Have you noticed how...
Our minds are naturally wired to recall more negative experiences. As you go through your day, notice how often you really take in the positives versus the negatives. 100 things could go right, like a hug from a loved one, a beautiful sunny morning, warm socks, the taste of your favourite fruit at breakfast, seeing a friend, and so one but when we lay down at night, we may be hanging on to the 1 thing that went wrong, like the person who cut us off on the way home. This is called the negativity bias. Ugh.
And this requires some re-wiring.
The good news is that Allah Almighty blesses us with a million more positives in our days even while testing us with a few things at a time. Allah (swa) even tells us that He never burdens a soul more than it can bear. So we already have a boost when we are going through a tough time.
We each have experiences times in our life when we felt the following: (Try reading these as your own personal affirmations).
- Deeply connected with Allah (swa)
- Loved: By Allah (swa) and those around me
- Abundant: Allah (swa) provides and cares for my needs
- Generous: I am giving and open-hearted with my blessings
- Inspired / Inspiring: I have felt uplifted before and have uplifted others
- Helpful: I have been there for others
- Worthwhile: Allah (swa) placed me here for a purpose - to worship Him alone and enjoin good while forbidding evil
- Confident: I am or have felt self-assured in myself and the qualities given to me by Allah (swa)
- Important and needed: I know my importance to the lives of the people around me. I try my hardest to give them my best.
- Strong: I have experienced challenges that have made me stronger and wiser.
- Wholly accepted: I accept myself and I am accepted by my loved ones. I am human and am committed to growth.
- Authentic: I am connected with my deepest values and purpose
The goal is to feel any of these amazing feelings at any given moment, no matter the circumstances around us.
How can we do this?
- Take a moment to silently recall some of the most positive moments in your life that relate to the feelings above. Some examples could include a time when you made a du'a and saw it get answered, being with a special friend, a heartfelt hug or conversation with a loved one, an experience outdoors you treasured, the day you met your husband or wife, a moment when someone said you made a difference in their life or helped them in some way, receiving a kiss from your child, enjoying an amazing meal, smelling a bouquet of flowers.
- Once you take yourself back to an experience, allow yourself to feel how you felt at that moment for 10-20 seconds.
- Notice if you feel like a part of you is sensing any discomfort such as thinking "I'm not so great" or "that was different" or "things have changed". Let these thoughts dissolve because you are remembering factual moments that happened and your experiences and feelings are valid as you remember them.
- Bring those positive feelings into your present moment and open up to the world and the circumstances around you with the love and positivity from the memory you are channeling.
- Continue practicing this exercise and inshaAllah, you will be able to get much better at bringing yourself to a state of fulfillment despite the day to day challenges that happen to get you down for a short period.
In your planner, try adding a note to each day you practice tapping into a positive emotion for up to 30 seconds. Notice how this starts to feel for you and the difference it makes. Re-wiring our hearts and minds for gratitude and wellness can take practice because of the negativity bias mentioned above, but it is well worth the effort. Best of all, this is a silent, private exercise you can do at any time to make your days better without having to make time to talk with someone if your day is busy or you just need a quick boost inshaAllah.