A few days ago, I woke up with the face of John Nettles (star of Midsomer Murders) hanging in the air six inches from my face. He was saying, “Your story is not your life.”
Now I had always suspected that, if a Guardian Spirit showed up, it would be luminous, clad in white robes, and somewhat transparent. The face of this solid and stolid Brit was a little startling.
He did, however, have a point. We tell ourselves stories all day long about how we expect things to turn out or how we should react to life events, because of memories we have stored from previous events, sometimes far in the past. We don’t remember the situations but we recall the emotions and responses in an instant when a similar situation shows up.
All memories are attached to an emotion, and the most powerful memories are those accompanied by a strong emotion.
Here’s the catch: the strongest memories are often those attached to a strongly negative feeling, such as fear, anxiety, or disgust.
Our cave ancestors had to store memories of dangerous situations potentially threatening to them as quickly as possible, and retain them long term in order to survive.
The ancestors who preferred to stroll along, picking daisies and humming to themselves as they enjoyed life did not survive to leave offspring.
So we are the result of a survival system that biased us in the direction of remembering the unpleasant more strongly than the pleasant, and as a consequence we experience a more and more negative life over the years.
Can you change a memory bank full of negative thoughts and feelings to a more positive one?
You can. Here are some tips with which you can practice creating a more positive present and future – step by step.
Before you go to bed at night, reflect on your day. Remember, and even write down, any little incident for which you could feel gratitude. Stubbornly resist dwelling on the sarcastic colleague, the traffic snarl on the way home, the sullen teenager you find when you get there.
Make this a nightly habit. What will happen may amaze you: you are filling your memory bank with positive thoughts, changing the ratio. What’s more, as you focus on the positive, the more you see it happening in your life.
Next step: deliberately recall pleasant episodes in your past and dwell on them just before you go to sleep.
You can use assistance from old photographs, chats with a friend or a family member, an object that represents a lovely experience such as a vacation or a significant event. Try to relive it just before you sleep.
All of this will alert you to more positive events in your life and lead you to manifest events of that nature.
You will be shifting the ratio of negative to positive history.
Practice creating a more positive present and future – step by step.
What was once 80% bleak and 20% pleasant can now become a 70/30 ratio then a 60/40 ratio and so on.
The past is not set in concrete. We are constantly plumbing it, looking for something relevant to the present. We are constantly re-creating it, for better or for worse.
Remember that recalling peacefulness in joy is much more beneficial for our long-term health than scanning the horizon for saber tooth tigers who want to devour us.
In modern times, it’s now ok to walk slowly, picking daisies, and humming to yourself. That is the attitude that will save your life today and every day afterwards.
If you want to create a joyful life, join one of my programs in which you learn to self-regulate your emotions, choose how you feel, and manifest your dream life.
Lynette Crane, M.A., is a speaker, coach, trainer, and author with over forty years experience in the fields of stress management and human growth potential, especially for “quietly brilliant” people, aka introverts. She currently specializes in resilience training and heart-brain connections and is a certified HeartMath™ trainer and coach/mentor.