When she was alive, I would visit my grandmother's flat and often look at the photograph of two little girls in the typical fancy-dress of the day.
She had many photographs, but I loved this old sepia image of her and her sister. Yet initially, each and every time I pointed it out I would hear, "She got the bigger bow." So I soon stopped mentioning it.
Yet, even after more than 80 years had passed, every time she looked at the photo she didn't see the big sister she loved and cherished all those years ago. All she 'saw' was what she remembered most (and felt) about the day: the regret, the hurt, the disappointment, the frustration, even the anger.
However subtle, these are the emotional reactions that stress is made of, that often start a cascade of physiological responses that can limit perspective, partially close our brain down and eventually wear us out!
What old memories/images/sounds/locations are you still carrying around on your back or in the back of your mind?
What triggers your brain into stress and/or discomfort?
What's been living rent free and unknown in your brain and yet is still hurting you?
And also importantly, what are you not seeing and opening your mind up to?
We can't go back and change the past; but we can change how the past impacts us today - if we are aware of it.
We start seeing (and feeling) the past differently, when we find just one thing to appreciate about it. It does work! Once we find even one thing, our perspective changes, so it's then easier to grow that list to 2, 3 or even 10 things to appreciate!
And remember your list when the old emotional feelings come up. After all, I would inform my grandmother, 'It was a pretty bow and you had a lifetime of such a good relationship with your sister!'
And to improve your health, have that small yet precious notebook by your bedside - the one in which you write down the 5 things you appreciated about your day, each day, just before you go to sleep. Ensure you make it a habit - a habit to be happier.
This way, you will start to 'overwrite' any negativity with the good stuff for the day, before it is hardwired in, as you sleep.
A Moodscope member.
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