The Applied Neuroscience Institute

Home of the NeuroPositive Method™
The Neuroscience of the UpSpiral Of Emotion, Health & Optimal Living

Your Brain, Growing, Evolving…Or Not
The Higher Ground Of FLOW
The “Bullies” Of Our Emotional Playground
The “Pivot” To Positive Emotion
The Mask of Positive & Negative Emotion
Feeling Threat Or Safety?
Looking For “The One?”
The Brain’s “Bigger Picture”
Seeing Our Strengths As Our Values
Strengths: Your Inner “GPS”

Your Brain, Growing, Evolving…Or Not



Goals are the outward manifestation of our inward meaning-making system.

They are expressions of our own sense of personal significance.  They are signposts of personal development.

What we are wanting and desiring is directly linked to how we are “making meaning.”

Structures of reasoning in the brain, that are more highly developed expressions of consciousness, emerge as we are specific and intentional about our lives- at least they emerge much more quickly.

Every want and desire, every goal, fits a transition, a movement from a stage or a settling in to a new one.  It can also represent the deepening of a present one.

It is this business of desiring and attaching that moves us on and allows the developmental structures of reasoning to unfold.

The most exciting structures of reasoning aren’t even possible until after 45 or 50.

The Developmental Stages after 50 are not yet fully understood. But we know that they have to do with broadening of perception, as our brain continues to grow and evolve…or not.

We are designed to get the bigger picture in such a way that the depth at which we experience and appreciate life is greater, more expansive and more satisfying. Life is simply just richer because of our history and our story.

The great gift of aging is that it lets us apprehend life at a deeper level of appreciation and awe. Getting the bigger picture, which is really akin to wisdom, is the source of a great deal of peace and inner contentment and the key to a capacity to more greatly enjoy one’s own life.

But if we stop wanting and desiring, stop setting goals, and stop experiencing this broader and deeper learning, we interfere with the unfolding structure of the brain or the unfolding structures of “knowing.”

The extent of suffering and decline in the aging process is really a battle against greater and greater aliveness and a “sell out” to some idea that age means decline.

How many of the maladies in the second half of life are simply energy and aliveness that has nowhere to go except to create some illness or difficulty rather than continuing to grow?

We are living in an age that is reinventing the second half of life and growing beyond the fear of losing youth, but fear is always difficult to look in the eye in order to watch it wither.

What is giving you your meaning?

What are your goals?

Can you define them?

What is the source of your sense of personal significance?

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The Higher Ground Of FLOW


We have not been trained to go to the “higher ground” of our strengths, of feeling good, of living in an UpSpiral.

Where is the positive emotion?

Where is the positive thought?

What is the strength that works best?

What do I really want?

We are not trained to “go to the higher place.”

This is what will pry you loose from the judgment of the ego, which, in its appearance, is simply telling you to go “GHP.”

Your ego is hard at work keeping you just exactly where you are. It doesn’t like to attach to new things.  Your ego holds you to your associations with your old strengths. You play to your strengths or you play to your weaknesses.

Judging is a way of playing to your old strengths to keep yourself fixed where you are and so that you do not have to face change in your life.  It creates a stagnant, fixed life given to DownSpiral movement.  This is the kind of judging that has a negative emotional content to it.  It’s about the people you react to, don’t like, bother you, irritate and rub you the wrong way.

The negative that you see in another person, that also produces with it a negative reaction in yourself, is judgment.  It is also projection.

What you project is something within yourself that you have not come to accept and grow through.

Judging causes you to play to your weaknesses because you have to be coming from a weakness in order to get this “judging” thing going.

What you don’t like in another person that bothers you emotionally is what exists on the inside of you in some fashion or another.  It is a key to your greater inner freedom.

We are creating a new mythology, and it is not characterized by “living in the now.”   That is just the best present cultural solution we can accept.

It is characterized by finding your autotelic center that generates your personal sense of discovery and satisfaction.

It is the core of “flow.”

There is no dragon to slay on the way to “manhood” or enlightenment.

There is, however, the way to the permission-giving center which allows us to experience pleasure and novelty.

“Flow” is a description of one aspect of this new mythology of the essential journey.

Pay close attention to those places where the ego is raising a fuss.

It’s goal of course is to get you to go to a weakness, to become frustrated and oppressed.

However, it is also a laser pointer to GHP.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The “Bullies” Of Our Emotional Playground


Angry twenty something couple yelling at each other

Negative hits of emotion are stronger than positive ones.

This is because negative emotions have usually followed strong negative events, and we learn them more deeply and quickly – the impact in the moment is felt more strongly.

But- and this is a big “but”- negative feelings have less impact and you feel them for a shorter period of time when you have a reservoir of positive feelings. Negative hits do just that- they “hit” in a way that knocks the emotional air out of us. They are quick or they are sudden, and then they grow.

They are the bullies in your emotional playground.

Depending upon the degree of the threat which the negative represents, the hit varies, but negative emotion is stronger in its immediacy than is positive feeling because it is an alarm system. But this alarm system goes off too much and it’s too loud.

Everything is not a tiger or a truck headed in our direction.

A negative emotion screams at us, “learn this now, this is very, very important,” and we do it.

Negative emotion is very linear. However, here is the good news. Positive feeling is nonlinear. That means that the more your reservoir of emotion is filled with the positive, the more readily it will appear, especially when you need it. You can draw on positive experiences and emotions forever, if you will choose to do it.

If you will make positive feelings a low grade, chronic, ambient background, a sound track of your life, it will take over the negative more quickly and the negative will last less and less time.

Think of those times when a negative thought, feeling, or reaction was something that hung around all day long until you slept it off. The antidote to the toxin of negative feeling and thoughts that are unwanted, and the “hit” they seem to give us out of nowhere, is to practice positive feelings.

Rehearse them, live in them, say them, think them, journal them.

Make a list everyday of what you’re grateful for. You don’t have to produce a big load of positivity here. You’re not being asked to be so cheery and bubbly and always so perky that someone would like to stick a cork in your mouth.

As you experience increasing positivity, you are changing, through the neuroplasticity of your brain, how your brain is wired, and establishing the reality of your own neuropositivity. New circuits of learning and being are being built as you do this.

You are tipping an inner scale, something like an inner teeter-totter, and instead of going up and down, you are moving the fulcrum of the teeter-totter so that the emotions with the most weight are positive.

There is NOTHING in your life that doing this won’t affect.

When you get to a positive place, you are much more capable of figuring out what the negative feelings are about, and what to do with them.

You never solve the negatives from a negative place.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The “Pivot” To Positive Emotion

brain-harmony2Learning to grow a more positive mind is a process.

You are beginning to tell your brain to spend more time feeling positive emotion than negative emotion. Your brain will resist you until neuropositivity has built new neuropathways that are more in charge than the old, negative ones.

This is the activity of brain neuroplasticity.

This can sound like a simple denial of negative emotion. We have been taught that we must “air” negative feelings, that they are dangerous if they are internalized and repressed. While it isn’t true that we have to air every negative feeling or thought, what is important is acknowledging them for whatever feedback or information they give.

There is a difference between ignoring negative feelings and not staying in them longer than necessary and becoming stuck in them. If negative feelings are, in part, mechanisms of feedback, let them tell you what they have to tell you, and then use them as a cue to pivot to a positive emotion.

You can’t solve a problem from a negative place, the level at which the problem was created,  so get to a positive place and then deal with the negative situation.

However, it is important to realize that emotions are more than just a feedback mechanism to tell us that something is good or bad. Emotions are what we live in throughout the day.

For many, negative emotion is where they live, along with their mental disorders that surely take up residence in that DownSpiral life style.

Negative emotions are, for sure, an alerting system to get us to move.

However, we don’t have to stay in the negative emotion for it to do its job. Some negative emotion is simply a learned cycle of negativity with an addictive payoff at the end. Most addictions are couched in negative cycles of emotion.

Once again, you can have a negative feeling, acknowledge it, but you don’t have to live there.

Make a choice to live in positive emotions where you can find the solutions to the negative issues.

Your creativity,  your State Of Mind of greater harmony and peace, fueled by your strengths, exist in the positive emotions of the UpSpiral.

Negative emotion, then, becomes our cue to go to the Emotional Gym and to begin pulsing love, peace, gratitude, joy, or hope. In the face of a problem or negativity, you are exercising a whole other part of your brain as you begin to make this pivot.

You are moving from the automatic, negative, fear reactive territory of the brain to another place in the brain, that allows you to feel differently, and then to behave differently.

Your response can become less automatic and more effectively positive because you will be coming from a place in your brain where you can exercise more control over your emotions.

Where do you live in your emotions?

