I have to admit, my tendency is to worry and get stuck in thinking about why things didn’t work. I know in my intellectual brain, it would be more effective to look at the things that go right. Retraining the grooves in my head to see and give weight to the things that go well. Sort of the light verses darkness thing.
Martin Seligman, is considered the Founding Father of Positive Psychology. This is a study of assets that lead to well-being (the lab word for happiness) in contrast to the study of conditions that cause suffering. I think we need both but he makes an interesting point that we are conditioned to dwell on what doesn’t work. It was his theories of Positive Psychology that we used to create our working process in TVbyGIRLS–finding and accenting assets each girl has that can lead her to successful adult life of subjective well-being and engagement. (yes, that is Happiness).
What Seligman says:
For sound evolutionary reasons, most of us are not nearly as good at dwelling on good events as we are at analyzing bad events. Those of our ancestors who spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine of good events, when they should have been preparing for disaster, did not survive the Ice Age. So to overcome our brains’ natural catastrophic bent, we need to work on and practice this skill of thinking about what went well.
He suggests two exercises, one to write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life…a good difference…and then visit them and share the letter. The other is called the Three Blessings–every night write down 3 things that went well today and WHY. When I think about it, this raises my anxiety level. I am not sure why but that is a sure signal for me that it scares me and hence I need to try it.