HEAL: The Four Steps to Taking in the Good

JT - Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge

The past couple of weeks have been challenging for me personally. I am not going to go in to the details, however something I was going to do with a couple of other people changed quite considerably and subsequently I have chosen not to do it.

Yes, it has been hard to sit with my interpretation of what was happening, however I made a promise to be myself a while back and will honour that. Yes, I promised myself to sit with the vulnerability and accept the feelings, thoughts and behaviours that go along with that.

As I know this is only one area of my life and the brain has a negativity bias, I want to make sure I continue to take in the good experiences that are happening around me whilst this experience continues to unravel. So today, I wanted to share with you HEAL: the four steps to taking in the good from Dr Rick Hanson’s book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence.

What is Taking in the Good?

In his book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence Hanson writes –

“…taking in the good is the deliberate internalisation of positive experiences in implicit memory. It involves four simple steps – 

  1. Have a positive experience
  2. Enrich it
  3. Absorb it
  4. Link positive and negative material.” (p.765).

Each step serves a purpose, when step 1 activating the positive mental state and step 2, 3 and 4 installing it in the brain.

HEAL: The Four Steps to Taking in the Good

Following is further explanation on how to HEAL by using the four steps of taking in the good.

Step 1 (H): Look for positive facts and make them in to positive experiences.

  • Notice a positive experience that is happening in your life at the present time. For example – you could bring to mind a friend who you are grateful for, the environment you are living in or recognise a task you have completed. Then as much as you can help these ideas become emotionally rewarding experiences – let yourself feel good!

Step 2 (E): Enrich it – savour the positive experience.

  • Stay with the positive experience for 10-20 seconds or longer. Open to the feelings in your body, try to sense it in your body and intensify it.

Step 3 (A): Absorb it.

  • Intend and sense the experience, so that it really lands within you. Allow the experience to sink within you, so you can take the experience where you go.

Step 4 (L): Link positive and negative material (optional).

  • This is an optional step. As you are having the positive experience in the foreground or awareness, open up to a negative experience in the background. For example – when you are feeling accepted and included in a situation, you could open up to an experience where you were feeling lonely. N.B. if the negative experience takes you out of the positive experience, let it go and return the focus to the positive experience.

Rick Hanson on Taking in the Good

If you would like to hear Rick Hanson talk about Taking in the Good, why not have a look at the following 6 minute clip?

So there you have it, HEAL: the four steps for taking in the good! If you have any questions, feel free to share below in the comments section below.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

Reference –

Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. New York, USA: Harmony Books.

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