Archive - June 2017

1
Learned Helplessness…The Way Out
2
Too Optimistic?…Really?
3
An Idle Brain, A Focused Brain?

Learned Helplessness…The Way Out

(Source: Dr. Martin Seligman)

The feeling of oppression and not being in control or in charge is the opposite of the top of the UpSpiral which is “feeling good and feeling free.”

These feelings of either the threat or the actual loss of control create DownSpiraling, and then we lean toward one end or the other of either passively internalizing anger and rage or externalizing it.

When we DownSpiral, we do characteristically one or the other.

Some of us internalize and smolder, and others of us “shoot from the hip.”

What do you do when you want to control and can’t, and the only resort is to admit that you are powerless? Even as this significant speck of the Universe, connected to a vast Universal intelligence in some unique and perfect way, the experience is still the same: powerlessness.

Go ahead, you can admit it, there are times when you feel up against the wall, backed into a corner, it’s piled on top of you and a squeak of a pulsing “peace” “peace” “peace” seems to be a million miles away, if you can remember it all.

The truth is that we want it our way, in our time, and like we think it ought to happen.

Why not just begin with admitting that we are powerless and let it unfold? Why not just throw open the whole process of living and just take it as it comes in a resigned acceptance that does not provoke frustration or a sense of oppression?

Why not just give in to the past oppressors, to the past cues and threats that we have so well learned, and be as passive as we have learned to be hostile and rage?

And let the whole thing just unfold as it will…

Why not just move to this place of just generally, as best you can, accept whatever comes down and try to do your best with what you cannot control, never will control, and admit that you are powerless and just let a power beyond yourself do the deal?

What I have just described is “learned helplessness.” And it is a state that happens when you feel that no matter what you do, nothing matters, that you have no control over the outcomes.

The result of learned helplessness exactly matches the state of clinical depression except for one feature, and that is the absence of suicidal tendencies.

Small difference, huh?

When oppression happens we are holding on to a way of exercising our power that doesn’t work.

You are probably being your mother or your father, or reacting as if it were some past situation rupturing your world. That doesn’t mean you need analysis and 60 weeks of insight.

It means that you have to reassess how to use your strengths differently, or for some, just begin to use them at all.

In learned helplessness, some strength isn’t being used, but rather its opposite. Our perception or belief that we are “on top of it,” that we are “in control,” that we are “free” and “feeling good” is always a perception grounded in using our strengths. It emerges from using our strengths, and then learning how to use them even better.

Learned helplessness comes from knowing you have strengths and not using them, which results in believing that you have no power.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

 

Too Optimistic?…Really?

Optimism is about thinking and feeling in a positive way.

Positivity is a much broader expression in behavior, motivation, creating, and living.

It is about thriving, feeling good, and feeling free.

Why are some so worried about too much optimism and too much positivity? What’s all the hesitancy about?

Not enough research about benefits? There’s plenty.

Scarcity thinking and stinginess, “watching every buck like it will get away” is a significant display of pessimism.

Pessimism is an overwhelming factor in health-related issues and in personal success and achievement.

Being tight with money and time makes you tight at the cellular level of your body.

It really is our number one health problem and the greatest deterrent of well-being and life satisfaction.

The answer to research that shows the dangers of optimism is not that you need to be more negative but that you be more effectively positive.

You don’t have to move from safety to feeling threat to manage your optimism.

Optimism is a very basic way your perception sees the world. It’s measuring a very elemental thing that started with you genetically and continued with you in your nurturance. It’s a very basic way about the way you see and judge the most elemental events in your world.

Consciousness starts with what we do with the most elemental events in our world.

The truth is that we are still tripping over the negative and cleaning up its spills more than exercising the fullness of the potential of positivity, not only to heal and integrate, but to create and build new people and new worlds, with a more solid, embodied experience of optimism.

IT’S ALL about A LITTLE MORE, Just a Little EVERY DAY.

What is trending in your feelings?

Your TENDENCY tells your story.

It is your TENDENCY that is most important.

Where are you TRENDING in your feelings? In your experience of open-ended optimism?

The higher you are in the UpSpiral, the better you’re going to feel, the better you’re going to do, the more optimistic you will become, and the more you’re going to get out of life what you want.

The research resources abound.

THE TENDENCY OF OUR FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS TELLS THE STORY.

What is most desirable is not to be always high, high, in this UpSpiral. But it is true that you can live in the 90’s most of the time, if you learn to do so and are consistent in building the NeuroPositive™ plasticity of your brain.

However, what is more important is that each day you are a little higher, a little better, feeling a little more positive, seeing things with a little more optimism, enjoying life a little more, letting a little more light in, feeling a little more joy, a little more peace, a little more love, a little more gratitude, and a little more hope.

Let this process begin to build in you.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

An Idle Brain, A Focused Brain?

The brain is never idle, especially when we sleep.

We think that daydreaming is idle time, but the brain is still working.

Studies show us that idle time, where the brain can wander, can be very creative.

But we need to tell the brain what we want it to do, and to train it to focus and pay attention.

As an example, today I went to the 99 cent store to pick up one thing. I went in without a list and I spent $34.00 on 34 things but I’m happy to report that I did get the one thing I went to get!

It’s a simple story, but the lesson is there – the brain needs a list or a specific goal in focus or it shops everywhere, for everything.

We need to practice focus and attention even during idle time, to avoid letting our thoughts go off in a negative direction – resulting in anxiety, dread, fear or discomfort.

That moves us into the sympathetic nervous system of fight/flight, our cortisol rises and the stress hormones kick in. Thyroxin, which is long-term adrenaline, can stay in the system for as long as four days.

So idle time spent day dreaming that goes in a negative direction is not healthy.

Negative issues that need to be addressed are those that continue to arise in one way or another. If we get everyday needless negative feelings out of the way and build up a positive reservoir, the truly negative things will only come up because you will have a greater sense of security in allowing them to do so.

It is often the negative feelings of an idle brain that create rumination, worrying dreams, and a sense of threat.

Research shows us that we don’t accomplish much when we are threatened on the most basic level.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute