three,” and the exhale “four, four, four, four.” Continue this pattern at least until you reach 25. Don’t be surprised if your thoughts intrude on your counting. That is expected. Just smile and go back to the numbers! Once you reach 25 take note of what you are feeling in your body and what emotions you might have or not have. My guess is that you will feel pretty good but see what your results are.