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Little Find

Reformat your brain to think positively

Since our brains want to protect us, they focus on the risks (real or imagined) around us for the 50 to 80 percent of the time we spend in autopilot mode. When you walk down the road, you think about how badly the next meeting is going to go rather than about the compliment you received.

These automatic, negative thoughts generate anxiety and depression, and even distract us from genuine danger: We’re afraid of spiders rather than pesticides. How can we put this negative predisposition behind us? Amit Sood recommends following the rule of five people, three minutes and two seconds:

  • When you wake up in the morning, instead of thinking about the challenges of the day ahead, visualize five people in your life you feel gratitude toward. Send them positive thoughts. 
  • Then, once your working day is over, devote the first three minutes of the time spent with your loved ones to quality exchanges, rather than simply exclaiming, “Broccoli again?”
  • When you interact with someone new, give them the benefit of two seconds of positive thoughts and approval as a way to bypass the reflex to judge them.

These new habits may be difficult to learn, and may seem somewhat silly, but they’ll help you regain control of your thoughts and limit their negative impact on your mood.

To go further

« Happy brain: How to overcome our neural predispositions to suffering »

Amit Sood, (Conférence TEDx, mai 2015). 

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.