Archive - March 2014

The Powerful Possibilities Of Positive Emotion
The Power Of Your Personal Vibe
The Simple Power Of The Emotional Gym
Brain Coupling: Can You Connect?
The Best Predictor Of Health & Longevity

The Powerful Possibilities Of Positive Emotion

Possibilities are the lifeblood of our moods.

Check it out and see if your moods are not grounded in the very possibilities you are holding for your life.

The upper range of emotions is the birthplace and the growing ground of possibilities.  We don’t see or know our possibilities from negative emotions or in a DownSpiral.

We have the idea that inspiration can come from despair.

Enlightenment from despair is far over-rated and takes way too much energy.

But despair is not the issue. It’s not even usually the case. Everyday living is more the case– the ho-hum of everyday routine is what robs us most of creativity. It is just getting in the groove of our lives and living its requirements that most dull the upper range of positive emotion and the emergence of possibility. I call it the “learned non-use” of positive emotion.

We get flashes of insight and possibility when we are feeling good and feeling free. That is when they happen most. It occurs when we are hopeful, not when we are down and limited.

Life expands and grows on this upper range of positive emotion: love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope. There are never enough external stimuli to create the internal state of this positive range. If you wait for the externals, you limit your possibilities.

Consider this. Feelings create. Mood creates. We move and form our consciousness from feelings. The neuroplastic brain is shaped by feelings. And for sure, it is feelings that are running our biochemical systems and bathing every cell in our moods and feelings.

Negative states of feeling do not create deeply intuitive insights. They may foretell danger or sensitize us to flee, but they don’t function like our positive emotions do in leading us toward growth-evoking, action-taking behavior. They are more the feeling of avoidance, withdrawal, and self-protection.

If feelings are the prior source of consciousness, consider the idea that our thinking, which we hold as sacrosanct, is far more under the direction of our feeling states than we have previously considered to be the case.  We have spent our whole lives learning what to “think” and so little of it learning both how and what to “feel.”

It is any wonder that we lose sight of what we really want?

You are not your brain. How clearly we have learned that in the study of neuroplasticity.

The brain is an organ that is formed by our focus, our attention, our gaze, and it is shaped by our feeling states.

Here is the bottom line. Emotion is an information system that is driving the biochemical reactions of every organ, including the brain.

Negative emotion is trying to tell us to go elsewhere, to move to another feeling/being place, so that the positive range of emotions can work on health, intuition, direction, vision, well-being, and fulfillment.

The Emotional Gym is more important than any form of exercise. Our lives are lived from emotions and moods, and they are the prophets of the future. We create from them.  We exercise to “feel” good.  Why not just start there?

The idea of building positive emotional muscle seems difficult because we are so conditioned to wait for the externals to do it for us, or to think that our own mood will come upon us when it will.

You can wait for a very long time.

Possibilities open doors, keep us moving, and keep us creating and inventing.

Entertaining what is possible is the beginning of the greatest advances in the world, and the smallest, most significant steps you can take toward making your life what you want it to be.

The Power Of Your Personal Vibe

You change your brain by thinking and feeling differently.  It is not so much what a single part of the brain does as how you have it wired to connect from one part to another. 

The patterns of your neuropathways are malleable. 

Your thought and feelings establish highways that lead you to destinations of peace or worry, of anticipation of living fully alive today and enjoying your life, of knowing what you really want—or not.

No single part of the brain does its thing absent of a trillion interconnections with other parts of the brain.  Location, location, location may be the significant feature in real estate, but not so in the real estate of the brain.

In the brain, the location of the brain part turns out not to be as highly significant as the interconnections established to it, from it, and around it. 

Every thought is an affirmation of something, and it’s building a part of neuropathway in your brain. 

It’s building your “vibe.”

Every one has a vibration that is an expression of where they're basically “coming from.” 

Our vibration also tunes us into the world like a magnet, and determines what we attract into our lives. It does so by the nature of where we put our focus, and by how strongly we put our focus in that place.

It is knowing what you want, believing you're going to get it, and being open to all the ways that it can come, in the time frame that it will arrive.

The stronger you are in knowing what you want, believing you will get it, and being open to how and when it will arrive, the stronger your “vibe” will be. It will affect the nature and strength of your focus, which acts as a magnet.

