I was totally captivated by this phrase Velcro vs Teflon” coined by Dr. Rick Hanson in the book “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff. What is all that about?
Since it appears in a book about happiness, you could probably guess how this is related. Apparently we are naturally drawn to negativity like Velcro and oblivious to positivity as it slides off easily like on Teflon.
When you give this some thought, you would find that it is not difficult at all to drag up tons of examples to prove that this is all too true. Some of these might resonate:
- Everyone tells you how great a job you have done but your boss thinks you have missed out one important point. You take this as criticism and could not sleep for days; it eats you in the gut.
- You think you are a good mother but when your neighbour complains about your son’s misbehaviour, you take a dive in self-esteem.
- You take a test which you have no problem answering all the questions but one. You think you have done badly and could fail the test.
All it takes is just one small “wrong” to throw you into depression, destroying all the good simply because we are designed to focus on negativity.
Everyone seems to be seeking happiness but finding it elusive. Now you have a little better idea why this is so. Negativity being a natural reaction (due to the flight-or-fight phenomenon of our fore-fathers in early life form) makes it comfortable for us to remain unhappy. To become happy requires more effort; we need to learn new ways of thinking and responding. Any wonder why there are so many unhappy people?
Thomas Leonard said “People spend more time WORRYING about what might happen than DEALING with things that do happen“.
Concentrating on worrying leaves you no energy nor brain power to appreciate the beauty of the NOW and you miss the opportunity to be happy.
To avoid this natural tendency, we need to practise appreciation and gratefulness daily to ensure negativity is kept at bay. We should practise having good thoughts: notice the freshness of the morning air, the peacefulness in taking a stroll in the gardens, smile at the happiness of children at play, appreciate the thoughtfulness of your neighbours, and so forth. Concentrate on these things and you will find the warm in the heart grows.
Marci Shimoff suggests in her book to keep a count on the number of times you blame, complain or feel ashame a day and you would know how easily negative thoughts creep into your everyday life.
In order to train our brain to be more positive, each time you record these negative thoughts, replace it with a positive one. Eventually, slowly but surely, you will become happier.
Let’s make a commitment NOW to change this to: