What Can I do?
This is a question I often ask myself, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Here we are in a state of global confusion. We are destroying the world. The end is nigh. Oh, and it’s our fault it’s happening and our responsibility to fix. Is there any situation in your life that is so full of blame and carries such a heavy burden? Perhaps there is.
Negativity Is In Our Bones
What can we do to keep things level for ourselves and our children when we live in such challenging circumstances? Our biology often doesn’t help, but we can help our biology to adapt.
We evolved to be frightened to survive, so when something registers as ‘bad,’ we give it our immediate attention because we might die if we don’t. This worked well for us for millennia, as it could save us from falling prey to a leopard or another predator. Nowadays, to get that response, all we have to do is tune in to the news, and boom, our ‘negativity bias’ kicks in.
Research shows that we don’t have a ‘positivity bias.’ To appreciate the good that’s happening, we need to work a lot harder. Simply put, if we could spend as much time thinking about positive things as we spend on negative things, we could be a lot happier. So it’s not our fault we bear the burden of negative thinking – it’s an evolutionary trait.
Fortunately, we have brains that change their structures to accommodate our choices. So, if we choose disaster, that’s how we will think. And if we choose progress, we will inevitably think that way. This isn’t a way to deny or block out what’s happening, but a helping hand for dealing with adverse situations.
We can choose whether we grow weeds, flowers, or veg in the garden of our mind. It takes a little effort to cultivate positivity, and it can go a little like this:
A good thing happens; anything from seeing the first seed leaves of the season, a moment of warm sunshine, or a nice cup of tea in your hand.
(key point) You recognize that the good thing has happened and deem it worthy of being a good thing.
You stay with the good thing, notice the feeling you get from it and see that it is one of life’s many tiny pleasures.
This can help lift a mood, cheer up a child and help us see that the world is full of beautiful moments.
We can choose our future for ourselves and our children but worrying about it will not help. We can help this planet by doing what we can, but we must distinguish between action and anguish. Action is satisfying; anguish brings on fight, flight, and quite often freeze. Does that sound familiar?
We can evolve beyond this state of helplessness, and it all begins with choosing where our focus is.