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Creating Mental Flexibility

A Message from Brooke in three stories:


At the beginning of this year, I went hiking with a friend in the mountains of Utah. As we wandered, the snow began to fall, slowly at first and then intensifying. As the wind picked up, my heart rate increased, and my mind began to race around all the worst-case scenarios. As I quickly jumped from one story to another, I realized nothing had changed about that moment except for the story I was telling. My brain could toggle between magical or menacing, and I chose menacing. Taking a deep breath, I toggled to magical - the snow was beautiful, soft, and serene. It was breathtaking.


When my daughter was 3 or 4, she was curious, mischievous, and creative (she still is). But at that time, it was a combination that often left me frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day. I spent most of my day frustrated and moving from one mess to the next. One night, as I kissed her cute cheeks and tucked her into bed, I felt a deep pang of regret because I realized I had spent most of that day complaining and reprimanding her. I did not want either of us to go to sleep, feeling like she was a problem to be solved. So, I promised myself that when I tucked her in each night, I would tell her three good things I had noticed throughout the day. It felt that overnight, her behavior changed. Maybe it did, but perhaps I toggled to magical.

A Summer Run-

I went for a run; the sun was out, and the air was crisp. Thirty minutes in, the sky opened, and I was in a downpour. At first, I was annoyed, and then I looked around at how the birds swooped and the flowers glistened. I lifted my face to the rain and soaked in the moment. Menacing to magical.

Reality is reality, but the stories we tell influence our perception. We have a natural negative bias - it has kept us alive as a species for a long time - but it also gets us caught in negative loops where we spend too much time criticizing, complaining, blaming, and protecting. We can miss the magical (and even neutral) because our stories of what scares or frustrates us become too big. Things are almost always challenging and beautiful at the same time. Have you taken time to notice and toggle today?

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