If you were to pretend that your life is like a car, who’s driving it? Some people may have negative responses, say, “No one is – it’s in the ditch.” or “It’s sitting in the garage and won’t start.” Conversely, some may respond enthusiastically with “I’m flying down the highway at 85 mph with the top down, and the music cranked. I’m having a blast!”
How can the response to this question be so polarized? Well, because we are such emotional beings. To help you with your ’emotional’ driving skills, here are three quick tips from Dr. Rick Hansen, Ph.D., author of “Just One thing” and “The Buddha’s Brain.” Dr. Hanson has a three-step process for enhancing joy, pleasure and appreciation in life – kind of like how it feels to fly down the road at 85 mph with the top down.
Step 1 – Notice or create a positive experience. Perhaps you’re at the grocery store. You’re walking down the aisle, and you see someone pull a box of cereal off the shelf. Instead of one box, three tumble onto the floor. In that moment of potential embarrassment another person helps pick-up the boxes. [Notice the care, the concern, the helpfulness. Or you can be that person who comes to help.]
Step 2 – Stay with the experience. Be with it, let it last for a few seconds – the longer the better.
Step 3 – Absorb the positive experience, paying attention to what is good, to the beauty of the moment. Absorb the compassion of someone helping another person. It’s simple but not easy.
Dr. Hanson calls this Vitamin C for your brain. Don’t waste it.
The next time you’re driving down the road of life (assuming you’ve made it out of the garage), keep your eyes on the road but take the time to absorb positive experiences that come your way.