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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

A Question to Balance Your Brain

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: May 3rd 2011

balance the brainIn the past I’ve written about how we all have a built in automatic negativity bias that’s been wired into us for the purpose of keeping us safe. See bear tracks to one cave, not the other, you’re mind will focus more on the cave with bear tracks to signal danger and not go down that road.  If you’re depressed, you’ll find this way of seeing life even more instinctual and believable. However, when it comes to our emotional lives this isn’t always the most effective auto-responder.

So what can we do to balance out our brains?

I want to suggest something very simple.

Every now and again drop the question into your mind, “What is good now?” and just see what comes up.

The idea is just like you can drop a stone into a pool of water and it will create ripples, when we drop questions into our mind just as an inquiry, ripples are bound to occur as other elements get stirred up.

Your mind can’t help but incline toward considering what the good is in this moment.

Now, if you have a mind that is deeply embedded in seeing the negative, like you would if you were depressed, then what might come up is the automatic negative thought (ANT), “NOTHING! Nothing is good right now.”

Ok, so the rule when this happens is to allow your first thought or two to come up and pass, then ask yourself the question again,

“What is good right now?”

You may want to create reminders in your calendar to automatically pop the question.

If you can spend a few moments to be mindful first that can also help. Close your eyes take a few deep breaths and feel into your body as a way to anchor to the present moment.

Then ask again,

“What is good right now?”

Go ahead and try it right now, let us know what you come up with.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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