Thursday, May 23, 2024

Seeing the Good

November 6, 2014 by  
Filed under .

“Seeing the Good”  by Lisa Guyman

The University of California at Berkeley has a multi-year 5.6 million dollar research project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude!! Isn’t that amazing?! I spoke about gratitude as one of the Five Principles of Reiki in September’s newsletter and thought we’d revisit gratitude with a twist by looking at it’s enemies.


When we are in a state of lack, stress, loneliness or fear we are not in a state of gratitude. It’s that simple. When in the space of gratitude we are in a state of relaxation, ease and love. So with Thanksgiving upon us and the holidays around the corner– it’s a potent time for consciously leaning into gratitude and watching out for it’s enemies.


Cornell psychologist Thomas Gilovich (who presented at a U of C -Berkeley meeting) contends that there are two opposing forces (enemies) to gratitude: headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry and adaptation.


Headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry is the tendency to see the things holding us back (headwinds) far more clearly than the good things (tailwinds) that are pushing us forward. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness,says “our brains have a natural negativity bias and that we have to consciously train our brains to focus on the good!”


If you have ever felt like it’s hard to stay in a positive framework you are not alone. We have to re-wire our brains to focus on the good and to focus on possibilities instead of liabilities, on love instead of lack. We can train ourselves to focus on the beauty around us, the gifts of the present moment, our assets, what is working, and what we like that IS happening right NOW!


The second opposing force to gratitude is what Dr. Gilovich calls“our remarkable power of adaptation.” We quickly acclimate to the good in our lives and then barely notice the good anymore. That’s why material success only goes so far because there is a tendency to get used to what we have. “Findings also suggested that experiences foster gratitude, while acquiring possessions actually seems to discourage it.”


We can however re-wire our brains to look for the good. We are here to enjoy the journey and to expand in our consciousness, and living in a negative bias state and becoming immune to the magic and beauty in the moment is not the way to do so.


When we shift to living in a space of gratitude and present moment awareness we are more kind and loving and more fun to be around, we enjoy life more and even get more accomplished!


Change begins with intention. And something as simple as remembering each day to think about what we are grateful for and choosing meaningful experiences before choosing new possessions can make a significant difference. If you are struggling with a task or situation write down what is going in your favor so that you emphasize the tailwinds and de-emphasize the headwinds. And remember to look for the good – you will find it! It’s always there!

In gratitude,


Comments are closed.