How To Make The Good Stuff Stick

Over the past decade, I’ve amassed numerous tools to create mindfulness, being present, and leaning towards a glass-half-full mindset. I used spend lots of time swimming in mental pond scum like distrust, angst, worry, and lack mindset. It was a disservice to my life source. Swimming in mental pond scum is where our minds tend to rest, unless we are consciously filtering the water of our mind. Work by neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, further reiterates that “the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones.”

Continuously swimming in mindset pond scum, overtime, can lead to ubiquitous negativity, stress, depleted energy stores, and negative health implications. On the other hand, when we filter the scummy waste out of our minds, we can boost our immune system, increase the longevity of our lives, and feel delicious head-to-toe. One tool that I use to shift my mindset is making the good stuff stick.

Data suggests that it can take five-to-10 positive emotional experiences to counterbalance one negative emotional brain experience.  Making the good stuff stick is like strength training for the brain. The more we allow feel-good sensations to permeate every single cell in our bodies; the more our brain is ready to flex its glass-half-full muscle. Below are three of my favorite brain-rewiring strategies to make the good stuff stick.
 

  1. Make a soundtrack – Personally relevant songs, memories and emotions can be connected in the brain. Plus, listening to music naturally releases lots of feel good body chemicals. You can create a playlist or tune in to the sounds and songs in your environment.  I recently went on vacation and I wanted to sop up every feel-good sensation that I could possibly devour. So, I created a premeditated playlist that I played throughout my trip. Plus, I tuned into the music playing in the car, restaurants, and parties. Suddenly…that new belt-out-loud Rihanna song has even more meaning. Now when I hear that song it takes me right back to the sweet spot of my personal paradise, feeling unstoppable, swept away, and luscious.
  2. Snap a picture and write about it – Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words; however, pairing handwriting your experiences has extra strong brain-adhesive power.  Snap some pictures when you feel positive feelings such as excited, invigorated, or carefree. Print your pictures and make a "home" for them in a journal. Be sure to write down what was special about those moments. I have a photo gratitude journal that I visit regularly. Lots of times, I photograph and write about the simple things that bring me appreciation, harmony, or magic. I take pictures and write about my morning coffee, my cat walking on my computer when I try to write, or a text that made me LOL from a friend. When I’m consciously filtering mind pond scum, I’m always on a feel-good treasure hunt.
  3. Stop and smell the roses – Our sense of smell connects immediately with the emotional section of our brain. The sense of smell is said to cultivate and evoke memory recall the easiest. During my vacation, I splashed on some jasmine oil the day I visited a mind-blowing art museum. Now every time I smell jasmine, it takes me right back to staring Van Gogh’s Irises, feeling appreciation, grace, and, rapture.  So, throw on a fragrance, carry an essential oil with you, or simply be cognizant of what you smell in that exact moment to encode your brain with positivity.

Over time, we can train our brains to slip into feeling good more easily. The more we do it, the stronger our foundation. When you notice a positive feeling such as hope, optimism, or peace, stop for 15-30 seconds and be a data collector. What do you hear?  What smells do you notice? What is going right for you in this very moment?  Allow the moment to permeate every single cell with delight and renewal. Sit in the moment of receiving, allowing the good stuff to stick.


Namaste,
Jessica Sharpenstein, M.S., C.W.C.

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