There is what we humans call a "negative" bias of our brain - for it was apparently better for survival to watch out for danger (and "what's wrong") in order to avoid it than to look for positive things (and be eaten). Of course, things have changed from 10,000 years ago, while our brains have hardly changed. So it is left up to us to retrain our brains and how we operate given the way our brain are.
We've got to learn and know that there are fewer real dangers, plus we've got to retrain the brain to tell the difference between the many thousands of stimuli we get in the modern world as to which are "deminimus" and the few that are worth paying attention to. We must consciously clarify what is a danger and what is just something we made up that exists solely in our minds and is not valid - unfortunately, a culture not trained in reexamining its beliefs gives us "rules" and "beliefs" that are nonsense and are unnecessarily upsetting - and which cause physical harm ultimately.
Unfortunately, having thousands of extra things to be concerned about causes us to set off our alarms more often, resulting in a hyperactive alarm system, which in turn exacerbates the whole brain function into a constantly-felt alarm mode - and we've got to eliminate the "holding/tension" in anticipation of danger and the constant anxiety and stress. We can "turn down" the hyperactive alarm system by using methods that physically send "safety signals" to the amygdala and by engaging our conscious brain in voicing "safety" or "deminizing" messages. There is no way around doing these - though many people consider this to be nonsense and "new agey", but if you follow the science explanations and data on this site, you'll see that it is all true and workable - and that we are working with a strictly mechanical brain.
Basically, if you do these strategies, you will arrive at having full days where you experience virtually no stress. Do not accept less!
THE NEGATIVE SET UP FROM EVOLUTION
Negative memories are recorded more strongly than positive ones. This served us well in evolution as it caused us to survive by reacting better to danger without thinking and just firing off old recordings.
However, the automatic negative bias does not serve us when there are so many stimuli, as in present days compared to caveman days. We fire off our alarm systems and then we add negative assessments to those until most of us have an underlying negative undercurrent.
If one studies brain science, one sees that repeated firing off of any one "thing" reinforces that "thing" so that it becomes stronger and quicker and more apt to take priority over other neuronal combinations firing off.
For instance, if you allow yourself to behave in anger it is much more likely in the future that anger will prevail again. Even a single episode of major depression will reshape the ciruits of the brain to make future depression more likely. Essentially you create more of a proneness for that behavior, emotion, reaction than would naturally be the case, whether it be anger, depression, worry, negative thinking, or whatever.
We cannot afford to let ourselves be subject to a negative almost unconscious feeling that pervades our mind behind the scenes and adds stress to our lives that does damage to our bodies and our minds.
THE POSITIVE MUST BE PROACTIVE OR IT WON'T WIN
It is up to your higher brain to decide that it will be committed to creating a positive underlying way of being. You must give to yourself absolute kindness, caring, encouragement, and compassion, as if you were giving it to a small child (remember the lower brains need to be treated as if they were no smarter than children). Read How You And Your Brain/Body Operate, noting the bit about how to talk to your Lennie (from Mice and Men) - this is a vital piece to understand in your life.
We must focus on that which is positive, underline it, savor it. Your brain will "remember" the positive, affecting its underlying mood for the long term, if you take each positive and think about it or stay in it an extra 10 to 20 seconds even.
If you have a negative experience, talk back to it and/or bring a positive back in as soon as possible as it will cause your brain to retain less of the negative experience or even wipe it out. Coming back in with soothing, comforting statements such as in the Self Talk section is an essential skill to begin to create a more positive, happy outlook on life that comes up automatically and pervasively. Read also Coping Statements.
If one practices this consistently one can counteract and eliminate the pain of negative experiences, including trauma (Frederickson 2001).
PRACTICAL, DOABLE ACTIONS TO PUT INTO PRACTICE
Although you had best remove old beliefs as soon as you can and replace them through the processes in the Beliefs And Thoughts section, it is extremely effective to put the following into place as a way of living your life. Keep a list of these in your Reminders Notebook, so that you can build these in as new habits and ways of being. It is vital that you implement a Gratitude practice (using your Reminders Notebook) and a positive languaging practice, but it is important that you go beyond that to begin to actively look for positives and to stop for a few seconds to "imprint" them on your brain, literally. One of the brain circuit imprinting practices is to create and use regularly a Memories Notebook. Another is to pause at the end of the day and to recall what good things happened during the day.
Remember, please, that these are not just positive thinking/experiencing activities for the moment for they also are part of creating a whole new way of your primitive brain operating for the long term.
As you imprint new positive memories into your brain, your brain will actually physically change, and in such a way that it makes it easier to change even highly negative childhood experiences. Part of what one learns by doing the above practices is to look at things differently and to develop the skill of "reframing" a past experience. Reframing is creating a different way of looking at the same thing.
For instance, one could look at one's terrible parents and give oneself compassion for having learned poor beliefs from them and for having understandably created so much angst in yourself as a child who did not have the power nor the knowledge to make better conclusions. Such things are accomplished also on a directive basis if one wants to use the Caring, Feeling Presence process.
DO THE "REWIRING" THAT IS STRICTLY MECHANICAL, ALSO
Especially consider, and honor, the brain's and body's need for functioning in a stable range, called Homeostasis, for violating this will have immense consequences.
I commit to:
___ Nourishing, soothing, and encouraging myself in my self conversations.
___ Finding positives to imprint by savoring and focusing on them.
Signed this ____ day of __________________, ___________
Signed by: ___________________________