Photo by David Travis on Unsplash
Maybe you've heard the term 'what you focus on expands' or 'what you appreciate, appreciates"?
I'm going to run you through a little exercise to give you a better idea of how this works.
Take a look around the room or area that you are currently in. Notice everything you can see that is the colour blue. Really focus on those objects so that you can try and remember them.
Now close your eyes and (without looking around again!!) try and remember everything around you that is the colour red.
How did you go?
Generally we might find it difficult to recall the red objects because we were so focused on the blue ones. That's the mission we sent our brain on so that is what it delivered.
Every day our brain is doing its best to provide information to us that we ask for either consciously or unconsciously. It is on a fact seeking mission to find things that support our beliefs. Things work great when the beliefs are positive. The brain goes on a search and confirm mission to verify all the positive things you believe. 'I am loveable'. 'I deserve wealth and abundance'. 'Life is easy'. 'I deserve to be successful'. etc etc. Do you believe all of these things? If so, then keep doing what you are doing!
However if your beliefs tend to be more along the lines of 'I am unlovable', 'life is hard', 'life is unsafe', 'I have to work hard to make any money'. 'I'm not good enough' etc etc, then the brain, in its efficiency, goes looking for evidence to support these beliefs and so that is what you continue to notice in your life.
Gratitude and the power of noticing
More than likely you have heard about gratitude and the many reported benefits. But how does it work?
Gratitude works by getting you to focus your attention on what is positive or working well in your life which brings it into your conscious awareness. The idea is that over time your brain starts to seek out more of what is working well and less of what is not working well and so you begin to feel better.
Gratitude can and often does take some practice if it is something you aren't used to doing. It's a bit like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly until it becomes a habit. If you have had a positive upbringing where your caregivers gave you experience in looking for the positives then this may come more easily than if you have come from a negative or traumatic background. But it is your choice about what you want to focus on and you can choose to change this at any time.
This is not about trying to stay positive all the time as that can often end up causing more stress by trying to force yourself to think a certain way!
Instead it is about developing the art of noticing what is working and going well in your life as often as you can - to the point it becomes something you do automatically. This might be as basic as being grateful for the breath in your body, your family or loved ones, the roof over your head etc. Or you might like to get really specific and be grateful for certain people or experiences or events in your life. The great thing about this practice is it really opens your mind to noticing the diversity of positives in your life that previously you may never have noticed. And once you set your mind on that mission to focus on the positives, and practice that intention, your brain will take up that mission and run with it without you having to think about it!
How can you use this to your advantage?
At any time you can choose what you want to focus on. Examine the stories you tell yourself. Sift through the ones that aren't working for you. What can you notice in your life that provides evidence that maybe this belief isn't always true. Start to make a list and commit to noticing more of what is going well in this and other areas of your life. Maybe place visual cues or reminders around your home or put a reminder on your phone about what you want to focus on. Spend a few minutes each day writing down all the different things that you are grateful for. The act of writing things down really helps bring things into your conscious awareness. See how many you can come up with! I would love to hear if you notice any changes after committing to this practice!
Counsellor (Trauma informed)
EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
I hope these words have been helpful. If you think someone you know may benefit please feel free to share my posts.
If you have any questions, or you would like to find out more about my techniques or approach, please give me a call or send me an email.