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Positive Psychology

Rachel Alexander May 23, 2018

Balance the pH of Your Psyche with Positive Psychology and Focusing

Positive psychology tells us that it only takes a fraction of a second for something negative to imprint upon us (and usually stay with us ever after). Positive experiences, on the other hand, don’t automatically adhere. We have to deliberately attend to positive feelings, and linger in them, in order for them to establish themselves and take root. “The mind is like Velcro for negative experiences,” psychologist Rick Hanson tells us, “and Teflon for positive ones.”

What is the importance of cultivating positive experiences, memories, and feelings? For one thing, once they have taken hold, they can become a powerful internal resource we can call upon to soothe or recenter ourselves. An availability of positive references can help the system balance and manage stress and negative emotions, making us more resilient and less likely to be overcome by difficult external circumstance.

So this attunement is going to be an introduction into how we might do that. If you are going through divorce, you might not feel replete with positive experiences. However, this is the time when you most need all of your resources firing. Internal capital can be grown by simply, intentionally, taking time with even a minute of positive experience — a momentary relief, an instant of joy — and that is the purpose of this attunement.

Like balancing the pH of the body with an alkaline-conscious diet, so shall we approach our acidic psyches!

What follows is a transcript of the Positive Psychology-Minded Attunement audio file:

Let’s find a place where we can be quiet for a moment, slow down, and bring our attention inward. Just wherever we are, right now, emotionally, physically. Checking in with how it is for you, how the weather is inside, without trying to influence or change it. Just checking in like you would with a friend, asking how are you doing today, with an interested curiosity, a gentle, caring hello to whatever is here for you now.

Taking a few deep breaths, allow your exhales to be as long as your inhales. In this attunement we’re going to access something that would be pleasurable, delightful, peaceful for you — anything you experience as a wanted sensation. Keep it as simple and light as you would like. You might use something that happened today or years ago, or perhaps you will invite your imagination to invent something entirely new.

This could be the feeling of first stepping into a warm, fragrant bath and submerging your body into the lilac water. Perhaps it’s the sensation of sun-warmed sand between your toes. The smell of your dog’s breath and feel of her kissy, furriness, welcoming you home with the ecstatic delight of someone receiving a long-awaited hero returning victoriously. The hug of a child spontaneously expressing gratitude.

Or perhaps it’s a sound — the whistle of a far off train. Or a taste — the flavor of something you love. Mashed potatoes, for example. Perhaps it’s the feel of being welcomed and loved — being received and recognized. Once you have that, just check in with where you experienced that sense of “ah, I love this.”

Taking some time and welcoming whatever is materializing in your bodily experience. Allow the sensation to grow throughout your system so the whole of you can bask in it. Allow the sense to come into the knees and the soles of your feet. Invite it into the hip flexors. Sense this wanted sensation now in your lower back.

Notice how it rests in the corners of your mouth. Perhaps you sense a little awe. In your belly, does it become a bit more spacious or a bit more stirred or is there a sense of excitement? If it feels right, you might allow a hand to settle on the part of you that is holding the sensation.

Just enjoying this memory or this imagined wanted experience, as it visits with you. In your upper thighs, the soles of your feet, in the edges of your ears and in the crown of your head.

See if you can allow this experience to settle into your neck and shoulders. Noticing if you can sense it more strongly in one part of the body and only lightly in another area. Just lingering here, with all of this, as long as you like.

Allow the joyfulness to play inside you.

Spend a few minutes in this way, and return to this or explore another chosen experience. Do this as often as you like, supplying your body and spirit this nourishment. Develop this practice and with it greater ease and access to calm. Welcome the possible — a grounded, expansive inner space — regardless of the external climate.