Training our brain to look for what’s good
We can train our brain to look for the good around us, increasing the number of pleasant emotional moments we experience so over time we benefit from the ‘broaden and build’ effect outlined above. This doesn’t mean ignoring what’s wrong, but noticing what’s right. For example, studies show that simply reflecting and writing down three good things we experienced over the course of the day (however small), for seven days, boosted how happy people felt and reduced feeling down, and this impact lasted as long as six months!
Try it: Each night for one week, think back over your day. Identify three things you enjoyed, were pleased about or grateful for (however small) and write these down, perhaps with a few words on why these felt good for you. The good things you can be small or day-to-day – like getting a seat on the bus, the sun coming out, or being able to take a quick break on a tough day. After a week see what you notice. If you keep this practice up you might also notice themes in what you most often find pleasurable in some way.
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