- Patti Norris
Why is it easier to feel bad than good??
Have you ever noticed that it seems like it is easier to feel bad than good?
I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, and come out of the netherworld of sleep, my brain starts to scan, looking for anything that might be wrong in my environment, as well as searching for all the things that happened the day before that were stressful. This is automatic...I am not consciously choosing to do it!
While this tendency had always been there to some degree, I noticed that it became much more prevalent after a period of intense stress and loss in my life. It became so obvious and overwhelming, but at the time, I didn't understand why it was happening, or what I could do to change it! All I knew, what that it wasn't a very optimistic or energizing way to start my day.
Thankfully, this is no longer my pattern. :)
There is a reason that this happens. Our brains primary job, above all else, is keeping us alive. Survival trumps everything else. This means that we are naturally wired to be looking for threats to our well-being. And the longer we live, and the more stressful situations we deal with, the more primed our brains become to look for things that feel scary or dangerous.
The other thing that happens, is that when we are scanning for threats, our brains naturally are in a heightened state, and therefore are producing stress chemicals. Scary thoughts = Stress chemicals.
These stress chemicals, like cortisol and adrenaline, are also much more potent than their counterparts, the "feel-good" chemicals, which include serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin.
So, our brains desire to keep us alive (thanks brain!) coupled with these powerful stress chemicals overpowering the feel good chemicals, is why it can seem like it easier to feel bad than to feel good.
The good news here though, is that it is possible to change this. We just have to recognize that it is happening, and do something to interrupt the pattern.
The other good news, is that this is a mechanical process that anyone can learn to do!
Now, I know that this may sound overly simplistic.
I mean really Patti, are you just suggesting that when I notice that I am thinking thoughts that make me feel bad, that I just do something to stop the momentum of that, and do something different?
Yup. That is exactly what I am suggesting.
I am not suggesting that you bypass your feelings. Especially if they are in response to something that is presently occurring in your life. Notice the feeling. Acknowledge it. Name it. Let yourself feel it. But once you have done all of that, if you find yourself getting stuck in it, then do something to change it!
And let's be honest here, lots of times we are thinking the same thoughts that we have thought a million times before, about the same things! Thinking the same thoughts, and having the same emotional reactions. So, if these patterns are not something that are helping us, then why not change them?
Definition of insanity - Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.
A pattern interrupt can be as simple as getting up and doing some jumping jacks, or putting on your favorite song and dancing it out. It could also be closing your eyes and using your imagination to visit your favorite person, place or thing. There is no way to do this wrong. Just change your focus onto something that feels better to you. The only way to do it wrong, is to not do it!
If you keep going back to these things that feel good to you, you will naturally be changing your biochemical state from one dominated by stress chemicals to one being run by feel good chemicals. It really can be that easy.
Breaking patterns of feeling bad is a mechanical process that anyone can learn to do, including you.
Want help learning how to do this?
Reach out at pattinorris.com
I look forward to helping you feel better, and work towards creating a life that you love!