Monday, February 12, 2018

#182 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Allow the good things to soak in.

"Art Can Heal" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
Most of our positive strengths (like resilience, feeling appreciative, relaxed, emotional balance and compassion) have grown in us from positive experiences. Dr. Rick Hanson has observed, however, that our brains have a negativity bias, which is actually there to help us stay alert to danger, to survive. Our brains are "Teflon for the good" experiences but "Velcro for the bad." To counteract this negativity bias, he suggests we really take a little bit of extra time to let the "good" soak in. Dr. Hanson describes his Heal steps for "taking in the good," or turning a passing positive experience into a lasting neural structure in this brief but clear Ted Talk.

So I tried his steps with my daily art practice.
Have - Notice a positive experience, or remember a positive experience. (I thought about a positive experience while working on this collage.)
Enrich - Notice your body sensation when you think about this experience. Help the experience last. Open to it, let it sink in for 20 or 30 seconds. Appreciate it, enjoy it. (I tried to allow the character in this collage express this positive experience and then imagine the character's feeling.)
Absorb - This can overlap the Enrich step, but really visualize "putting a jewel into the treasure chest of the heart."  Allow for and observe a positive shift as it occurs. (This one can happen if we look at our art work and truly feel and appreciate what is expressed.)
Link - This is an optional step where you can keep the strong sense of the positive experience, while being aware of some smaller negative material, so that the positive can be bigger and stronger than the negative. Let the positive outweigh the negative, causing the negative memory to weaken and to be affected by the positive feeling tone now attached to it.  (We can print out art work that reminds us to allow the good to soak in, and look at it, feel the good, especially when there is negative material to deal with.)

Try using your daily art practice to grow greater well-being, relaxation, mindfulness, emotional balance, and feeling appreciated in your brain and in your life.


Merrikate said...

Love, love, love this! Image and message so beautifully allied, as ever.
~ kwp

NM_Creatrix said...

Lani, I have a random picture generator for my screen saver and often I will walk by and see some piece of my art (that I may have forgotten) on the screen and I think, Gee, that looks good! So this is a good reminder that I should treat them ALL like that.

Bill said...

I love this one, too! I'm going to let it "soak" in. :-)