I’ve been reading about meditation and neuroplasticity. My personality definitely trends towards me being a “fixer” type, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about problems and how I might fix them, and not enough time thinking about the things that are already great. Once I’ve fixed something it tends to slip off my radar relatively easily and I don’t spend a lot of time celebrating because there’s always that next thing to do. This is not really how I want my brain to work. I like being a fixer and I like fixing things, but faced with big intractable problems or too many little problems at once, my brain can start to overheat. I’d like to work towards fixing my brain (ha ha) and make it a little more resilient so that I can continue to fix things instead of my brain just crashing when it gets overloaded. I also want to calm my brain a bit so I can focus on important work, not just urgent work.
One way to do this is through meditation. I am terrible at meditation. Supposedly that’s normal at first. I think the closest I get to the state you’re supposed to be in when you’re meditating, is when I’m gardening. Another way to do this is to consciously notice and appreciate the good things going on. Because our brains are malleable (neuroplasticity), the more you engage in a certain kind of thought process, the more natural it becomes for you. The more you engage in bad thought practices, the more easily your brain falls into those patterns, and if you want to turn that around, you need to consciously practice it.
So I wrote a bunch of top 10 lists about good things going on (in my life, in the world, in my work, etc). This was really hard for me, which is kind of ridiculous because my life is pretty great overall. Some of these are even things that I initially took as negatives but could equally be seen as positives (another important way to change your brain). I also had to fight the urge to hedge a lot of these by tossing in the negative sides, exceptions, caveats etc. It also felt super silly to write. I think these are all signs that I need to do it more often.