The resilience skill of Hunt the Good Stuff is a tool designed to counteract the negativity bias, enhance the resilience competency of optimism, and generate positive emotions such as gratitude.
Negativity bias is our natural tendency to focus on and hold on to the negative or bad aspects of things that occur in our lives.
An example of this could be you are awaiting test results from your doctor, and you receive a message from the doctor's office stating he/she needs to speak to you as soon as possible.
What would be your first thought?
If your first thought is "something is wrong" or something similar, you are not alone.
That is negativity bias at work.
Such counterproductive patterns of thinking can hinder one's performance.
Although the individual may accomplish the mission or "get results," did that individual perform as effectively and optimally as they could have if they had a more optimistic pattern of thinking?
Research shows that optimists live an average of nine years longer than pessimists.
I don't know about you but I'll take an additional nine years.
So how do I hunt the good stuff?
First, one must find a positive experience (good stuff).
A positive experience can be big or small, but it is up to the individual coming up with the positive experience to determine whether it is good or positive stuff.
Positive emotions are built in the second phase of finding the good stuff. This is the reflection on the positive experience.
Positive experience reflection
Reflecting on the positive experience or good stuff can be accomplished by asking yourself one of the following questions.
Why did this good thing happen?
What does this good thing mean to me?
What can I do tomorrow to enable more of this good thing?
What ways did I or others contribute to this good thing?
This is a very simple concept and sounds simple enough, but it takes practice to effectively achieve mastery of this skill.
It takes three positive experiences to counteract the effect of one negative experience.
Continually hunting for good throughout your day, as opposed to only waiting until the end of your day, is paramount.
It takes 30 consecutive days to make something a habit.
Take the challenge
I challenge you to take the skill on a test drive for 30 days and see if you notice any change.
Try it at home, work, with friends and Family. We all know things are always better when we have our battle buddies with us.
Some best practices for application of this skill include, but are not limited to, starting a "Hunt the Good Stuff" journal.
Select specified times throughout the day to hunt the good stuff and share those positive experiences with others who are hunting as well.
Reframe how you inquire about someone's day or experience (asking "What went right or your way today?" as opposed to "How was your day?")
We all have bad times.
Focusing on them can cause us to miss the positive experiences we aren't paying attention to.
(Editor's note: Robinson is the Fort Leonard Wood Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program manager. He can be contacted at 573.596.0131, ext. 67177.)