In his book, The Emotional Life of the Brain, Dr. Richard Davidson talks about how strengthening your brain is similar to strengthening your muscles through physical exercise. Of course, you know that if you want to build a muscle, you must use it, stretch it, put some weight on it. Well, if we want to create new neural networks associated with feeling happier, we also need to do a workout for our brain. Thankfully, there are lots of ways of doing that. If you enjoy doing such activities as Crossword Puzzles, that's one way of doing a brain workout. Last week's Blog offered you another way of doing a brain workout while, at the same time, boosting your level of happiness. This week's Blog builds on that strategy and it involves both physical and mental exercise.
Most people have cell phones these days, and most phones have a camera in them. You have one, too, right? So, would you be willing to do another experiment? If so, go for a walk and look for beauty, and then when you see it, take a picture of it with your phone. That's it!. You don't have to share your pictures with anyone unless you want to. This is simply for you to notice anything you think is beautiful. If there is a beautiful sound you hear you could also record it. Try to photograph or record at least 10 things that you believe are beautiful. This exercise is about developing a mindset and a habit of looking for beauty, and at the same time, continuing to rewire your brain so you can raise your happiness level.
BUT, before you go for your walk, name where you are on that 0 - 10 Subjective Units of Distress Scale and determine where you would currently rank yourself, with 0 being, "I feel great and have no anxiety (sadness, anger, etc)" and 10 being, "I feel the worst I can imagine feeling." ONCE you are finished with your walk, rank yourself again on that scale, and see what impact the walk had on your level of happiness.
Have a good brain workout and enjoy your walk!
(Photo credit: IM_Image_Factory)