If you are wishy-washy about what you want, don't really believe you will get it, and rigid about how and when it has to come, your “vibe” will be conflicted and weak, and so will your “personal magnet” of focus.

In the name of claiming to uncover what we really want in life, self-help groups and healers of every kind spend a great deal of energy first focusing our time and attention on character defects and weaknesses.  It is an enormous economy of oftentimes poorly focused and poorly spent resources that is a waste of talk, talk, talk.  We are a culture obsessed with what we don’t do, can’t do, and fail at doing.

Everything starts with knowing what you want. We have all been given messages about wanting too much, about the greed of our wanting, about how holy it is not to want

We have to get clear about what we are wanting, because the mind and the brain are always creating whatever that wanting might be. If the wanting is on a subjective level, we are creating it. The Mind as a creative force is unimaginable. Scientists have tried to recreate models of the power of the right hemisphere of the brain and have simply given up. There is no way to quantify its power to produce, to store, to calculate, to imagine, and to create.

In life we often get the message that we will get what we need but not necessarily what we want. Or someone may have told you, “All you do is want, want, want; you're never satisfied with what you have.” That's right. While I am deeply grateful everyday for everything I have, I am never satisfied.

The real estate of the brain does not yield to “blah, blah, blah” about your character defects or a lot of fuzzy ideas about what you think you want. In fact, all that talk reinforces it all, keeps it in place, and renews its persistence.

You are building your brain.  It is under construction, and the materials are the thoughts you are thinking and the feelings you are feeling.  How are you building your UpSpiral to get clear about what it is that you really want?

How are you building your personal vibe?

We suggest that you begin by mastering 5 States Of Mind.  They are gratitude, peace, joy, love and hope.  Learn to get to them instantly, learn to make them last, and learn to increase them –turn them up so they are louder. 

Make them the ambient sound track of your life.  Just go to these emotions every single time you can. Then, from this place in your UpSpiral, connect with your strengths and begin to ask yourself what you really want.  Begin to write down each of your wantings.

That’s a powerful set of first steps on the way to building a powerful and personal vibration.

A whole new perspective, guaranteed.

The Simple Power Of The Emotional Gym

If you have developed a regular practice of The Emotional Gym, and the emotions have really grown into some emotional muscle, using these emotions changes everything.

You just can’t get depressed in the same old way.

In fact, you don’t get depressed at all.

The times of being in a DownSpiral as a part of the so-called ups and downs of life or the occasional “blues” just aren’t there.  You live somewhere in an UpSpiral all of the time.

If the UpSpiral goes from 50 to 100, that’s a lot of range of emotion before you go below 50 in the DownSpiral territory of despair.

Think about it and you know that if you are working this work, you don’t get down and “low” like you used to.  It is hard to remember a bad day.  Bad things can happen, but they don’t last and if they do, they don’t last in the same way.

The simplicity of the Emotional Gym is so powerful that any meditation technique you have learned is never the same, and none match up to what you already know and are able to do by virtue of your work in the Emotional Gym. It just works and it works simply.

Anyone can do it.

It’s the practice over the years that separates out those who are willing to grow emotionally and those who wish to remain in the gray areas of indecision, manipulation, and less than true and aligned vibrant and well-lived lives.

Mystics and contemplatives have spent thousands of hours meditating in isolation to get here.

Is that what it takes?  That’s what it takes for them.

But since you won’t likely be finding the time, or running off to a monastery, here’s how we live out the reality of what these men and women of prayer emanate to us.

Work out in the Emotional Gym.

At core of you, at the very core, are love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope.

They’re all there.

The closer you are to these feeling states, the closer you are to who you really are.

The further away you are from these states, the further you are away from who you really are.

It’s just that simple.

Living in them.

And you can live in them as surely as a cloistered monk, mystic, or contemplative.

Feel a little of these states until you can get to them instantly…

Instantly to love,

Instantly to peace,

Instantly to joy,

Instantly to gratitude,

Instantly to hope.

Then stay there and intensify them.

All by practice and choice.

At the heart of you are love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope.

Brain Coupling: Can You Connect?

Can you CONNECT?

Or is your VAGAL BRAKE letting your heart race you to ruin?

