Archive - March 2013

You Can Command A Feeling
The “Chaos” Of NeuroPositivity
How Negative Do You Want To Be?
In “The Zone” With Your Strengths

You Can Command A Feeling

Feelings are not just an internal thermometer giving you a read on the state of your mood, no more than thoughts are an indicator of your state of mind.  They can be an indicator (even a bad indicator), but they are also much, much more.

If you are not directing your thinking, your brain can take you to any of hundreds of places you’d rather not go, and to places you don’t belong.

The same is true of your feeling state.  Your brain will take you in a thousand feeling and mood directions if you let it go there.  Just because you feel a thing doesn’t make it true or right or morally good. 

Emotional reasoning is a negative way of seeing the world based on feelings that are inaccurate readings of what is true.

Internal feelings can be highly erratic.  They may be indicative of inner states if we learn to listen to some of them (without discernment and consideration, feelings can be deceptive measures), and they can be as directed as the state and strength of your physical muscles.

Peace, for example, is a feeling you can feel not because it indicates an inner state that you have come to possess, but because you have learned to be agile and because you have developed some skill and practice in having this feeling.

Think about it. We like to believe that we can feel “love” when we choose to.  Actually love is the hardest of feelings to feel.  It takes a lot to pull a little bit of love out of people who don’t want to feel it.

Ultimately, love is connected to all of the feeling states like peace, joy, hope and gratitude.  They are all of one nature and they each pull on the other.  Love can be more stubborn and resistant to our command of it because we can be afraid or because we just don’t want to make connections.

If you can train your thoughts, you can train your feelings.

We just never think about training our feelings.

Your feelings are “you.” You live where your feelings are.  We describe our lives to ourselves and to others in terms of what we are feeling.  How many times do you ask someone how they are feeling and how many times are you asked, “How do you feel?”

Oftentimes we are asked, “How are you today?” and the intent behind the question is asking how we are feeling.

Try finding three cues to use to feel peace several dozen times a day.  For example, right now, three of my cues are:

1. Turning off a light.
2. A red traffic light where I have to stop and wait.
3. Every time I see a picture of food.

I have reasons for each of these cues.  I want to condition in a response of peace to save energy.  I want to turn a period of unrest, like a red light, and the agitated waiting for it to turn, into a positive, and I want to feel peace and not anxiety or desire every time I see food.  I want more emotional control over what I feel when I see food.

But even more basic than these reasons is that I want “peace” to be at my disposal and for my use when I want to feel it.  I want to be able to get to peace immediately.  I want that kind of emotional muscle.  Zap!  Feel it. I want to be there.

On a scale of 1-10, I am not always able nor do I desire to be at 10 (the max on my scale).  Sometimes I want just enough peace to calm down and not respond erratically to a situation.  Sometimes I have had an uncomfortable thought and I just want to calm down.  Sometimes peace at a “3” will do.

But I can have much more command over this feeling state than I used to think was possible.  I don’t have to meditate myself there from a lotus position. I can though, on command, and so can you with some practice.

It is part of our Emotional Gym.

Our next NeuroPositive Life Course begins in April

Join us in a new world of emotional and mood management.


The “Chaos” Of NeuroPositivity

Knowing what you want can be a difficult proposition.  It can get more difficult the more money you have.  People who have enough money to get most of whatever they want have a more difficult time of naming what they want. It is also true that our desire and wanting trick us, except in one important circumstance.  That circumstance is a high level of psychological capital.

If you are accustomed to a state of flow in your life, pay great attention to the research of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Life is about as interesting as the amount of chaos and differentiation we allow into our world. It is probably obvious that the use of the word “chaos” is not intended within its usual context. Chaos here doesn’t necessarily mean chaotic in the sense of everything out of order and gone awry.

Here it means the ability to allow and tolerate in our lives wider and wider, larger and larger spaces of things and ideas that are different, and which on the surface don’t seem to make sense, but actually do.

