#52 Look for "what's right"


A big part of working on healing and rebuilding after my third back operation was purely mental training. At the time I didn't understand why, but I noticed that it made such a huge difference what I focused on. Some days this simple thing could literally mean the difference between being able to walk or having to stay in the wheelchair, or even worse, stay in bed.

Gradually I noticed that in any given situation, I had a choice what to focus on. Very bluntly put, I could focus on what was wrong, or I could focus on what was right. Focusing on "what's wrong" seemed to be a pretty good survival strategy, and had often been necessary earlier in order to function with  arthritis, a crushed spine and whiplash. But once my back fracture was stabilized, thanks to a three level spinal fusion with steel implants, I could start rebuilding myself safely.

Then I found out that my brain really wasn't helping me get better by being on crisis alert and looking for everything that could go wrong in any possible situation. I needed to retrain my brain to start focusing on what was right and what was good in those same situations that had seemed challenging before. Since then, I have learned a little about positive psychology and neuroplasticity. With basic training in Neuro-Linguistic-Programming I learned how to start looking for what could be positive in any given situation, and lo and behold, as I did, the positive stuff grew!! I quickly realized that when I succeeded in maintaining a positive focus, I had much more energy throughout the day, energy I could use to rebuild myself physically and mentally.

It's very easy for people to say that we should "think positive", but due to the way or brains are wired after living with health problems for a while ("cells that wire together fire together") that may actually not be physically possible straight away. We may have to train that ability gradually, and the first step in that direction is to start looking for what's right.

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