Our brains are 3-5 times more sensitive to negative information, we naturally look at life through the lens of lack. What's going wrong? What don't I have? Where are the threats? This "caveman brain" sensitivity toward "where are the threats", makes it necessary for us to we retrain and rewire our brain to look for the positive, the good things that are happening in our life and in the world.
A key way to retrain our brain to look for the positive is through the practice of gratitude and savoring. Gratitude is the gateway to happiness. It's a game-changer. Gratitude changes the lens through which we see the world from one of lack to one of abundance. It allows us to savor the goodness and the experience.
Research in the area of positive psychology indicates that focusing, in detail, on 3 new things that you are grateful for each day is part of the key to retraining our brain and living a life full of happiness. This can be done out loud, silently in your mind or by writing it down in a gratitude journal.
I also love the idea of sharing gratitude at the dinner table with friends and family. It's a great way to inspire the practice in others and to connect with others and bond over the good stuff. One way to consider doing this is to play a game called the Hi-Lo-Hero game.
The Hi-Lo-Hero game is played by going around the dinner table and each person shares the high point of the day, then the low point of the day. Sharing the low point helps to acknowledge that life can be challenging. It helps to identify specifically how someone is feeling about the experience that happened. Next share the hero moment. The hero moment is a time during the day where you did something kind, loving or helpful for someone else.
The Hi-Lo-Hero game allows for the sharing of both gratitude and savoring. Two key habits for happiness. It also pulls into play 2 other habits for happiness, random acts of kindness and being generous, of service to someone, by focusing on a moment where we were a hero. Hero moments can be both big or very small gestures. It can be smiling at a stranger or at someone who seems to be struggling. It can be holding open a door or sitting at the lunch table with someone who is alone. It reminds us to daily incorporate moments of loving kindness or service and generosity into our day.
Sharing of the low moments, the struggle, is being honest. It gives us the opportunity to support and encourage each other and the opportunity to strategize and brainstorm.
I invite you to try playing the Hi-Lo-Hero game with your family and friends. It's a great way to build connection and to savor the goodness in our lives. Ultimately, retraining our brains toward happiness.