Where you live emotionally defines who you are.






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© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The Mask of Positive & Negative Emotion

Masks Emotion


Life in the UpSpiral…

That’s when we are most creative, most open to new ideas, and most in touch with and using our strengths to create.

We are only transformative in a sustained UpSpiral.

There is a genius in everyone if you identify your strengths and if you will maintain a conscious “weightiness” of greater positivity than negativity in your life.

Think about it.

Your goal is to LIVE YOUR SKEWED, WEIGHTED MORE TOWARD THE POSITIVE THAN THE NEGATIVE. That unleashes the genius in you and you begin to discover the zone of the “super you”.

You dream of it, why not do it?

Why not begin to build your brain in that direction? Everyone can, given the decision to do so.

Find your good and increase it by putting your energy there. Spend as little time as possible correcting weaknesses that will self-correct as you increase your good.

Most people spend most of their time going up and down from a little of an UpSpiral to a more and more DownSpiraling until that they have little hope and are satisfied with the status quo. Then the rest of life is spent wringing small amounts of pleasure out of the same old, same old.

It’s like having 800 stations on cable television and not really being interested in any of them.

Or it’s like living your life through the players on Monday night football because you can’t play your own game yourself. Are you satisfied with that, or does the booze just make it tolerable while you convince yourself you’re having a really great time?

Trying to convince yourself that life is really fulfilling when your gut tells you a different story is like choosing an “emotional mask” for the day, trying to convince yourself that it’s really you. Is it really news to you that this masquerade won’t transform your life but has the potential to send your farther down the Spiral?

Transformation happens when we are intensely “in our own skin”, living our own unique journey for the results we want in our lives.

From their success at it, those who have learned and practiced our work in NeuroPositivity know that there really is something to this business of remaining in and sustaining an UpSpiral. The ability to differentiate between UpSpiral living and DownSpiral living gradually became clearer and clearer.

In some cases they changed friends and surroundings, and they certainly became clearer about what they watched, listened to, and engaged in.

They became much more selective about what they wanted to feed their brain. Their brain food came under scrutiny. They moved from things that were unnecessarily negative, melancholy, and victim-supporting, to the things that feed a positive mind with new images, ideas, experiences, and even music.

Just naturally, they began to move away from things that were not UpSpiral things for the Mind and the brain; just look at the current negative media “loop of doom.”

They had long suspected that a persistent diet of negative news was not doing them much good, but they were convinced that they had to stay “informed.”  It was instead conditioning them to believe that it represented our world.

It may even be a little hard to believe that everyone doesn’t just “get” living in an UpSpiral. It seems to be such good common sense, even though you know better than that.

Isn’t it incredible that at this point, most all of your life has been spent somewhere in the UpSpiral, and comparatively little in the DownSpiral?

We wish it for everyone. We want it for those we love, and we’re even willing to do what it takes to help others to have the experience, or rather their experience, of what this journey is like.

NeuroPositivity is ready to fill a vacuum of emptiness or loneliness.

Do the work, and the “work will work for you.”






CALL US FOR MORE INFO @ (760) 636-1400



© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Feeling Threat Or Safety?

Threat Ahead

We are on the side of history that studies the light-seeking, positive orientation of the Mind upon its servant, the brain.

We are traveling on this NeuroPositive, growth-evoking, light-seeking journey.

This shift to the knowledge and practice of NeuroPositivity is part of the shift of consciousness of the planet.

What is positive and good is everywhere, but it requires a lens. That lens is to see what is negative as a departure from the norm, and not the rule that determines our life and well-being.

What’s your lens?

Do you want to make yourself feel “threat” or “safety”?

Right now your heart is beating in a way that is signaling to your body that you are either safe or feeling threat.

Which is it for you?

It is entirely possible to be in threat when there is no real threat at all; we just think the negative thoughts that put us in threat.

In SAFETY your parasympathetic systems has you at rest, restoring you, healing you, building up your resilient reserves.

In threat, your sympathetic system is arousing the hormones of defense and flight and flight.

Your brain can be caught up in that process.

The negative has us fooled. We are seekers of light.

That is the choice: calm/connect or fight/flight?

Which describes you?

It is not a requirement to exhaust the lens of the negative before you can pick up the positive lens.

It is a more educated choice in the direction of the nature of being itself, but you may have to turn off the television, stop negative conversation and gossip, and generally be much more selective about what you take in, to claim the lens.

