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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

H.E.A.L

Take Time to H.E.A.L 

By Melissa Christiansen, MA, LPC Intern #73566

Supervised by Katrena Hart, MS, LPC Supervisor #15619 

            I recently reviewed a podcast from Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Hardwiring Happiness, and The Buddha’s Brain.  He says we can learn ways to calm our thoughts, anchor new habits and deepen an overall sense of contentment.  One of his exercises I find particularly helpful, and it follows the acronym H.E.A.L.  I’ve outlined the steps below.

H:  “Have a beneficial experience.”

Notice when you are having a positive moment.  It could be a sense of connection, completion, relief, or accomplishment.  For example, tucking a child into bed, finishing a chore, praying, drinking a favorite cup of tea, or enjoying a morning walk or shower.  

E: “Enrich the experience.”

Savor your positive moment. Make the experience bigger. Notice details using your senses.  Emphasize the experience and lengthen the time you notice it for 5 to 10 seconds.  Recognize any novel aspects of the present moment and offer gratitude for this time.  What are you thankful for in this experience? How does your body feel right now? What is important to you about this moment?

A: “Absorb the experience.”

Make a memory out of this moment.  Recognize what feels rewarding about this experience and how it is helpful for you.  This releases dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain, which are beneficial chemicals for learning.

L:  “Link it to another experience.”

Link this positive feeling (now forefront and magnified) to a negative thought that may be in the background of your awareness.  This step can help soothe and reduce the negative feelings as you practice internalizing the positive.

Basically, the steps call for you to HAVE and intentionally ENJOY a moment.  Your brain and your body will thank you.

For more information from Rick Hanson, go to www.rickhanson.net

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Allen, TX 75013
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