I recently heard something pretty intriguing in a podcast. (Well, intriguing to me at least, but I’m also sort of a nerd!) Neuroscientists can now prove that anything negative, fearful, or hateful attaches to our minds like velcro but anything that’s positive, happy, joyful, or overflowing with gratitude slips away from our minds like slick teflon.
This explains a lot if you ask me. If the bad stuff sticks with us and the good stuff vanishes as quickly as it comes into our lives, it’s really no wonder we cling to the hurtful events, making it easier for those painful thoughts, fears, and memories to grow for days, weeks, months, or even years.
But there’s good news! (Phew!) According to the research, it is completely possible to have the beautiful moments imprint in our minds. It just takes some effort.
15 seconds of effort to be precise.
When there is a beautiful moment in our lives - an instant of love, happiness, delight, or wonder - we need to savor that moment for a full 15 seconds for it to stick. Which doesn’t sound like much, but really, when is the last time you soaked in the splendor of any moment for a full 15 seconds? And that’s not a rhetorical question, either. Seriously, when was it?
As I’ve pondered the research on the power of 15 seconds, I’ve realized it’s actually our natural inclination to savor the beautiful moments. Think about it: we linger over a beautiful sunset, gaze endlessly at a newborn baby, or sit around the table and talk with the people we love after a delicious meal for hours. Why do we do that? The deepest parts of our hearts already know the truth of the power of 15 seconds, but it’s something our minds have to be reminded of because our lives are so jam-packed and hurried.
Every day we have the choice to design a life of beautiful moments that will stick with us - a life filled with art, words, life-giving relationships, holy moments, sounds, tastes - you know, all the beautiful things and moments we put into our lives because our hearts KNOW we need them?
It turns out having them in our lives isn’t enough. We have to decide to intentionally love them. To sit in the present moment with them and let them fully imprint on our hearts.
For 15 whole seconds.
And in the grand scheme of things, 15 seconds isn’t much to ask of us at all, is it?