Comfort Food for the Mind

One common happiness question is: if you’re feeling anxious, blue, angry, or scared, what can you do to give yourself a boost?

Try to find a “comfort food” for your mind. By doing so, you’ll re-charge your battery, find it easier to stay calm and cheerful, find it easier to take action to remedy your situation — and you’ll sleep better. But this is easier said than done.

We all suffer from “negativity bias,” that is, we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. (What do you remember better, a compliment or a criticism?) Research shows one consequence of negativity bias is that when people’s thoughts wander, they tend to begin to brood. Anxious or angry thoughts capture our attention more effectively than happier thoughts.

So if you’re feeling blue, look for ways to pull your mind away from your worries onto positive topics.

One easy way is to watch a movie — not something upsetting! — or a favorite TV show.

My favorite activity is reading, and when I really need comfort food for my mind, I read children’s literature. I have a crazy passion for children’s and young-adult literature. I always re-read, too; when I’m upset, I want the comfort of knowing that I’ll love the book and that I won’t be upset by some unexpected plot twist. (For instance, I can’t bear any plot that includes unjust accusation. You wouldn’t believe how often unjust accusation pops up in books, movies, plays, and TV.)

I do find that some activities that are usually happiness-inducing don’t work very well when I’m preoccupied with bad thoughts. For instance, although going for a walk usually cheers me up, it also gives me an excellent opportunity to brood if I’m in a brooding mood.

Cooking, cleaning, playing with your kids, playing video games, playing basketball — different people find different solutions. If you can find an activity that gives you exercise, gets you outside, or brings you in contact with other people, that’s especially effective.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself some mental comfort food. By giving yourself a break and a bit of comfort, you’ll make yourself feel better, and you’ll also equip yourself to deal more effectively with tough situations.

What mental comfort food works for you?

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.

Image courtesy of Annie Spratt.

Related Posts

  1. My TEDx San Diego Talk
  2. Compassion in the Eye of the Storm
  3. Like Gollum, Do You Have Something Precious – That Isn’t Good for You?
  4. Despair, Disillusionment and Desire Open the Door to Everything

The post Comfort Food for the Mind appeared first on Positively Positive.

The Best Steps to Overcome Fear

Greet Your Fears

If you are constantly triggered and motivated by fear, you’ll just get more fear out of your experiences. How do you approach doing something that you are frightened of? Feel the fear and do it anyway. Invite the fear in, sit it down for a cup of tea, and get to know it! Fear offers us the extraordinary opportunity to really examine who we are, how we got here, and what we can do about it. Giving your fears a voice begins the course toward understanding them. If you are coming from integrity of mind and body, and your actions are in alignment, you cannot be provoked by fear.

Tackling fear is an ongoing process. Rather than eradicating it, changing your relationship to fear is more constructive. Fear can be an indication of our triggers, and a window into our psyche. When you look at your fears, starting from a state of confidence is essential. Don’t reject your feelings. Look at them calmly and treat yourself with kindness. Handling whatever it is that you are frightened by is a matter of moving through the feeling. You must be patient with yourself. Facing fear is not a test. You may not be ready to give that speech, or ride the bike, or start dating again, but the ability to take small steps toward a goal is all that matters.

External Fear Mongers

The times that we live in create a lot of fear, which if we allow to settle in, can overtake the way we see the world, other people, and ourselves. There’s a flow to dealing with fear that goes against the grain of the media blasts, fear-mongers and information tainted with a negative slant. Achieving that flow is about being pro-active in your consciousness. If you are aware of delusions created in your mind, and how they can seem very real, you can process the truth, your truth, and live with a much more positive mindset when you come up against fear. Instead of the fear causing you to retreat, you see it as a valuable challenge.

We create our reality in our mind, and that is where fear resides. The mind creates delusions that can fool you into thinking they are real.

Letting Go of Fear

You have the ability to let go of a fear, no matter how you came to it or what is influencing you from your past. What practical steps can you take to subdue fear? Identifying what it is exactly, and having a sense of what you need to do to chip away at it, is key. Whether you feel you can begin to make headway to alleviate a fear now, or need to wait until you are ready in the future, you can start charting a course for engaging with the fear and changing the way you feel about it.

  • Start believing that your inherent nature is one of confidence.
  • Don’t deny fear but don’t feed it with more fear and negativity, as it will grow and worsen.
  • Think about whether your fear is really another emotion such as anger, guilt, frustration or hurt.
  • Don’t shut down. You can’t obsess about a fear when your mind remains open and clear.
  • Look at the bigger picture. You are not your fear. That fear may seem very large, but let it rise and fall as just a part of the landscape of your life.
  • Know that worry won’t change the outcome of ANYTHING.
  • Try to break familiar patterns of how fear is triggered for you and how you respond to it.
  • Even if it’s a small step, take action. If that doesn’t turn out as hoped, have another plan of action ready.
  • Attempt to take the focus off yourself by doing something for someone else. Fear can be very selfish and inwardly obsessed. Fill that space that is consumed with fear with a positive deed that is outside of yourself.
  • Look for the teachable moment when you feel fear.
  • Instead of allowing yourself to be affected by a negative collective consciousness of fear, which is spread by external forces, try to tap into the opposite – the collective consciousness of people who are looking to connect to one another. Fear can divide people. Be mindful of motivations by people and systems that seek to isolate us and have us compete with one another.
  • Take care of your overall health. Eat well and get enough sleep. When your body is stressed or depleted, you are less able to cope with fear.

You don’t have to let fear rule you. Some people are not even aware that fear is steering their life. If you know that it is having a negative effect on you, and that you truly want to do something about it, there is a vast amount of wisdom and help available if you take action.


Derek O’Neill, fondly referred to as the Celtic Sage, inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights listen to his free radio archives or order his books on Mindfulness, Anxiety, Stress and Depression.

Image courtesy of Dayne Topkin.

Related Posts

  1. How to Overcome Your Fear of Happiness
  2. How Mindful Meditation Can Help Melt Your Stress Away
  3. Why Holding a Tarantula Transforms Fear
  4. How to Realize That All Fear Is Created by You

The post The Best Steps to Overcome Fear appeared first on Positively Positive.

How to find the person who can help you get ahead at work | Carla Harris

The workplace is often presented as a meritocracy, where you can succeed by putting your head down and working hard. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris learned early in her career that this a myth. The key to actually getting ahead? Get a sponsor: a person who will speak on your behalf in the top-level, closed-door meetings you're not invited to (yet). Learn how to identify and develop a productive sponsor relationship in this candid, powerful talk.
Click Here To Visit The Site

Museums should honor the everyday, not just the extraordinary | Ariana Curtis

Who deserves to be in a museum? For too long, the answer has been "the extraordinary" — those aspirational historymakers who inspire us with their successes. But those stories are limiting, says museum curator Ariana Curtis. In a visionary talk, she imagines how museums can more accurately represent history by honoring the lives of people both extraordinary and everyday, prominent and hidden — and amplify diverse perspectives that should have always been included.
Click Here To Visit The Site