Hack This Psychological Response To Get More Of What You Crave

happiness hack

Have you ever noticed that when you decide you want a specific thing — a new car, a designer bag — you start to see one on every corner or over every shoulder? Suddenly, no matter where you look, hard top Jeeps and soft leather cross-body bags with a Kate Spade logo litter the landscape. The same anomaly occurs when you learn a new concept. For example, within 72 hours of showing my friend ASMR videos (of which she had no idea existed), she received multiple emails on the topic in her work inbox. It feels like some sort of cosmic voodoo, but it’s not.

Officially, it’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, although in 2006 the term “frequency illusion” was coined, which is much easier to say. So thank you, Arnold Zwicky, for doing us a solid on that one. Here’s how is works:

Selective attention kicks in when you’re struck by a new word, thing, or idea; after that, you unconsciously keep an eye out for it, and as a result find it surprisingly often.

Then comes confirmation bias, which reassures you that each sighting is further proof of your impression that the thing has gained overnight omnipresence. (Pacific Standard Magazine)

The bottom line: the degree to which the new item/word/concept previously existed hasn’t increased, only your awareness of it has. Up until now, you’ve been filtering that info as non-necessary. But instead of being a bystander of frequency illusion, why not use it to your advantage?

You can hack this psychological response to call in more of what you want in your life, you just have to be intentional about raising your awareness. If you’ve been overlooking dream cars and whisper videos and luxury tote bags until they made their way into your field of awareness, think of all the joy, love, health, wealth, adventure, and opportunity sitting right under your nose that you’re missing out on every day simply because you aren’t paying attention.

I’ve used this technique and I’m telling you, not only does it work, it is a very blissful rabbit hole to wander down. Once you decide you want to experience or have more of something and start to generate more focus on that thing, you begin to realize how much of it has been available to you all along. For example, I used this process with money when I was feeling a little tight on cash. I told myself there was money all around me and decided I was going to joyfully anticipate discovering it around every corner. Little by little I was finding loose quarters in random drawers and a few dollar bills in an old purse I hadn’t used in months. Each time I stumbled upon some money, I made a point to say, “thank you,” and celebrate for a minute. Money really was all around me after all. And more and more started to show up in unpredictable ways.

This is a good place to point out two key aspects to this hack:

1. Don’t turn your nose up at the small stuff. All the little things accumulate and become something big.

2. Acknowledge the wonderful thing when you see it. Name it and be grateful.

Appreciating each little drip drop of the good things that come your way shows you all the places the thing you desire is hiding. This hack is also how I started to discover that there was a plethora of marvelous things occurring throughout my day that I was casually ignoring. Just the other day all these marvelous things happened: I was given a discount on overnight oats at my local juice place, I was able to spend some extra time with my kids, I witnessed someone release very heavy emotions in a Reiki session, and was surprised with a dessert from one of my fave restaurants by my husband. All sublime happenings to marvel at, and as I experienced each one I said to myself, What a wonderful thing! Thank you.

Since I’ve begun doing this, the frequency illusion has become a frequency reality for me. A good chunk of this post was written at a trampoline park, where droves of young ones were bouncing and laughing and flopping about — and shamelessly luxuriating in pure joy. And as a witness, I was bombarded by joy also. So I named it and was grateful. Grateful to feel joyful by proxy and grateful to have the acknowledgement of these moments in my awareness. Had I not been tuned into this way of thinking, I would have filtered all the squeals and giggles as background noise as I worked.

So ask yourself what you’re craving more of these days. Then set an intention to bring more of it into your awareness. Make mental notes and thank whatever it is for showing up. Then sit back and watch as more and more appears.