When you feel safe, your vagal brake is holding your heart in a steady rhythm of rest and restoration. It’s call homeostasis and it puts your parasympathetic nervous system in control.

When you feel threatened, or you are foolishly thinking you’re a maven at multi-taking, your vagal brake lets up, sends your heart racing, and every stress hormone in your body goes into FLIGHT/FLIGHT.

Sometimes we need to be primed with stress hormones for emergencies and high levels of competition.  But emergencies are not daily and you’re probably not competing in the Olympics.   BUT YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO LIVE AS THOUGH THEY WERE.

You don’t want to be one of them.

WE DO NOT CONNECT WITH OTHERS IN FIGHT/FLIGHT except in unhealthy ways filled with stress.  It is not the tie that binds.  Maybe if you’re being rescued from a burning fire by a hero, it’s lasting. 

What are the odds?

We make the connections that are lasting from CALM/CONNECT.  This state actually prepares us to do what is called “brain coupling.”  We plug into other people and feel their feelings and identify with them.  We have these magic times where we feel understood and on common ground. 

You have 40,000 muscles in your face that the other person is reading unconsciously,  to see if they can trust you with who they really are. 

How many times do other people read our faces and know that we are too busy and too preoccupied to open to them on any meaningful level? 

HINT: a smile is a great start in the kind of brain coupling that actually could lead to a friend or a lover. Think of that one connection where it all started.

How many times do you let that happen?

We learn to live in a way that applies a vagal brake to our very hearts, calms us, and prepares us to be in touch with other people because we can hear them and we can understand them.  We are in a place where we can get in touch with another person emotionally. 

How often does that happen?

You can’t see 40,000 facial muscles in a text message, and your brain will not read a picture like it will your face.

Here is something like a miracle in a few words.  Your capacity for CALM/CONNECT rather than FIGHT/FLIGHT prepares you to connect with other people in ways that actually make your vagal brake more effective.  Your vagal tone can get stronger over a lifetime; it’s not fixed. 

The tone of the beating of your heart becomes stronger in some amazing ways, just from connecting more with others. 

We call it “brain coupling”.

The Best Predictor Of Health & Longevity

It’s your vagal tone.


Vagal tone is the strength of your heart to regulate itself, to either beat faster to face a challenge or to remain calm because the stress can be managed.

Most people haven’t heard of vagal tone, but it’s very important because it’s connected to your vagal brake.   Here’s how it works. 

Your vagal brake acts to slow down your heart rate to a resting place so that your body rests and heals.  This brake controls your “CALM and CONNECT” response.  This is your parasympathetic, trophtropic response. This means that your body is in homeostasis, all nice and balanced, restoring and healing. 

This is where you want to be most of the time. 

When you are alarmed, when you don’t feel safe, or when there is something around you that is signaling a threat, the vagal brake releases, the heart speeds up, and you move into “FIGHT/FLIGHT” mode.  Maybe you freeze, maybe you run, maybe you just withdraw, but your body is pumping cortisol and your whole stress system is moving, working you and wearing you down, down, down, unless you get the rest you need. 

How does your own vagal brake work?  How well can you apply that brake when you need it and leave it in place to restore your body and your health?

We spend way too much time with the vagal brake off, running our hearts and pumping cortisol that wastes our precious energy on too much stress.

How do you put the vagal brake on, slow down your heart and not respond so rapidly and easy to threat?  How do you cool yourself off so you feel safer more often and not so jumpy and easily jarred?

Come to our Emotional Gym.  We teach you how to grow positive emotional muscle.

You learn to grow the emotional states of gratitude, peace, love, joy and hope.  You learn to grow the emotional muscle, that when you get used to exercising positive emotional muscle, you insure that your vagal brake operates more efficiently to keep you in a “CALM and CONNECT” state.

If you spend a lot of time in anger, resentment, frustration, sadness, jealousy, or other negative emotions, you send your heart racing and your cortisol pumping away, wasting your precious reserves of energy. 

Your body burns “hot” over nothing, or over little things that only rob you of your life’s vitality.

We have believed for a long time that vagal tone is fixed in the first years of life.  Now we know that isn’t true.  You can increase the power and effectiveness of your vagal brake and be cool when you need to be cooler, calm, and ready to connect with others.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute