Change Your Brain from Mindful.org: part Two, 2, too!!!

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Still, I’m slightly wary. Is all this emphasis on the positive like trying to put a giant Band-Aid over what is sad and painful and difficult in our lives?

“I don’t believe in positive thinking. I believe in realistic thinking,” says Hanson, who also teaches mindfulness meditation. “It’s important to see the whole mosaic of reality. The good tiles in the mosaic are the basis for growing resources inside myself to help deal with the bad tiles.” The exercises, then, aren’t about suppressing or re-envisioning the negative; rather, they’re about strengthening other modes of thinking and feeling. So: Be upset when you’re upset, sad when you’re sad, angry when you’re angry. At the same time, intentionally cultivate inner resources that will not just help you cope, but will allow you to become more content with your life, regardless of changing circumstances.

As if to underscore the point, during the course of my research for this story, I come across a paper titled “Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem,” whose lead authors are Jordi Quoidbach and June Gruber. Basically, using the biodiversity of ecosystems in the natural world as a model, they found in studies of more than 37,000 people the first evidence for the notion that emodiversity—the variety and abundance of emotions that we humans experience—might play a unique role in our well-being. The authors write, “A wide variety of emotions might be a sign of a self-aware and authentic life; such emotional self-awareness and authenticity have been repeatedly linked to health and well-being.”

When our small, separate self loosens and we dissolve into what’s around us, that’s awe, the ultimate happiness strategy.

Not only does this finding make sense, it’s also the perfect corrective to the damaging cultural myth that plagued my parents and continues to cast a shadow over the lives of so many—namely, that we should be happy and experience pleasure most of the time, otherwise there’s something innately wrong with us.

There is real happiness, to be sure. It just doesn’t look the way most of us have been conditioned to think, which is precisely what sages have been telling us for millenia. Epictetus put it this way: “Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well.”

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2 responses to this post.

  1. The post , I can relate all too well. For me and my pain ,experience etc. I find that logical thinking fails me as well as holistic thinking. Getting past one own despair, shame and guilt. I can not reconcile the person that came home and emotionally terrorized my beautiful wife to the person prior or present. I know there isn’t enough sorry in the world. I pray that she finds peace. I know that I will not. I will cope for my children put on that smiley face. Fuck mental health disease.

  2. Life is not easy and we can or fix the past but we can take action and inprove

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