In today’s world, amid a constant stream of worries, stress, and distractions, we often overlook a powerful tool for enhancing our mood and building inner strength – our brain’s inherent ability to adapt and reshape itself.

Through a practice rooted in the science of self-directed neuroplasticity, focusing on and deeply embedding positive experiences can have profound effects on our emotional well-being.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s remarkable ability to reorganize pathways, create new connections, and even reshape existing physical structures as a response to experience and learning. What this means is that by using your mind intentionally, you can change your brain.

We possess this incredible capability at any stage of life. The premise of self-directed neuroplasticity is that by intentionally focusing our thoughts, emotions, and experiences, we can leverage this amazing trait to enhance our mood and build inner resilience.

Here’s a simple way to tap into this science:

Pay attention to the simple pleasures you have throughout your day. For example, today I was sitting in the sunshine next to the St. Lawrence River at my summer home, feeling the warm sun on my skin, and the cool breeze as it crossed my face. Rather than rushing off to the next thing to do, I savored the experience, I took it in with all of my senses, and filled my heart with gratitude for the moment.

It may sound deceptively simple, but a multitude of studies support the efficacy of this practice. In fact, an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that participants who regularly practiced savoring positive experiences demonstrated more positive emotions and less depression compared to those who did not.

Here are some of the simple pleasures you can attend to, savor, and take in with all of your senses for 10 seconds (or more!) multiple times a day:

✅ Enjoying your morning coffee or tea

✅ The smile on your spouse or a friend’s face

✅ The sound of laughter

✅ Cuddling with a child, a pet, or a loved one

✅ A deep breath in the midst of a busy day

✅ A compliment

✅ An invitation to join friends for a gathering

Allow the feeling to fill your body, generate positive thoughts about it, and feel positive emotions, encouraging the brain to recognize and value this positive event.

This technique works because our brains are naturally wired to focus more on negative experiences due to a survival-driven phenomenon called the negativity bias. When we intentionally focus on positive experiences, we counteract this bias, making it easier for our brain to form new positive pathways. And the 10-second rule is crucial because that’s how long it takes to start the process of long-term memory consolidation.

By taking a few moments each day to deeply embed positive experiences into our memories, we can enhance our mood, build inner strength, and promote emotional resilience, proving once again that small changes can yield big results.

Here’s to your inner strength!