In other studies about perception it has been shown that when 2 or more people get together to discuss another person or situation we always err on the side of negativity and when there is nothing there we make up stuff. All part of human nature? Can we change?
What is the impact of this? It affects us everyday in the way we react to others, how we make decisions, how we run out lives, our relationships and more.
We have expectations of how people will react or what “those” people will do. This is part of our confirmation bias saying see I told you what would happen if….. Can we change the mindset and our behavior? Can we retrain how we think? YES! It takes practice and thought but it can happen. Have you noticed the reaction you get when you compliment a stranger? They smile, you smile and there is an upswing in each other’s mood.
Offering compliments or smiling is only part of the solution. “Seeing” is a big factor. Seeing who is around you. Being aware and acknowledging our surroundings instead of burying our heads in our phones, aside from preventing us being hit by cars or bumping into things, engages our senses, we become aware. We notice. As we do, we often find our breathing is more relaxed our bodies are less tense., we stand a little taller. These are subtle changes that over time enable us to strut or glide through our days. I challenge you to consciously try it.
Every morning I walk the dog. Many times I would rather do something more for me. Then I get out there and I start to see, hear and smell things in my surroundings.The walk invigorates me and I am able to start my day on a more positive note.
Another way to help change your focus is reduce using the word or and switch to and. Life isn’t either or, it can be and. It’s not you either agree with me or not. It can be I agree with some things you are saying and I choose not to agree with other things.
We have all heard about gratitude journals asking you to write what makes you grateful that day. Here’s a simple way to begin identifying your gratitude; before going to sleep say 3 things that made you grateful that day. It can be as mundane as I am still breathing. Have your significant other and your kids get in to the habit as well. No, this won’t change the world but it just might make a difference in the lives of the people that do it and as they spread the word, who knows the impact.
Malcolm Gladwell offers another insight that enables people to connect better.
Remember the old shampoo commercial I told 2 friends and they told two friends and so on. Please share how you are changing.