When anxious or depressed, we tend to mindlessly think negative thoughts. We dwell on perceived failures — what we didn’t or couldn’t do. We obsess about unmet dreams and expectations for ourselves and others. We focus on unpleasurable moments in our days.
Good news! We Can Train Our Minds
We can train our minds to notice what we accomplish. We can train our minds to notice what we are grateful for. We can train our minds to notice pleasurable moments. It’s not that the unwanted doesn’t still occur. It’s that what we notice becomes more balanced.
We train our minds by simply noticing the positives. We can speed our progress by journaling them and periodically looking back to celebrate progress. Practicing in a community increases our motivation and speeds learning to notice both the wanted and unwanted in our lives even more.
Mindful Way St Louis offers three forums where therapists, clients, class participants and anyone else are invited to journal five positives daily:
Post five things you are thankful for each day. Focus on little things (a photo that makes you smile), things you take for granted (e.g., air conditioning), a phone call from someone special, a fond memory, the skills to take on a challenging task, using skills to cope with a difficult situation, something in nature, a kindness or something else.
Post five accomplishments each day. If the best you can do is get out of bed or take a shower, then post them. If you are able to go to a work function in spite of anxiety, post it. Whatever is an accomplishment for you given where you are today, post it.
Pleasurable Moments Forum
Post five pleasurable moments each day. These may be as simple as seeing a cardinal in the bird bath or as big as a new grandchild. It can be a pleasant memory, a pleasant interaction with another person, an event, a quotation, anticipation of a future event or something else..
Five Easy Steps
Here are the instructions. Try it once. If you like it, come back again and again.
- Click on the Forum in which you want to post
- Select the current month (e.g, August 2019)
- Click on reply and enter your five positives
- Sign with a screen name to maintain your anonymity
You do not need to register. It’s that simple!
A Couple of Rules
The Forums’ purpose is for participants to increase their capacity to notice positives and share them in community. All posts other than positives will be deleted, including giving advice, providing information or asking questions or other personal communications no matter how well meaning.
That’s it! Now give it a try. If you like it keep coming back.
Noticing Positives Important To Healing
A Harvard study of 15,000 people found our minds are on mindless autopilot almost 60 percent of the day. A Texas Tech study found that when our minds are on autopilot 60-70 percent of our thoughts are negative. And that’s in the general population. People who are depressed or anxious think negative thoughts more than the general population. This is why developing the habit of noticing positives is so important to healing.