Why do I curate Karen Salmansohn’s [@notsalmon] ‘pattern interrupt’ posters so often?

Because they make me happy, plain and simple, and remind me of positive values. A mentor of mine once told me ‘never confuse the artist with the art’. In this case, however, it does not apply! Karen Salmansohn has mastered the art of pattern interrupts — positive flashcards — to remind me of what is truly important. Read her thoughts on her craft here:

I believe that my posters work to inspire people to feel happier because they create what’s called “A Pattern Interrupt” – which is a proven psychological tool, recommended by practitioners of Neural Linguistic Programming, to help stop limiting beliefs. If you saw the movie Shallow Hal, then you saw a Pattern Interrupt in action in that elevator scene – albeit a humorously reenacted example of a Pattern Interrupt.

If you haven’t seen Shallow Hal, here’s a quickie synopsis: Tony and Jack get trapped in an elevator, and begin to talk about dating. Tony speedily discovers that Jack’s character engages in a limited thought pattern – stubbornly only dating stunning women for shallow reasons. Tony helps Jack to break his superficial thought pattern by surprising Jack with a clunk on his head – then shouting “Devils come out!” Sure enough, instantly a new mental window opens for Jack. He is now able to think about dating with a less shallow lens.

Other known methods for Pattern Interrupts have included: snapping a rubber band on your wrist, playing powerful music, being hit with unexpected comic relief, doing calming meditations, repeating positive affirmations – and reading an INSTANT HAPPY premium wall graphic! All these various Pattern Interrupts work like a “Thought Intervention” – creating a jiggling affect upon a person’s tightly held negative beliefs – then jumpstarting a new positive pattern of thought.

A Pattern Interrupt works in real life like this: Let’s say an event happens which puts you in a grumpy mood. If you’re not careful, your negative thoughts about this one solo circumstance can create a downward spiral, where you quickly go from merely thinking THIS ONE THING SUCKS to MY WHOLE DAY SUCKS to MY WHOLE LIFE SUCKS to THE WORLD SUCKS to DISTANT GALAXIES SUCK! Basically, without a Pattern Interrupt, a sad person can get grumpier, and an angry person can get grumblier!

There’s a famous Albert Einstein quote: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Well, Albert’s philosophy is a good explanation for why a Pattern Interrupt can snap you out of a negative thought loop. A Pattern Interrupt literally changes your brain’s energy state.

Here’s the neuroscientific scoop: MRI’s of the brain show that every time a person thinks angry thoughts or imagines worst-case scenarios, they literally send a surge of blood flowing into brain regions associated with depression and anger (the right prefrontal cortex) – thereby refueling depression and anger. Happily, MRI’s have also shown that when a person starts to think happy thoughts, they can send a surge of blood flowing into brain regions associated with happiness (the left prefrontal cortex) – thereby literally refueling your positivity.

Plus, recent studies on learning show that when you incorporate visuals into your learning process, you can better “record” a message into your permanent memory bank.

More of the neuroscientific scoop: When you put words within pictures, your brain immediately perks up in an effort to make sense of how/why these words relate to the picture – thereby stimulating more neuron activity. The more neurons you have firing up, the greater the chance that your brain is paying attention and recording what it is perceiving. This is why using flashcards with pictures help people to learn info better! Similarly, my INSTANT HAPPY posters work like Inspirational Flashcards – reminding you with a playful combo of stylish pictures and feisty words how best to live your happiest life!

I’ve joked in today’s uber-busy, espresso-chugging, hyper-active world, it’s often hard to find time to read an inspirational book – but – you always have time to read a poster.

Except, well, I’m not simply joking!” via Artwork – Karen Salmansohn.

Click here to admire my collection…

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