Taking in the Good

I wanted to share a quick and easy way to bring more joy into your life. Rick Hanson, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist, who has written a number of books on the technique, which he calls “Taking in the Good.” Other folks describe a similar method, known as savoring. No matter the name, it is a simple, fast way to refresh your outlook or your state of mind.

Begin by selecting a positive moment from your life – past, present or something you would like to create in the future, and then close your eyes and create an image of the moment in your mind. Stay with the image for 30-60 seconds.

Let your mind wander and daydream a bit about your moment – fill in as many details as you can. Relive, notice, or create lots of sensory relationships in your mind to your image – sights, smells, sounds, etc. and think about how good you felt/feel/or will feel about your joy-filled memory or moment.

Keep going until you actually feel a difference in your body. You might find yourself smiling, or your shoulders relaxing or wiggling a bit. You may feel sensations flowing through your entire body or you might get goose bumps! When you feel like you are there your brain will react accordingly and release a bouquet of goodness.

Your moments to not have to be momentous, although they will work, as well. I savor each and every lattè or cappuccino I drink, and I always feel as though I have been on a mini-vacation! It is so relaxing.

If you savor your personal positives 6 times a day – for a total of only 5-10 minutes – you will not only change your brain chemistry while you are savoring it, over time you will rewire your brain to think and feel more positively.

Set an alarm on your phone or with Alexa to remind you throughout the day to pause and savor. Or get in the habit of “Taking in the Good” each time you get a cup of coffee, brush your teeth, wake-up, go to sleep – anything you do on a regular basis can be a great reminder for you.

Don’t worry about doing the process 6 times a day when you begin, simply start! If you remember to develop and embellish your thought – you will feel the effects immediately as your brain releases happy chemicals and hormones that help your brain cells connect. It’s science, and it works.

Go for it, “Take in the Good,” or savor a moment right now!

Woo hoo! It’s Monday

It’s the beginning of a whole new week!  All sorts of possibilities lie ahead for you. Wonderful moments you never expected are waiting  – sweet moments with your children, your friends, your family. Productive moments with colleagues or clients. Proud moments as you tackle and accomplish projects new and old.

Take a new turn this week and start paying more attention to the positive, amazing moments in your past and present, rather than anything else that happens.  Learn how to wallow in the wonderful as you create new inroads for yourself.

away-494355_960_720If you find your yourself merging onto the highway of negativity, instead of mindlessly yielding, why not tap your brakes and

  • ask yourself, “Is this truly how I want to spend my time?”
  • Then take a deep breath, exhale and smile through the crazy.
  • Next,  savor some of the special and/or awe-inspiring moments you have experienced in the past or that are waiting to be enjoyed in the present or in the future.

Psychologist and best-selling author, Richard Hanson, Ph.D.’s notes that rerouting your thoughts and “taking in the good” immediately relaxes you and opens new pathways in your brain.  Daily travel on these positive paths will map out stronger, more direct access to Sunday-drive type routes which, over time, will leave a lasting impression on your brain and in your heart and can help you navigate life from a lighter, gentler perspective.

Please note: I am not asking you to deny the stress, frustration or sadness in your life – I encourage you to identify and admit that you are feeling those feelings, and then to simply take a much-needed detour around the mental pile-ups you create when you place too much emphasis on the bumps and potholes in life. We all do it, but I promise you, taking in the good is a better way to go!

Try it, reset your mental GPS this Monday morning, and see where the new ride takes you.

Neurons that fire together, wire together!

glasses-983947_960_720I am spending the next 6 days learning more about Positive Neuroplasticity at the Positive Brain Change: Tools for Lasting Happiness, Love, and Peace workshop by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., which makes me positively happy!

Never stop learning about things you love.

I have been experiencing, teaching and sharing the benefits of savoring the good moments of our life for years, but I enjoy the topic so much and I talk with so many folks about it that I am always seeking new ways to learn more about our wonderful brains!

Did you know that you can change your brain? It’s true – neurons that fire together, wire together. The more time you spend reinforcing the positive moments in your life and savoring them, the more likely you will be to focus on, enjoy and benefit from them, because your brain is geared to do just that! New neural pathways form, making it easier for the good times to flow, in and out of you. And, over time, these new pathways can help you deal with negative moments and events more quickly and with less harmful effects on you and your sweet soul. Life will be happier, gentler and more fulfilling.

You see, if you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves. (Tibetan saying.)