We can change our world of “threat” by our perceived notion that someone is getting ahead of us by checking our own need to worry about getting behind, losing time, having to hurry, running out of time, not getting everything done, and just letting it go.

The right side of history is the way the river is flowing, and that is in the direction and with the force of NeuroPositivty: well-being, improved health, thriving relationships, a deeper sense of meaning and personal significance, and increasing longevity.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 


Looking For “The One?”

Right One

There is within us this search for unity, wholeness, and oneness.

We are always being drawn to it, and the more separated we are from ourselves and others and from this ultimate source of unity, the more discontent and out of our own skins we are.

We are drawn, as if to a magnet to Oneness and Unity. But how to get there?

As simple as it is, our state of mind can take us there by plugging us in to this sense of unity. When you practice our Emotional Gym, especially the exercise of pulsing, you are going to be headed in that direction.

Even in the beginning, when it seems that you can’t even feel the feelings of love, peace, gratitude and joy and you can only think them, the contrast of that experience causes you to look at how your thinking or your behavior needs to alter, usually just a little at a time.

By no means do we have to be in a perfect place to feel any of these emotions. They will come just by wanting them and they will increase over time. You do not have to be whole or well or complete to get them. These feelings are at your finger tips and they are there for you all the time, even in the midst of loss and difficulty. They are present and possible even in pain.

Positive emotions like joy and love lead to a sense of unity. In the face of anything, you can have them. In the midst of suffering, you may be only able to think them, but by wanting them, they come. Begin by pulsing them on a scale of 1-10. “1” is a little bit of them and “10” is a great amount. It is not great amounts of them that matter; it is small amounts of them over time that matter.

Feelings are the great revealers of truth. That is why we spend so much time sitting on them and hiding them and betraying them. That’s why we dump drugs and alcohol on them, so we don’t have to feel them and listen to the messages they want to give us. They tell us what we are thinking or how our thinking and perception are conflicted.

It is not that our little, everyday feelings are magnets that bring everything to us that is just like them. Rather, it is the patterns of emotions and the predominant emotions that get conditioned in over time that attract to our lives what we experience.

You get what you largely feel because you are in the process, in your own unique way, of creating it.

You can feel the positive emotions of life, even in sorrow and unknowing. And as you practice them and build them into your life, they come to you from within when you need them, without calling on them, and often when you least expect them.

Peace, love, gratitude, joy and hope indeed are, with certitude, yours.






CALL US FOR MORE INFO @ (760) 636-1400



© Dr. William K. Larkin 

The Brain’s “Bigger Picture”

Bigger Picture

Which Brain Part Do You Start With?

Or restated in a different way: don’t start with the “how,” start with the “what.” Many folks do visioning and problem-solving by having some vague notion of what they want, and then drum and drum the “how” to get there.

They start with the right hemisphere, to a small degree, and then go the left hemisphere and work it and work it and work it until they are frustrated, angry, anxious and spent.

Your right hemisphere is the largest structure of your brain. Its computing capabilities are so enormous that scientists have been staggered by its power. Its function is to get the bigger picture, to see the whole of the vision and it is the integrative, “put it all together” coordinator of the brain.

If you have an addiction problem with alcohol or drugs or other things that work like drugs on the brain, it is the right hemisphere that becomes impaired. That is why addicts have trouble getting the whole picture. The good news is that this part of the brain will recover with about 3 years of sobriety.

The right hemisphere, if you will use it, will not only give you the bigger picture; it will help you image and create this larger vision in such a way that the rest of the brain will follow and cooperate in creating the vision.

The rest of the brain will follow in filling in the pieces (the how) in a pretty effortless fashion. The right hemisphere is something like a magnet or attractor of the whole vision, and focuses all of the brain in that direction.

The left hemisphere is the detail oriented, problem-solving work horse of the brain. It is very busy keeping things organized and in place. It works on the pieces and parts of a vision. It is the detail keeper and works on specific tasks.

However, if you start with the left hemisphere, before the right hemisphere has done its work of integration, you get confusion, frustration, worry, impatience, downspiraling, and fatigue because its efforts have not experienced the integrative function that the right hemisphere provides.

So, step back, disengage, meditate, day-dream, doodle, outline, and relax. Don’t try to get the whole picture in a day, although that can happen.

Work with the idea of engaging the right hemisphere and getting the bigger picture. Tell the brain that’s what you want to do.

