Someone recently asked me what my all time favorite life hack was. Too be honest, it kind of threw me for a loop at first. I had so many floating through my head, I wasn’t able to immediately answer.
It was kind of like asking someone what their favorite song is? With so many choices, how do you answer that?
Regardless, I thought it was an interesting question. We discussed it for awhile tossing around some ideas, but never really came up with anything concrete.
Later that night, I began thinking more about that question and thought it would be fun to really take my time and try to come up with an answer.
Now certainly, there are many great life hacks out there. In my last article, I wrote about how to quickly read someone’s body language. If you do a quick google search, you will get all kinds of “Top 10” list of quick and easy hacks.
For this article though, I wanted to come up with something deeper. Something more universal that could be applied to everyday life.
Life Hack Inspiration
As I was brainstorming, a funny thing happened.
My mind began drifting. A news story on the TV caught my eye. Then I began thinking about my grocery list. Then I was looking at a weed growing in my front yard.
You get the idea.
But then, I had that “Aha!” moment.
The most outstanding life hack is something usually seen as our greatest disadvantage!
We all have one track minds.
Let me explain some more.
Our brains are wired so that we can only think of one thing at a time.
Don’t believe me?
Go ahead and try it. Try to think of two different things at the same exact time.
Can’t do it, right?
Just as in the example above. I intended to think of the most outstanding life hack. But quickly found myself bouncing from one thought to another.
While most people see this as a major disadvantage, I would argue it is our greatest advantage. Here is why;
Because we can only think of one thing at a time, we have the ability to instantly block out everything else.
Stop and think about how powerful that is.
Anytime we are thinking a negative thought, or a thought that is out of our alignment, we can block it out. All we have to do is think of something that we prefer to think about.
Once you do that, it is literally impossible for the negative thought to occur in your mind. The only way for it to come back is if you let it.
I have been trying this hack for a few weeks now and it has been working amazingly for me. It took some discipline at first, but after a day or two, I found myself doing it almost automatically.
Every time I began to shift my focus to the positive, I found an instant shift in state of being.
Some of you may be wondering what exactly I am shifting my positive thinking to. At first, I was trying just about everything.
I would picture relaxing on a sunny beach, or think about my family and friends, or even imagine a flow of abundance into my life. These all worked well, but I actually found one specific technique that worked the best.
Every time I find myself getting into a negative alignment, I begin by focusing my thoughts solely on my breathing. I imagine my breath falling deep into my lungs, then effortlessly floating out. I do this for a few breaths, then focus even harder by counting the breaths. 5 Seconds in, 1 second hold, then 5 seconds out (you can do whatever count is most comfortable for you).
I like beginning this way because it forces to you immediately dial into a strict focus. It is almost impossible to lose your thought when you are counting your breaths. Second, it produces a calming physical effect by regulating your breathing pattern and slowing your heart rate down.
Once I have my breathing down and in a smooth pattern, I shift my focus to one of gratitude.
I begin thinking of everything that I am grateful for in that moment. It can be anything that brings you joy and happiness, no matter how big or small.
Dong this also forces you to think hard, preventing negative thoughts from creeping back in. In addition, I find the happiness that I get from thinking thoughts of gratitude really shifts my mindset into a positive one.
This sets me up nicely for when I complete the exercise. It is almost as if the gratitude erases the negative thoughts altogether.
I am sure many would debate as to whether or not this is indeed the most outstanding life hack. I would submit that it is, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Honestly, I really do not care either way, as long as it brings some sort of value to your life.
So the next time you are feeling depressed, negative or out of alignment, try this simple hack and see what happens!