I hope the next 6 days are wonderful for you. And, that you treat the positive moments that arise with the tender loving care they deserve, because if you do, they will repay you tenfold, by helping you create the happiness and the life you deserve.



Wishful Thinking Ways #4

Four weeks ago we started Wishful Thinking Ways to make 2012 exciting and rewarding in new and different ways.  In January we are setting the stage; in February we will be discovering your dreams and in March, we will focus on how to make them happen. Join in the fun! To catch-up click:  Wishful Thinking Ways week oneweek two, and week three. Don’t miss a single step in the process!

Last week we discovered our physiological tells: what happens to our bodies when we are stressed, angry, frustrated etc.  Our goal was to focus on our internal reactions in the moment: “When I’m angry, I feel a tightness in my chest.”

The Name Game

Now I would like you to add a step to your discovery process. Next time you are angry, tense or rushing around and you feel your body reacting, identify what you are feeling. Are you angry? Tense? Frustrated? Jealous? Scared?, etc. Figure it out, and then say to yourself: ” I’m angry.” “I’m mad.” “I’m tense.” “I’m afraid.” Make it short and simple. The goal is to identify not analyze.


Well, when you identify what’s going on, it gives your body and mind a break, and may even move you from one state to another. Saying to yourself, “Oh, I’m angry,” is like giving your brain a mental time-out, which will – at least momentarily – interrupt the negative commentary that may be going on in your head: “OMG, I can’t believe she is late again. She always does this.”  “#%$#@ He cut in front of me, what a jerk, he almost hit me! I should . . .”

Identifying your state of mind takes a bit of practice, but is well-worth the effort. Most of us sleep walk our way through our emotions or stuff them in the corners of our minds, both of which can lead to health problems and reduce our overall quality of life. But not you, at least not anymore! Now, that you know what your physiological tells are, you can use them to help you identify what you are feeling: “My chest is tightening, maybe I’m angry.”

All this internal talking to yourself might seem odd at first, but you are actually doing it all day long anyway, so why not use it to your best advantage? Most of what we say to ourselves is negative – whether we are “talking” about ourselves or others – and, it can add to our stress, and seldom if ever leads to solutions. By identifying what you are feeling,  you can reduce the chatter in your head and give your mind and your body a well-needed rest.

And, please remember, that is all we are doing – labeling – not judging! You are angry, so what? Jealous, okay, so you are jealous, for now that is all you need to know.  (I’m not saying these are good states of mind or something we should strive for, but since you are already feeling them, more good will come from labeling them than denying their existence.)

And, the rich and wonderful flip side of all is this is you can reap additional rewards by identifying and labeling your state of mind when you are happy, having fun, or feeling fulfilled. Noting these positive states is the first step of savoring, and can remind us how good feeling good feels!

Before you go today, write and read out loud the following sentence:  “This week I will use my physiological tells to help me identify and label what I am feeling.”  (No matter how silly it seems, please write and read it out loud. Feel free to reword it to make it sound more like something you would say – just keep the same intent.)    

Have an interesting and insightful weekend!

My morning brew with my crew

Coffee Cup Memories

It looks like a cup of coffee, but it’s so much more.

The cup is from a caring and thoughtful friend, who lives in Italy. She bought Polish pottery cups for another friend and me when she traveled to Poland. After buying the cups she hand carried them back to America with her husband and two sweet little girls in tow. Hand carried! And, yes, her husband thought she was nuts; we loved her for it. Thank you, Sue.

The soft and frothy foam is a result of another friend’s kindness, she bought me a great mini-blender so I can easily foam my milk each morning. Thanks, Nellie.

The crunchy pumpkin pie and sugar sprinkles on top are a combo and process I created, but were influenced by my family and friends, who love to cook and bake and to talk about cooking and baking, which I love. Thanks for always inspiring me – Geri, Debbie, Bunny and Dao. (Created may seem like too strong a word for sprinkling and warming foamed non-fat milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, but it tastes so good and adds so much flavor. For a real treat, after warming and slowly pouring coffee through the center of the foam – it will rise beautifully in the cup – top it with one turn of grated sea salt. Honestly, it’s fantastic.)

The delicious aroma of my coffee, a bit of hazelnut, reminds me of all the rich and wonderful times I’ve had sipping coffee with friends in shops here and cafés there, and how many hundreds of times this magical brew has bonded me to friends old and new.

Making and sipping my version of cappuccino confirms that the little things really do matter to me, and that savoring the moments brings friends near no matter where they are.

Time for a second cup; I’ll be thinking of you.

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