My favorite poem & my 4 tips to rewire our brains for happiness (GIFT mindset)
I would like to share with you one of my favorite poems "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann. This poem, which was written in 1927, runs deep in my soul as it seems to be a good framework and reference for a balanced and happier life. I hope some of these words will resonate with you, especially considering today's confusing Covid-19 situation.
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
The forced confinement that we are living through is mandating a more silent and simpler world. Forced to be home, we have more downtime and inward time.
To look deep within us and rest with ourselves is challenging, sometimes, scary, albeit necessary.
Nevertheless, this silence can also be an opportunity to deepen the foundation of who we are. Neuroscience has proven that humans need downtime and focus time to enable the brain to recharge. This is our opportunity to create new positive habits!
In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
We are still at the beginning of this confusing Covid-19 journey. "Desiderata" states "It is still a beautiful world & we need to strive to be happy". But, how do we possibly do this? Easier said than done, yet with some focused consciousness, we can actually rewire our brain for the better.
Striving for happiness according to Neuroscience. Our brain is fascinating, to say the least! According to Neuroscience, our brain is constantly rewiring itself and our thoughts and behaviors influence the process. The issue is that the brain is predisposed to scan for a threat to protect you (therefore focusing on the negative). This is the reason why we need to consciously train our brains to flip or reframe negative thoughts to positive. When we focus on the positive, the brain is able to focus on higher-level thinking, we have insight, and positive endorphins and serotonin are secreted, which are chemicals that are responsible to make us happy.
Essentially, the positive neurons "spread" like a positive virus in the brain and this is a virtuous cycle. The same process is true for our negative thoughts, so we have to be purposeful and careful to consciously choose our focus and thoughts during this time. In the spirit of focusing on positively & rewiring our brains, I would like to share 4 positive observations that I have seen emerge in the world over the past week. I have organized these thoughts in a framework that I have named the GIFT mindset. May this framework be helpful to you so you can make conscious decisions to positively impact your happiness quotient and make positive decisions that and help those around you.
The "GIFT mindset"
G as in "Generosity" People are generously sharing their time. What acts of generosity have you noticed? On the front-line medical workers are sacrificing their time and even their own lives for those that are suffering. Grocery store clerks are working in stressful and vulnerable situations so we can be nourished. Individuals and freelancers are generously donating their gifts of talent to the world. Yoga teachers are offering free courses and musicians offering free live concerts. Even the Paris Opera is screening its online performances for free. My heart is full seeing our world evolving in a more generous and caring one.
I as in "Ingenuity" Creativity is sparked! After 1 week in confinement in Europe for example, people have already started to revolutionize the way they work and socialize. Children are being forced to play and study differently. People have been setting up virtual brunches, and coffee breaks to connect safely. We are cooking, creating, and connecting!
F as in "Faith" Faith not in a religious sense but in a sense that only faith and trust in our actions (staying home and social distancing) will rid us from Covid-19 and protect the greater good in the long term. Faith in our inner strength to weather this storm. Faith that we can lead by example. Faith that we will come out of this stronger. We have no choice but to continue to have faith and inner calm during this time.
T as in "Teams" United, we will win this battle. I am seeing more unity and solidarity. People in Italy, France, & Spain are uniting in applause for health care workers on their balconies. Others are launching fundraising campaigns to collect and distribute money where most needed and putting their skills to the cause (e.g. 3D printing medical tools). We are united as a team and we have this battle together. People have been reaching out to loved ones. We desperately need this connection in our hearts and souls. Hopefully, this will be a call to remember that we are all connected and equal when it comes to our human vulnerabilities. Covid-19 does not seem to discriminate against people based on race, religion, or social class.
Wishing you all good health to you and your loved ones in both body and mind. Hopefully, this will be a time for renewal and positive change, and new healthy habits that will last.