Is it possible that we hold more good within us than we think? Is it possible that our brains are inclined toward looking for negativity in life and breezing over those aspects that are positive? Most importantly, is it possible that with an awareness of how we are wired, we can transcend these conditionings and recognize more choice in life?

Walt Whitman said:

“I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.”

What distracts us from this goodness?

I like talking about this in the form of nutrition. The question is what nutrition are you feeding your mind?

  • News – Many of us spend lots of time watching the news which feeds us a disproportionate amount of stressful and negative information. What often happens is our nervous system perceives this stress as a threat and acts to avoid it and so we fall into zones of distraction or wasted attention in order to avoid these uncomfortable feelings. It’s good to be informed, but the way the news does this is often not healthy for our nervous systems and the amount we digest can also be unhealthy.
  • Popular Media – Popular media can also be bad nutrition.  From the time we are young we are fed the message that unless we look a certain way, act a certain way, and even eat a certain way we don’t belong.  We learn that what is most important is power and money, these two things lead to acceptance and security. What they often lead to for the majority of us is a sense of unworthiness that clouds over our natural goodness as human beings. There is a place for entertainment and learning in the popular media and these are good things, but we need to look at the subtle messages and see how much we’re digesting.
  • Friends and Family – You may or may not find this to make the list. The people we surround ourselves with can also be healthy or unhealthy. With people I work with I’ll sometimes have them draw a social map where they mark themselves and then note people who they spend most time with closest to them and fan those in their lives out from there. I then ask them to mark who in their life are most supportive to them. What often happens is the most supportive people are on the outskirts of the map and sometimes the unhealthiest people are close to them, meaning they’re spending most of their time with them. We work on changing the map so they’re spending more time with those that support their goodness.

Actual food, exercise and sleep play a role in the nutrition of our lives in lighting up the parts of our brain that get us in touch with our natural goodness. You know this because often they make us feel good.

What are things that get you in touch with your innate goodness in life?

Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction really does create a living wisdom that we all benefit from.



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 10 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

    Last reviewed: 29 Sep 2010

APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). What Distracts You from Your Goodness?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from


Mindfulness & Psychotherapy

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner



Books and CDs by Dr. Elisha Goldstein:
Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind

The Now Effect: How This Moment Can Change The Rest of Your Life
A Mindfulness-Based
Stress Reduction Workbook

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

Recent Comments
  • Kim Fredrickson, MFT: Thanks so much for all you have contributed in the area of self-compassion. I think that the...
  • jony: I m 26 years old girl. My childhood was very messy.tho i have my parents but i never lived with them. The...
  • Primus Hospital: I have enjoyed reading your blog. And am looking forward for more such blogs, Keep writing these...
  • John David Werner: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within...
  • Carol Cavanaugh: I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. One day out of the blue, I came across a video...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!