It can feel hard to feel alone, especially in a busy and loud world filled with constant expressions of perceived “perfect” partnered lives. When it feels like everyone has someone and you are the only person who is alone, or who feels alone, this can be overwhelming, sad and even scary at times. However, being alone and feeling alone do not always align. Many people feel alone around people and some people who are alone, do not feel lonely. In this blog, I will talk about the magical science of neuroplasticity and how our capacity to feel good more often is a self fulfilling prophecy. It just takes some persistence and a willingness to try things that might not feel comfortable at first. I encourage you to join me in trying.


What is marinating in goodness?

I have not been able to get enough of Rick Hanson these days. He is a psychologist who works out of UC Berkeley and writes and researches all about how to be more happy and content with the lives we have. His methods are backed by science and funny enough, are many of the things I have been doing with clients for years. It is very validating. Not that what he offers is necessarily new, per say, but it is clear, concise and doable, which I love!

I have been using the phrase “marinating in goodness” with my clients for years and the way that I describe it is: allowing ourselves to soak in the good feelings that arise in us, no matter how small or large. Imagine a food item marinating in a yummy sauce and the depth of flavor slowly starting to take over the food. Now imagine your feeling of goodness soaking in to your body, your bones, your heart, your soul, slowly taking over and becoming the strongest flavor in your body. That is marinating in goodness!

I know for me, before I embraced this practice, I might not even notice when good feelings were upon me, or they would pass by so fast, replaced with busy thoughts about what I needed to do that day, or why I did not deserve to feel good, or have time to feel good.Or when someone complimented me, I would brush it off quickly, or find ways to deflect the compliment, minimizing its power.

Why should we do it?

The short answer is so that we can feel good, happy, joyful or content more of the time. According to neuroscience, Positive experiences generally have to be held in awareness for 5 – 10 – 20 seconds for them to register in emotional memory. In other words, we can train our brain to notice more of what feels good, then we feel good more! Negativity bias is real, but can be combatted with persistent and steady focus on good feelings. This is a positive vicious cycle, the more goodness we feel the more we CAN feel. It also builds a sense of confidence in yourself that YOU, yes YOU have the ability to make yourself feel good without some external factor like more money, a better house or a better relationship.

According to neuroscience, cultivating good feelings inside builds self confidence and resilience.


How to notice the goodness in your life, in 3 simple steps

I always suggest starting small and building upon it.

  1. Start with what you know. Bring to your mind 1-2 things that you feel good about in your life. That might be a personality trait, like the way you treat or interact with people or it could be praise that someone gave you or an accomplishment at work.If it feels too hard to personalize this at first, choose something external, like the feeling that being in nature gives you, or just looking at a pretty picture of something you love and sit in wonderment of its beauty.

  2. Allow yourself to fully welcome the feeling of goodness related to whichever topic makes you feel the most good. Allow it to settle in, to simply marinate. Feel it not just in your mind, but allow it into your heart, your body and your spirit. Feel the layers of goodness and allow it to steep and marinate. It can help to close your eyes and tune out any external stimulation while you do this.

  3. Repeat. Practice this at least once a day, minimum, but ideally multiple times a day until you are doing it without thinking. Notice yourself going from an urge to reject a compliment to accepting a compliment and feeling all its goodness as you receive it.Bathe in it. Marinate in it. Watch your capacity to feel good grow.

Once you get the hang of this, you may find yourself seeking more opportunities to feel good. This does not mean that hard things won’t happen, or that you should gloss over pain in your life. It just means you are creating space for more feelings of goodness. Working with a therapist can also support you in this process, as a guide and someone to talk through challenges that arise. Feel free to reach out to me, or another therapist, if that is calling you.

Remember, you are not alone. You have you.

With love,


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