Chaos “theory” refers to how random a system can be and how full it can be of different ideas, notions, facets, and particularly of novelty. Chaos here is the potential to allow novelty, newness ordifferentness. It is the capacity to tolerate and allow “otherness” and diversity in our lives.

Too little chaos or differentiation in a system means that things get boring because the same old, same old keeps showing up. Here’s the main theme: the higher your VibeCore, the greater the “flow” in life, and the greater the “flow,” the greater the novelty and differentiation.

The experience of the brain on flow is an increase in “psychological capital.”  What that means is that you are reducing the amount of psychic energy used to do a task and adding to the scope of the connectedness of your neurons.  Things are knitting together in new ways in your brain.  When they continue to knit together in new ways (interneuronal association), intelligence increases.  You are increasing the positive reserves of the brain on every level when you experience flow.

Put differently, when you know what you want, believe you’re going to get it, and are open to all the ways it can happen, or at least on the way to this, you’re beginning to experience “flow” in life. This is what we call your “VibeCore.”  You begin to be cool or easy with a way of life that is one with the music –things seem to be more of a whole. When that happens over time you are going to find that there is more chaos, in terms of novelty and diversity in your life.

You will also experience or try to experience greater differentiation. However, allowing chaos (novelty) and differentiation in your life is not always an easy thing.

The better you are at your VibeCore, the easier it will be. The more accustomed to a high VibeCore you become, the more you will be capable of increasing novelty and differentiation. The more difficult this is for you, the “tighter” and narrower you are.

Flow is the opposite of wet-blanket thinking.  In fact, it lifts the blanket and new possibilities begin to more freely emerge. How do you get someone in touch with what they want?  Get them to experience and build flow into their lives.

Flow is expansive and, by its nature, broadens the brain and life.  Flow creates higher and higher levels of intelligence.  It gets the neurons in the brain talking to each other.  It creates inter-connectivity of neuropathways and affects the very structures of reasoning in the brain that are the neural templates for what is possible.

How Negative Do You Want To Be?

Just how much is necessary?

As the research on positivity continues to unfold enormously empowering results and indications for breaking new territory in health and education, so too has a kind of backlash wanting to protect this sanctity of negativity.

Many would say that negativity is necessary.  It sustains billion dollar industries of “fixing,” punishing, and correcting many. 

Some even fear getting “too happy or too positive” or think that you are too much on the road to resolution or something you have missed might come back to bite you. 

We have heard so much about karma.  One would think that we are tired enough of the notion that karma is always following us around, ready to get us back when we least expect it.

Ying and yang is far over-rated.  Opposites may attract but they don’t last.  82% of the longest relationships, highest in life satisfaction and well-being, are “strengths similar.”  How much suffering do you need to REALLY feel joy?  How much misery do you need to write a sexy, loving, and romantic novel of real and simple love? 

Love is love and we don’t have to be miserable to know the real thing when it comes.  Joy is joy and it is an intrinsic part of the nature of how we are created; it is a state of mind that exists within us, not dependent upon how much suffering we have experienced.

We are a co-dependent, “fixing” society because we have grown up and evolved from cultures of “fixing” problems and “watching out for the tiger or the devil.”  We have evolved from the limbic brain of “fight-flight.” 

But what we have not taken nearly as much into account, in all our fixing and healing, is that the brain has evolved for millions of years in a structure the also has a “calm and connect” response that works altogether differently.  It feeds on positivity, it enlarges and expands and passes over and through all kinds of negativity by taking a higher road of behaving differently in the brain.

But really, a more basic question has to be asked.  How much negativity do you want?  If it is necessary, and it is appropriate to some situations, how much do you want?  How much negativity do you believe is necessary in your life to “think critically” as opposed to finding out what you’re real strengths are and using them positively?  How much suffering do you want?  How much do you believe you should suffer when someone dies?  How much do you want to suffer if you lose your house? How much negativity do you think serves the situation when life deals you a blow that is unexpected?

I am sure that you are thinking about all of those negative situations in your life that you had to go through in order to learn.   I had to go through several of them, not because negativity was such a good thing but because I was “thick”. 

