Savouring the positive

By Elaine Dembe

Positive psychology is the study of what makes life most worthwhile and the factors that contribute to happiness, wellbeing and flourishing.

In their book Savoring, professors Bryant and Veroff describe positive psychology as the process of engaging fully in a pleasurable experience through consciousness and mindfulness and locking in every detail. By focusing on your senses, your mind automatically captures a screen shot and installs the pleasurable experience vividly in your brain. The benefits are life enhancing, emotionally and physically.

Finding a happy place: Good memories can be retrieved later evoking the same emotions and feelings. For example, a friend who travels frequently tells me that when things aren’t going well she transports her mind back to places where she was happy to de-stress.

Immune system benefits: Whether we feel happy or sad, hormones send messages to cells throughout the body. This crucial mind-body connection increases disease fighting cells and may just explain why optimists are often healthier than pessimists.

Taking in the good: “The more we activate our brain’s Ventral Striatum, the more wellbeing and less stress hormone, cortisol, we’ll have. Neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness, Dr. Rick Hanson, calls it “Taking in the Good…Good things keep happening but we don’t notice them. A flower blooms, you finish a difficult project — and it all just rolls by. Instead, actively look for good news, particularly the little stuff of daily life. Bring a mindful awareness to them — open up and let them affect you. It’s like sitting down to a banquet: don’t just look at it — dig in!”

Install it in your memory: According to Hanson, we must savor a pleasant feeling for 15, 20 or 30 seconds to install it into our deeper memory, feel the positive experience and, like a ray of light, absorb it into your heart, which he calls a treasure chest.

 

Elaine Dembe is a chiropractor, inspirational speaker and life coach. Her new book Use the Good Dishes! is available on Amazon.

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