Sometimes my brain is not a good friend. When my mind is enjoying some mischievous time, self-doubt and rumination throw a party. They turn my self-worth into a wallflower. Does your brain ever play you for the fool?
I’m grateful to have attended Project Legacy’s The Resilient Option at Bleu Duck Kitchen yesterday, because today my brain is on pretty good behavior. I’m taking steps toward making friends with my mind.
A glass of wine, a cucumber mint blue cheese shot, a small slice of dessert, and some good conversation was followed by a presentation by Dr. Sood on The Resilient Option. It was wisdom-full and balanced beautifully with notes of cleverness throughout. During the presentation, I learned how to be a better friend to myself by encouraging my brain to behave. I’ll share some of what I learned with you.
First, a few yummy details.
Five years ago, I never thought about my palate straying beyond meat and potatoes, Cashew Chicken No Chicken takeout, and Chipotle burritos without beans. Yesterday as I sipped on the cucumber mint blue cheese shot, I thought Mmmm nice balance. It’s proof that change is possible.
There was an array of tempting dessert options. My eyes landed on the must. I selected a slice that was as thin as my FitBit Alta HR. My mouth watered as I talked about the chocolate-peanut-butter-salted-caramel deliciousness with my friend Amy. She travels a lot for work, attending banquets and similar. Before picking up a dessert at an event, she asks herself whether or not it’s something she’ll get a chance to have again.
For example, a small square of cheesecake is pretty easy to come by. Why spend the calories on it? The delicious sweet I had was like nothing I’d tasted before. Those calories were well spent and really it was such a tiny slice.
I apologize for being so off my game that I didn’t take any pictures! I was so entranced with what I was doing that I didn’t think of it. Ever have times like that? Aren’t they the best?
The Real Reason We Were Gathered
Project Legacy is a nationally recognized organization working to counter the side effects of historical trauma. It began as a six week yoga class for a handful of girls. Those side effects include anxiety, depression, fear, hopelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, and generational poverty. The event was held to raise awareness and resources (volunteers and donations) for the organization.
10 Wisdom-Full Ideas I Learned* from Dr. Sood’s Presentation:
- Our brains need RUM to function at their best.
- Rest. Get a good night’s sleep.
- Uplifting Moments. Take a moment every 2-3 hours to experience something uplifting. You could look at a work of art, listen to music, read, get outdoors – give yourself a moment of uplift.
- Motivation. Keep a reminder around about why you are doing what you are doing.
- “Have you ever seen a lion have a panic attack?” Dr. Sood asked. The question made me smile wide. That is how it made this list.
- “Escape from the brain’s prison by looking outward…The party is not happening inside your head.”
- If you take a kernel of negativity and ruminate on it and avoid it, you’ll end up catastrophizing.
- For those who have grown up with a tough home life, all it took for them to thrive was: a trusting relationship with one reliable adult and an ability to see others mistakes as what not to do. “Everybody is a role model.”
- “Sometimes you don’t know where your spark will come from…Disruption can seed transformation.”
- The left and right brain are in conflict. One side focuses on values, meaning, and the long-term. The other one focuses on fears, wants, and the short-term. Seeing those facts and hearing them helped me realize that far from being alone in my daily turmoils, that it is just part of the human condition. I’m still going to be happy about that specific dessert I ate in the long-term. Perhaps I’ll picture it every time I consider eating a lesser dessert.
- Notice one new thing every day.
- Practice morning gratitude for two to three minutes before getting out of bed. “Do not leave bed until you think of 5 people you’re grateful for.” Then you’ll wake up with oxytocin (popularly referred to as the love hormone).
- See people in their circle of love. Whomever you come across during your day, the barista, the bank teller, the sales clerk, picture them within the people who love and care about them.
Incorporating What I Learned
Today, I pictured 5 people who I am grateful for before getting out of bed. Later, when I was walking the track at the Rochester Athletic Club post-SpartaChris, I took greater notice of my surroundings. As I walked by the windows, I noticed the robin standing on the ground and the bare branches of the tree behind it. When I walked by the large nature photographs, I noticed the haziness on the horizon, the pier, the way the top halves of trees seemed to be just emerging from the water. Today, I’ve taken micro-moments to look outside and at pictures of people I love.
The results? My smile has shown itself more today. I have felt less stressed. Worth the effort to try again tomorrow.
*When it comes to learning, takeaways may vary. It is possible that I misunderstood something during Dr. Sood’s presentation. Also, there was so much great information to unpack. I’m sure other members of yesterday’s audience had different takeaways that resonated with them. It may be a good choice to read some of his work for yourself.
This post is part of a series inspired by Eat Pray Love.
Dr. Amit Sood has written several books. I believe this one is his most recent: