There are many things that may give you bad vibes on a daily basis: from the cab driver who didn’t return your change to the rude lady who pushed you out of the elevator. But aside from reading quotes and memes on your Facebook feed, there’s actually a scientific-based way to help you change your mood--and that’s through the Tetris Effect.

Remember that old game wherein you need to arrange randomly falling shapes into lines in order to cancel them out? According to Lifehacker, long after you’ve quit the game, your brain continues to play it. Curious about this phenomenon, Harvard psychiatry professor Robert Stickgold had a group of college students play Tetris prior to sleeping, and found that more than 60 percent of the volunteers had dreams of playing Tetris. Interestingly, a greater number of dreamers were new to the game.

This occurrence seems to be the brain’s way of learning and mastering the concept of Tetris, as previous studies have proved that when you learn something new, the brain creates new neural connections, which activate faster as you master the skill overtime. The activity later on becomes automatic.

So what does this have to do with dealing with a bad day? Author Shawn Achor explains that this sort of brain rewiring works not only on certain skillsets, but also on attitudes. In his book The Happiness Advantage, he identifies the act of being conscious of your thoughts and shifting them from negative to positive as “The Positive Tetris Effect.” Doing this constantly helps the brain learn it as it would learn a new ability, activating synapses faster and faster until you automatically channel positive thoughts even amidst an environment of bad vibes.

Yet it takes more than just thinking positively to form the habit--you may need to take action to have your brain learn it faster. At the end of your day, try thinking of three to five positive things that happened to you, and don’t say that there weren’t any! It can be anything from having a great lunch to managing to finish your photocopies before the machine ran out of toner. Take it a notch higher by spreading the love and complimenting your teammate on a job well done or by surprising your man by not working overtime and cooking him dinner. It may seem awkward at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you even bothered with all the negativity in the first place.

(Photo by Conor Lawless via Flickr Creative Commons)

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