Can you Take in the Good? Change your brain with Rick Hanson

Rick Hanson’s work on how to take in the good is something which, having read much of his work, I know I must keep reminding myself of because of, what he calls, the brains negativity bias.

There are strong evolutionary reasons for this negativity bias. It is better to assume there is a tiger behind the bushes a thousand times and be wrong a thousand times than to assume there is no tiger and be wrong once.

Sadly, most of us don’t know that this is our default mode. With this knowledge comes opportunity. The opportunity to change our brain by deliberately helping good experiences make lasting impressions on our brain. We can change our brain (this is called neuroplasticity).

Keep focussing on the happy experience (the taste and smell of food, a feeling of gratitude, a hug, etc) and let it sink into us over 20 or 30 seconds.

Rick explains taking in the good as deliberately using the mind to change the brain for the better. He splits it into three parts:

If something good happens then let a good fact become a good experience.

Savour.

As you sink into it, sense, and intend, that it is sinking into you.

We take a few moments to really focus on all the aspects of a positive experience, keep focussing on it, then imagine it sinking into our body and mind as, at the same time, we are sinking into it, whether this is a feeling of peace, love, calm, strength, etc, or pleasures of the senses, having a happy time, good news, and so on.

Thanks to Rick for this, as the knowledge has improved my life, though, as mentioned, it is nice to remind oneself as it is easy to slip into our default mode!

Find out more abour Rick here:

Rick Hanson neuroscience of happiness

How is your internal weather? 3 minute breathing space mindfulness meditation

In this 3-minute breathing space mindfulness meditation, Professor Mark Williams, of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, invites us to explore what the current weather pattern is in the mind and body while, in his words “not trying to change anything, but open to what is already here”.

Doing this kind of exercise regularly is a gift we can give ourselves. In noticing, and allowing, we notice change always occurs. In knowing change is coming we may find it easier to accept difficult thoughts, feelings and sensations. Sometimes it feels as if our bodies were just desperately trying to get our attention. In feeling fully, we can often then release. This may not happen, but we notice that also, with kindness.

Sit and watch.

Sit and watch 3 minute mindfulness

It’s not always that simple and, often, we may notice suffering. Paradoxically, though, we can sometimes reduce our suffering by simply sitting still and noticing it fully, as part of our overall experience.

 

Find out more about the Oxford Mindfulness Centre here:

Oxford Mindfulness Centre

Woodland Ambience antidote to Sunday blues

A bit of woodland ambience (trickling stream included) for those of you who have had a Trainspotting day, as Renton said, “wondering who the f*** you are on a Sunday morning”.

We can habitually plan to not drink so much/do more exercise/etc/etc/etc. Like many other Sunday afternoons.

Or we could Choose Life and leave that for a few days, after which we will probably have improved mental resources to think more clearly, and choose to spend some of the rest of today being kind to ourselves.

Perhaps including putting on some headphones and listening to and watching the sounds of nature for a few minutes or more. And realising that we are that nature and that is who the f*** we are. Let the boundaries dissolve a little and feel warmth to yourself and, in doing so, to the world.

Have a lovely Sunday.

 

Buds on branch in woodland

Rumi quotes from poems to make your heart bloom

I ended up on a video of Rumi quotes after originally planning to link up a poem called Buoyancy by Rumi. It is my all-time favourite. Indeed, I will link it below, and I urge you to read it if the following creates soul stirrings:

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That is how I hold your voice.

As I was looking, I came across this video of Rumi quotes with some wonderful imagery, plus some memories of 1990’s fractal posters!

I can only say that, for me, they are words to make your heart bloom.

Rumi quotes make your heart bloom

Enjoy the quotes and imagery:

 

Buoyancy by Rumi

The chief interpreter of Rumi’s work is Coleman Barks. Visit his website here:

Coleman Barks website

Have a heart-blooming day.

 

Can we ACT to accept our emotions – ACT Therapy mindfulness meditation

An ACT Therapy mindfulness meditation. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) uses real world examples to help us realise that we are never going to be able to rid ourselves of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and sensations, and that we waste huge amounts of energy trying to control them (which usually make things worse).

What we can control is our actions and we can realise that we can act in ways that help us move towards WHAT WE VALUE in life INSPITE of how we feel. We do not try to control, we observe the present moment, including thoughts and sensations, and do the things we value, however we are feeling. Actions come first and this is a liberating and different path.

ACT therapy meditation - a different path

 

There are many different techniques in ACT, many based on mindfulness. In this guided ACT session, we move towards difficult feelings/sensations and explore every part of them in great detail, like a scientist. This is radically different from how I would normally deal with unpleasant feelings (wishing they would go away/worrying about them) and, having listened a dozen or so times, I feel like I have given ‘fear of fear’ a decisive blow.

In other words, IT IS GREAT!

 

Find out more about ACT from author Russ Harris Acceptance & Commitment Therapy ACT Mindfully

Alan Watts meditation to awaken the mind

Alan Watts videos are a cottage industry on YouTube in recent years. In this Alan Watts meditation we are introduced to the idea of letting sounds play with our eardrums like music.

This is our starting point. We don’t need to interpret the sounds. Alan then takes us deeper and, as often when listening to his lectures, my mind goes quiet as part of me feels I am hearing a truth I already know. Things are not always what they seem.

Things are not what they seem - Alan Watts guided meditation

This may be an illusion. I do know, however, that Alan’s voice has accompanied the disappearance of many an ironing pile in this house. For that alone I am grateful!

Thanks Alan.

Find out more about Alan Watts here Alan Watts official website

Enjoy a sacred pause with Tara Brach

Tara Brach meditations and lectures are among my favourite ever listenings. I just feel better during and after listening. I have heard this four and a half minutes on countless occasions.

I am grateful for the way Tara invites us to explore just how we are feeling right now with kindness and just subtle, gentle encouragement to move towards a calmer state

I sometimes end up knowing just how stressed I am, but am always pleased that, at least I know. I know how to pause.

Enjoy a sacred pause with Tara Brach

If you are able, I thoroughly recommend listening to any of Tara’s full lectures. I always feel like I know myself a little more deeply after doing so.

 

 

Find out more about Tara here Tara Brach website

Mindfulinks – resources for meditation, mindfulness and psychotherapy

A gathering of the most inspiring resources that I have come across in meditation, mindfulness, psychotherapy and related fields – videos, audio, poems and more.

There has been so much that I have been grateful to find out there and will be collecting it in one place (here!), to commentate on and share. I will also add new discoveries.

Will be updated regularly! All the best from me to you.