We process everything that happens to us through our own personal mental filters. For a simple example of this, try looking around the room for 10 seconds and counting all the red things you see. How many did you get? You might have seen two, you might have seen 10, but I bet you can’t say how many blue things you saw. We find what we’re looking for.
The stress response is triggered when we think our survival is threatened and we become “hyper vigilant” to any potential danger so we can respond to it really quickly. This means that when we’re in the stress response we’re on the lookout for anything that might be a threat. We’re looking for trouble, and we find it. Sometimes, we even create it.
If you find yourself locked into the stress response, and seeing the threats or danger wherever you look, you can deliberately change the filter. As you go about your normal day, set aside time when you consciously look for things that are supportive or encouraging.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Look out for beauty – a tree, the pattern of clouds.
- Look out for life – birds, insects, animals.
- Look for out for kindness – a kind word, someone holding open a door for you.