In With The Good

Working with my depression means a lot of counterbalancing my hyperactive, always-on-alert reptilian brain. Because of the way our brains work, it's often easier to build new habits and patterns than it is to reduce old ones. Kind of like–if you don't use it, you lose it. One very powerful way I've learned to calm the alarm system is to work really hard to notice, savor, and be fully present for positive experiences when they arise. This is a nice way to approach it, because you don't have to contrive positive experiences for this to be valuable. Even in the worst of times, moments of good pass us by. If we can see them when they do, and allow it–just simply noticing and observing–we begin to take brainpower away from the negative neural pathways we've so unremittingly trodden. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a psychologist who has written several books exploring the neuroscience and psychology of this phenomenon. I recommend Hardwiring Happiness for a starting point, or his 2009 work with Richard Mendius, MD, Buddha's Brain to learn more about the spiritual context of mindfulness and its intersection with positive neuropsychology.

© 2020 by Brooke E. Benson

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