The Little Engine that Could ( I think I can )



I think most of you have heard the children's story of  The Little Engine That Could .  It is a great story that teaches children the value of optimism and hard work and has been around in one form or another since at least 1902.

While I'm a huge fan of positive thinking and being optimistic, I've realized something new recently -  you often "can" even if you don't think you can.  You see, the nagging voice in your head that is often so negative comes from a part of your brain called the amygdala.  The amygdala is a part of a very primitive area of our brain which gives negative thoughts and emotions much more attention that positive ones.  It evolved to save us from the many dangers of living in the prehistoric world.

The thing is that we can identify the negative voices in our head and with enough mindfulness separate ourselves from these voices, emotions, and feelings and see them for what they are - thoughts.  You are not your thoughts or emotions and they only have power over you if you let them.  Yes, please use mantras and positive thinking, but realize that often we can even if we don't think we can.  Do it!

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

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