See anxiety, fear, and fatigue as signs to rest and take time to get this bigger picture.

Use the Emotional Gym and pulse, love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope. All of these emotions are generated by the integrative processing of the right hemisphere.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Seeing Our Strengths As Our Values


Our signature strengths, the top five big ones that we can test to identify, are expressed as values.

What a concept.

Let’s think about values.

They are standards or guides to how we are most who we are. When we live most consistently aligned to our values, a way of life that is most expressive of our true nature is formed.

Strengths seen as values are our “compass.”

Our valuing takes the form of these strengths as one of the strongest indicators and answer to the question, “Who am I?” I have never heard a person who has found out what their strengths are ever ask, “Who am I?”

They know.

Take any problem you think you have and talk to your strengths. Yes, have a dialogue with one or more of your strengths. Ask of it, “with this or that in my life, how do I apply this strength? What does this strength have to tell me, teach me?”

How have I created my world from this strength that is also a value? And where in my world am I furthest from its expression or truth?

Where you are closest, you will be happiest, most content and grounded in easy joy. Where you are far enough a way from this strength, you will find how you devalue yourself and your life and live in a disembodied and compromised life. It will usually be experienced as anxiety and depression.

The fundamental expression of a strength as a life value is as a lens to filter out what doesn’t fit and the delusion that allows it to remain.

Our strengths seek the restoration of the truth of who we are and provides the joy that results. It restores our presence to ourselves and to others.

As you dialog with your strengths, can you hear this message…?

“I fill my shoes and they are solid to the ground, my gait is centered with my posture and it is sure. I am firm footed. I sit in my seat, I fit and I am there, present. I am a part of the beauty and excellence I see accurately around me.”

I am learning to embody my strengths, to go beyond an intellectualized understanding of what they are, and to live in them, with clarity and connectedness I can feel.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Strengths: Your Inner “GPS”

Strengths Blue

Strengths are also called virtues and values because of their fundamental importance.

They are your ways of “being” who you really are.

These superhighways of neuropathways are unique to you and they are the only ones that you can travel and be who you really are. Your values, as your strengths, are who you are.

Get off the highway and some voice within you, first of all your feelings, will start to give you messages that you need to change your direction, make a turn, take the next exit and go back, just as surely as the GPS system in your car won’t give up until you’re on your chosen route.

The greater your alignment, your consistency and your focus is on your strengths, the more in alignment with your Real Self you are going to feel.

You will feel more in sync, more in control, more in harmony, more like you are “in your own skin”.

It is when we play to our weaknesses that we begin to feel “out of sync”, disconnected, out of alignment, anxious, frustrated, and in a state of discord.

The more you use your strengths, that are also your basic values and virtues, the happier you will be.

Your strengths are in fact the GPS of your life if you know them and allow yourself to use them.

Restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled and out of your own skin; these are the word that describe us when we are not playing to our strengths. They are the things we experience when we are playing to our weaknesses.

We you know your strengths (because they have been scientifically tested) it’s easier to play to your strengths so long as you stay in an UpSpiral.

In a DownSpiral or when we are down spiraling, we will not play to our strengths, but rather to their opposites, which are our weaknesses or our character defects.

The opposites of our strengths are wonderful things because they warn us by feeling restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled, bored, irritable, and frustrated.

The more we play to our weaknesses, the worse these things get

It is amazing that we think so little about using our strengths when we are DownSpiraling. They are just not in our focus. That’s because the DownSpiral is characterized most by narrowing, but it starts by questioning and doubting yourself.

Go down a negative path with a particular negative thought, and it’s very much like going from a “1” or a “2” to a “10”.

From doubting just a little, in a few short minutes, you doubt where you live, where you work, who you love, and why you’re doing anything you’re doing. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but you can identify.

Then there comes the sense that things are beginning to get on top of you –that there is just too much to deal with. That is followed by the sense that you can’t make sense out of things –they just don’t seem to fit together in one way or another.

The DownSpiral shuts you off from your repertoire of strengths, options and abilities, it shuts you off from faith, it shuts you off from doing the very things that keep you in an UpSpiral and gets you to question whether they work or not.

When, in fact, if you were doing the things that worked to stay in an UpSpiral, you wouldn’t be headed into a DownSpiral.

Your strengths are one of your best guides to recognizing and deepening the UpSpiral of your life.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute