5 Ways To Start Taking In The Good
This post is all about taking in the good.
I bet you can still remember walking into the high school cafeteria with your skirt tucked up in your underwear.
At first there was a hush, then a murmur, then an eruption of laughter, then you realized it was about you, and you were mortified. (Or insert your own high school embarrassment here. I know you’ve got one.)
I also bet you don’t remember when your neighbor complimented the loving way you talked to your child at the pool last week.
Or that you kept your cool when your toddler accidentally whacked you in the face with his sippy cup. Or when your spouse thanked you for packing everything for the family trip. (Or try to insert an every-day, run-of-the-mill, everything-going-right anecdote here. Harder to do, isn’t it?)
Did you know our brains are wired to latch on to negative events and disregard positive ones?
Our emotional response to negative events is much stronger than our response to positive events.
This negativity bias is your sweet brain’s way of trying to keep you safe. But it also keeps us on edge, vigilant for the next thing that's gonna get us. And that, my dears, is energetically expensive.
Famed relationship researcher John Gottman discovered that a magic ratio of 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction is the secret to a happy, long-lasting relationship.
And since our relationship to ourselves is the longest of our lives, let’s bring that magic ratio to our own perceptions and thoughts.
That means, if we’re naturally wired to look for, remember, and defend against the negative, we need to be purposeful about taking in the good.
5 Ways To Start Taking In The Good
1. Feeling appreciation
Simply notice something in your physical space that delights you. The smell of your warm coffee in your favorite cup. The way the light shines through the branches of that tree outside your kitchen window.
The pleasant hello with the neighbor who walks his dog every morning. Appreciation is about enjoyment of our life and surroundings.
2. Expressing gratitude
Striking a little deeper than appreciation, gratitude is about being thankful for benefits received. I am grateful for this safe and secure house in this beautiful place.
I am grateful for my parents, that they’re healthy and we enjoy each other. I am grateful that my kids like to cuddle up and read with me.
3. Receiving compliments
Compliments are a way of connecting. When someone gives you a compliment, they’re giving you the gift of their appreciation. It would be rude to deflect it!
Instead, practice receiving compliments as a way to let yourself feel good, let the giver feel good, and even strengthen your connection.
I was out for a beer with my friend/our piano teacher this week, and she said, “You’re really great with your kids.” It was such a big and such a direct compliment that part of me wanted to deflect it, saying “You catch us at good moments. You don’t get to hear me screaming….” Maybe she read that on my face before I even said it, because she said it again! So I said, “Thank you. That really means a lot to hear that.” I let it in.
4. Giving compliments
I dole out compliments every chance I get. A great haircut. Gray hair worn with confidence. The barista’s latte art. A great smile, a great laugh. A delicious meal. A fun party.
I once complimented a woman on her baby carrier on a Castro street corner, and she's now my best friend. Never underestimate the power of a compliment.
5. Complimenting yourself
If you’re feeling unappreciated, one thing to check on is if you appreciate yourself and your efforts. All the ways you’ve grown. All that you do. And more important but less quantifiable, all that you are.
When we sit down to dinner, I try to remember to say something nice about the food I’m putting on the table.
When I feel steady and calm in a situation I formerly would have lost my shit about, that’s worth noting, sometimes aloud. When I get into the bed with fresh sheets I changed earlier that day, I thank myself for that simple effort.
Which brings us back to appreciation, for that crisp cool pillowcase. And gratitude, for this safe and secure home.
Why not practice taking in the good now?
This guided journal page (Free Printable!) can help you shine the light on things you appreciate and enjoy, allowing you to take in the good.
You can download the page now or do your own thing in your journal or notes app.
5 Ways to Take in the Good in your Mom Life
1. Feeling appreciation: Write 3 things you appreciate
2. Expressing gratitude: Write 3 things you’re grateful for
3. Receiving compliments: Write 1 compliment you've received recently (or catch the next compliment you're given)
4. Giving compliments: Write 1 compliment you’ve given recently
5. Complimenting yourself: Write 1 compliment to yourself for something you’ve done AND 1 compliment for a way that you are
Repeat this reflection practice regularly to benefit from a boost of positivity and taking in the good that's all around us. Maybe that's daily, weekly, or monthly. Let it be easy. Let it feel good.
By actively acknowledging positive events and messages — and savoring them — you get to enjoy that moment in the moment, you set your disposition to seek and find these positive things as you move through your days, and you give yourself the chance to create positive memories.
I'm glad you're here, and I'm glad you're you.
This post was all about the benefits of mindfully taking in the good.
Remember to download your free guided journal page!
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