It’s human nature to be stuck sometimes: We’re wired to hold on to negativity because that’s how we evolved to avoid danger. But the brain is also changing constantly based on our experiences, growing new connections between neurons or strengthening the existing ones. That capability gives us tremendous powers of transformation.

The key is where we direct our attention, because neurons that fire together wire together. When we worry or beat ourselves up, we’re doing another lap around the track in hell, wearing the path a little deeper every time. So when something upsets you, don’t add fuel to the fire. Just step back and observe your negative feeling. Label it with a word or two, like rattled or hurt, then rest your weary mind on something good, like a person who loves you. And whenever you have a positive experience—even if it’s just your cat crawling into your lap—instead of blitzing on to the next moment, take it in. Stay with it for 5, 10, 20 seconds, and keep those neurons firing.

The physiologist Sir Charles Scott Sherrington said the brain was an enchanted loom, continually weaving the mind. That means even if we feel trapped, there’s always something we can do inside ourselves. It’s an extraordinary gift from Mother Nature.

Want more stories like this delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Spirit Newsletter!


Next Story