Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Spring 2015, Issue 11 - Page 21

Fe e d Yo u r R e s i l i e n c e W hen we generate a negative thought, stress chemicals activate in our brain. When we express a negative thought out loud, stress chemicals increase even more. Barbara Fredrickson, a noted psychologist, has demonstrated that it takes three to five positive thoughts to counteract the effects of a single negative one. C onsistently thinking positively enhances our well-being. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman describe a landmark study involving a large group of adults. Participants were asked at the end of each day to write down three things that went well for them with a brief explanation of why. Newberg and Waldman discovered that over the next three months there was a marked increase in happiness for the participants, and feelings of depression continued to decrease even after the writing project ceased. T here is a voice in our mind that can help us move toward more positive thinking: our inner observer. Calling our inner observer into service is kind of like hiring a private investigator to investigate and monitor with detachment what’s going on within us. With the help of our observer, we can become aware of the nature of our thoughts, especially the ones that seem to be operating beyond our control. W e instruct our observer to particularly let us know when we get into critical or anxious thoughts such as, “I am exhausted,” or “I am inadequate,” or “I will never get better.” Then we can do something about it. W e aren’t doing this to be critical of ourselves or of our negative thoughts (that’s just another negative thought), or to reach the unrealistic place where a negative thought never enters our minds. Our intent is to monitor our thoughts and offset the negative ones with things that turn us to the positive side. W 1 Foster your spirit 2 Think new thoughts Meditate, pray, walk in the park Take a mini-course, attend a lecture, read a book 3 Feed your creativity Write a poem (anyone can), paint, garden, sew, sing, doodle 4 Touch more 5 Be of service Give hugs, cuddle more, pet the dog Phone a troubled friend, make a donation, volunteer hen our minds run with negativity, for instance, we can break in by asking ourselves, “What can I do in this moment to feel better?” Taking simple actions that pull us out of the negative loop, such as paying attention to our breath, drinking a refreshing glass of cool water, or focusing on a person we are grateful for, can put us in positive territory. Sometimes just a simple mantra or positive word said to ourselves, such as “peace,” “love,” or “home” can help. T of a beautiful drum. When his best friend saw the drum and wanted to play with it, the boy felt torn. He told his friend no because he didn’t want to share, and his friend ran away. H e sat on a rock and thought about his dilemma. He hated the fact that he had hurt his friend, but he thought the drum was too special to share. He went to his wise grandfather for advice. here are many other things we can do: build activities in our day that help us connect with our spiritual nature, surround ourselves with more positive open-hearted people and fill our lives with more laughter. Not only will we begin to release ourselves from negative thoughts cycles, but we will strengthen our inner core where resiliency resides. H S We each have our own two wolves and enhance our energy resilience by focusing on feeding the positive one. ometimes a small positive ceremony can be used to bring light to each day. Jill, a good friend of mine, recently described to me how she and her husband, who was in the last stages of cancer, would write down and discuss what they were grateful for each day. She said that for those few minutes they were able to transcend the pain and sadness and share moments of gratefulness. T here is an old Cherokee legend about a boy who received the gift S pring 201 5 is grandfather said to the little boy, “I often feel as if I have two wolves inside of me. One wolf is greedy and mean and the other is kind and peaceful. You, my boy, have the same two wolves.” “Which one will win?” asked the boy. The elder smiled and said, “The one you feed.” Author Lucia Amsden lives in New Mexico. http://www. amazon.com/ Breaking-EggsFinding-Meaning-Chronic/ dp/1432796100 Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life  21