Welcome to The Life Changing Experiment. While there is no quick fix, exact formula or guaranteed path to mental health, consistent small changes can really add up over time. This newsletter is both a prompt and an invitation for you to try out new ideas and personal development strategies, take new actions and observe with scientific curiosity those things that work best for you.
THIS WEEK’S EXPERIMENT
TEST QUESTION: Can you switch to a more positive headspace in 20 seconds?
Background: We are wired for negativity
Remembering that the berries are poisonous, or that last time we walked that way there was a sabre tooth tiger lurking around the bend, is how our ancestors survived long enough to reproduce. But this survival tendency of our brains to pay attention to the negative can mean we get stuck feeling helpless, hopeless and not good enough.
Switching our brains to a more positive state
Switching to a more positive headspace begins by recognizing the positive moments that are already happening in our lives, and amplifying the impact they have on us. I am not talking great and perfect moments. I am talking about the tiny, wonderful experiences that pass us by all the time without us truly noticing them.
- Seeing your dog stretched out in bliss in a patch of sunlight
- The sound of autumn leaves crunching underfoot
- Sipping a cup of tea that is the perfect temperature
- The feel of sliding your foot into fresh socks
- The smell of jasmine in full bloom
- A neighbour smiling and saying hello
The little moments add up
When we give them the attention they deserve, they can add up to make us see the world in a more positive and hopeful way.
This week, be on the lookout for small positive moments. Try for a minimum of three a day. When one of these moments happens, spend twenty seconds fully absorbing the experience.
- Bring your full attention to the moment.
- Take the experience in as fully as you can for 20 seconds using your sense of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound.
- Feel how your heart feels in response to the moment.
- Allow yourself to know that in this moment life is good and you have much to be grateful for.
- Record your experience either in a journal or on the notes app on your phone so you can refer back to these moments whenever you need a pick-me-up or reminder that there is always good happening even when times are tough.