Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now That I'm Awake, Alert & Fully Alive

It's a good thing I don't read children's books aloud for a living. With all the stress I'm under lately, I'm apt to Snap! Crackle! and Pop!

Lately, even running isn't cutting through the grind of daily life. (And I tallied over 200 miles in January, so that's saying something).

Yesterday, I found myself standing in front of the microwave, holding the milk that is clearly meant for the fridge. I searched frantically for car keys that I swore I just tucked into my purse 2 minutes before. Later, I felt far more angry than I should have about "Amelia" being a total suckfest of a movie. (Zombieland- now, that's a good movie!)

More troubling than all that, however, are the stretches of hours when I find myself on autopilot, going from work to workout to dinner. Not quite tuning into conversations. My body is present and accounted for, but the feeling, thinking, observing parts of myself are vaguely someplace else (Zombieland, perhaps?)

So I, for one, was not a bit surprised to come across a "new" study suggesting that our moods can in fact change the way in which we view the world.

From The Journal of Neuroscience , a study conducted by The University of Toronto provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience suggesting that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is more biological reality than metaphor.

“Good and bad moods literally change the way our visual cortex operates and how we see,” says Adam Anderson, a U of T professor of psychology.

“Specifically our study shows that when in a positive mood, our visual cortex takes in more information, while negative moods result in tunnel vision.”

The antidote, so say psychologists, is mindfulness, a concept with roots both in Buddhism and the "be here now" days of the '60s. Mindfulness means paying attention to what's happening right now without brooding over the past, fretting about the future, or making judgments about how you'd prefer the moment to unfold. When you're mindful, you're awake, alert, fully alive.

This capacity to live in the moment, experts are discovering, delivers an astounding array of benefits. The mindful among us enjoy lower levels of stress, more harmonious relationships, better overall health, less fatigue, and higher self-esteem. Their moods are more stable. They're just plain happier.

The takeaway:

-It's the way you see things that matters.
-Shakespeare said 'nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so'. Too true.
-Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.


  1. That totally makes sense...your mindset definitely affects your perspective and it's all about perspective isn't it. Hope you're feeling more mindful :)

  2. Holy crap, you logged over 200 miles for January!! Wow, that is the most out of any blogger that I have seen so far! Good job! I have been feeling the same way...kind of out of it. I feel like I can't stay focused for five seconds and I can relate to the whole key thing. I looked in my purs for my keys like three times and didn't see them...finally the fourth try I found them in my purs next to my cell phone right where they are supposed to be!! Good Lord, I feel like I am going crazy:)

  3. I just read the comment that you left me! Bless your just made my day:)

  4. There is a time for everything. One day, you be going along, in complete bliss and awareness. At that point you might think back to this and feel a certain comfort.

    Excellent month of work!!

  5. oh... those book covers are priceless!

  6. I definitely snorted when I saw those book covers. I think that something can definitely be said for "being present" and letting go of things you can't control. You can only do your best in that moment. This is definitely something I need to work harder at in my life! And I know I've experienced the "tunnel vision" that comes with negative thinking.

  7. The Dr. Suess book covers are hilarious. My mother would roll her eyes and look disdainfully at me if I even mentioned something as funny as those.

    Of course my bad and good mood affect everything. That's why I hate being in a bad mood. I do try and not take things as personal, which helps affect me staying present and having a better outlook.