How many times do you find yourself thinking, “That meeting sucked,” and then all of sudden you find yourself thinking, “I sucked in that meeting,” then, “My life sucks,” and then, “The whole world sucks!?” This downward “negative-thought spiral” can be tricky to escape from but, thankfully, motivational speaker, designer and best-selling author Karen Salmansohn has the solution.
In her new book Instant Happy, Salmanshon suggests using a psychological tool called “pattern interrupts” to stop a moving train of negative thoughts on its tracks. The book features a different pattern interrupt (or “happy-thought intervention,” as Salmanshon calls them) on each page designed to counteract limiting beliefs and jump-start a new pattern of positive, productive thought.
MRIs have shown that every time people think angry thoughts or imagine worst-case scenarios, they send a surge of blood flowing into the brain regions associated with depression and anger, which refuels their depression and anger in a destructive feedback loop. When you’re trapped in a really negative fight-or-flight thought pattern, you’re limited to using a mere 20 percent of your brain’s thinking power. Happily, MRIs have also show that when people start to think happy thoughts, they send a surge of blood flowing into brain regions associated with happiness – widening their positive neural pathways and making it easier and more automatic for them to think better, calmer thoughts.
You’ll find every page of Instant Happy is an inspirational flashcard – a positive, affirming statement paired with a graphic. Why the graphic? Salmanshon explains that research has shown that when you incorporate visuals into your learning process, you are better at “recording” lessons in your permanent memory bank.
Karen insists that everyone has 10 seconds for an attitude makeover, so there’s no excuse to not try a quick pattern interrupt.
So, Go To It! Take a look at the graphic below for a 10-second attitude makeover. Then, enter to win one of five copies of Instant Happy on our Facebook page by October 11.
Visit notsalmon.com for more “self help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self help.”
Image reprinted with permission from Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers by Karen Salmansohn (Ten Speed Press © 2012).