How much daily negativity and aggravation is necessary with a difficult situation?  What serves you?  How much do you need, do you think?   How much serves you well?

Instead of treating emotions simply as though they are “given,” consider this.  You have much more control of your emotions, their occurrence, their amount, and their duration than you are probably willing to admit.  Your emotions don’t simply trigger themselves to a certain point absent of your cooperation with them. What is much more true about feelings is that we aren’t nearly so good about feeling them.  We talk about feelings and we throw around ideas and thoughts about feelings, but we don’t really feel them.  

Feeling negative feelings gives us a better indication of how we wanted them to hang around.  Instead we talk about “why” we feel what we think we feel.  We talk about who or what is to blame.   

Feel your negative feelings and decide how long you want to stay in them especially when more positive feelings, over which you have great control, offer the creative ways to the solutions that open new doors and move your life along.

Any time you say, I feel “that” I am sad, know that anything that follows the word “that” after the word “feel” is not a feeling, it’s a judgment and you are in your intellectualizing thoughts, not your feelings.  Feelings are simple, when they are genuinely felt.  Feelings are a single word, or a simile, or a metaphor; they are not long discourses and stories about what is upsetting you.   When you start feeling your negative feelings, decide how much of them you want and how long you want to have them.  Do they serve you?  How?  How much and for how long?

One more question.  When resolution of an issue comes, when there is a solution and path to take, a next right step, does that come from the negative emotion or does it come when you get the negatives out of the way?

In “The Zone” With Your Strengths

Your strengths are the inner power zones which allow you to meet challenges head on.

Your strengths are your personal “zones of excellence” which give you the power to accomplish any task at hand.

You are your strengths.

We are made better by encountering what is better and excellent in ourselves and others.

But we have to aspire to excellence. We have to want it, to desire it, to begin to pursue it. It may begin by starting to appreciate what is better and best and excellent.

It opens us up to possibilities, and when we experience excellence, it draws us out of ourselves and beyond our limits to new things and new experiences and the growth of intelligence and creativity.

Excellence propels us to be better and to grow, especially in those areas where we naturally excel.  EVERYONE has them.  Most people do not pursue these areas of their lives because they have been taught that it is selfish or self-absorbed.

We think that if we take time really doing what we love to do, that we must not be suffering enough or struggling enough to deserve such enjoyment.

One of the greatest reasons why people do not recognize or utilize their strengths is because they seem to be such a natural part of themselves that they go under-valued.

When you are doing what you love, or using your strengths, what might be perceived as pain for others may not at all be pain for you.

Struggle is relative, and if what you are doing is taking a lot of struggle, you might reconsider whether you have the natural strengths to do it.

Better, better, and best carries us onward to new levels of experiencing, to the inter-connectedness of brain neuropathways which creates new structures of reasoning and higher levels of intelligence, which never need remain static.

Your I.Q. score is a grossly inflated, over-used expression of where certainly abilities were at a certain time in your life.  It has great elasticity.  Excellence raises it.

Start considering the best in yourself.  What is it?  How do you want it to grow?

Where is excellence around you?  Pursue it.  Seek it out.

We do not always have to have the “best.”  We do not always have to be the “best” at everything.  We do not always need to do our “best.”  But we do need to be in the ongoing process of becoming better, better, and best, and to encounter excellence where we choose to do so, and allow it to wake up our lives to greater and greater experiencing of the good and the beautiful.

Our strengths reveal a lot about us. They tell us what we are good at and also they tell us that we have a weakness–the “fix me part of me. “ Just know it is there. Focus on your strengths and move ahead with your life.

Our strengths, engaged when we are in the UpSpiral, helps us to solve our challenges. We become one with the music, in the zone.

All of us have things that we are good at and these are expressions of our strengths. When we play to the weakness– the other side of the strength– the first sign could be loss of motivation.

We may start to ask ourselves questions that take away our power.  We may start to head toward a down spiral, robbing us of the fullest access to our strengths.

We have to know and engage our strengths. When we do, we come from an authentic place of empowerment.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute