Category - Blog

1
Too Optimistic?…Really?
2
An Idle Brain, A Focused Brain?
3
Can You “Nuance” Your Emotions?
4
Addicted To Negativity?
5
The Truth About Networking
6
GOAL SETTING, HEALTHY ATTACHMENTS
7
Pushing Against Transition?
8
Your Brain On Flow & “Chaos”
9
Flow Is “Just This”
10
The “Open Doors” Of Your Life

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

Can You “Nuance” Your Emotions?

Do you have the capacity to distinguish between love, joy, hope, peace, and gratitude?

I have had a lot of people tell me that they believe the 5 feelings of the Emotional Gym are basically the same.

I tell them that is not the case, that they are different, and that there are clear differences.

An MRI of the brain shows these emotions showing up in different ways.

However, I also tell them that the sameness in this emotional experiencing is an out-picturing of “enmeshment.”

“Enmeshment” refers to unhealthy relationships where boundaries are blurred and self/other differentiation is poor.

No one likes that answer, but it’s the case.

The inability to differentiate between the emotions of the Emotional Gym, or any other emotions for that matter, is a function of appropriateness and boundaries.

If you consider the difficulty we have in just getting people to feel their feelings, is it any wonder that we would have difficulty with differentiation?

Consider the image of our “UpSpiral,” with varied levels of height and depth. The DownSpiral narrows almost to a point, the experience of the narrowing effects in the brain of negativity, often expressed as overwhelm.

The UpSpiral has a broader, wider, more open at the top look and feel to it. And so it’s not a stretch to say that, for example, there are multiple shades of gratitude, a variety of ways in which we can feel love, hope, peace, or joy.

The UpSpiral is the brain on “broaden and build,” building the capacity to nuance our feelings as well as out thoughts and beliefs.

And so, with less enmeshment comes greater distinction between and among the 5 positive emotions of the Emotional Gym.

How?

As you pulse more over time, you move away from “emotional sloppiness” into an experience of greater clarity, not only in what you can feel, but in what you want for your life.

Clarity of desire also begins to move you in relationships from a “sloppy unity” which is usually forced, or even phony, to what we call “embodiment,” the felt experience of real connection.

That is why it is often difficult for very bright people to behave in ways that fit what they know and believe, but fail to do so because they have not developed the emotional integration to carry it off.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

Addicted To Negativity?

Here is the short case for positivity.

You either live most of the time in an UpSpiral of positivity, in a DownSpiral of negativity, or, like most people, yo-yoing up and down.

The goal here is very simple. It is to enable you to get you into an UpSpiral and its benefits, and to get you to keep you there, at a high level of “feeling good,” most of the time. Sound unrealistic? Then your idea of what is real will need to change!

We aren’t aiming for bliss or ecstasy, just “feeling good” most all of the time. You will learn how to manage and have great agility over positivity in such a way that you will develop positive emotional muscle and have a mastery over the use of positive emotion. Do the work and the work will work for you.

Simply put, you can be a happier person and your emotional set-point can grow and become constant in a higher level of positive emotions. Your neuro-positivity can increase as a reality in your own brain.

Here are just a few of the benefits of positive emotions from the emerging research in the field.

Positive emotion enlarges the scope of attention. It broadens your personal access to strengths and increases your choice of options and behavior from your own larger repertoire. Negativity creates a sense of being trapped with no choices because it narrows focus and attention.

Positive emotion increases intuition and creativity. Positive emotion changes our body systems and speeds up recovery from cardiovascular surgery. It alters the nature of frontal lobe asymmetry and increases immune system response. Positive affect predicts good mental and physical health outcomes. It is predictive of increased happiness, stronger resilience to the negative, psychological growth and lower levels of cortisol, as well as reduced inflammation in response to stress. Positive emotion is correlated with resistance to sinus infections and reductions in stroke.

Positivity predicts how long people will live. Positive affect means that you will solve problems more easily, be more creative, and have greater access to the higher functions of strengths and to their range. People stronger in positive emotion score higher on every test of well-being, every test of life satisfaction, and there is increase of healthy functioning at a cellular level.

Positive affect is negatively correlated with generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive behavior, agoraphobia, and social phobia. The list could go on and on.

And with all of these research results firmly in place, we still have a great investment in negativity, in illness, in negative core beliefs, and we have sold out to a notion of “healing” that focuses on the negative, the idolization of modern medicine, and the largest pill-popping culture in history.

We are brainwashed at looking at the problem and finding solutions to them. We are steeped in the co-dependency that fixes and rescues.

If there is such a thing as negativity addiction, it is the culprit here.

We believe that we need negativity to perceive accurately, to be smart, to be clever, to appear intelligent and insightful, and to protect ourselves against our own imagination and our power to create and be great. We believe that we need negativity to be “balanced.”

How much of this “balance” do you want or think you need?

© Dr. William K. Larkin

The Truth About Networking

Networking

There is a part of the widespread beliefs about networking that is puzzling – the importance of the sheer number of social contacts, the extent of personal and professional networks, vs. the sense and experience of being known.

It’s about superficial connection, depth of connection, and the experience of being heard, of what creates the degree of resonance.

Here is the essential question for networking.

How integrated is your own personal experience, that it is sufficiently embodied that you can bring it to bear upon how you listen, how deeply you listen, and most importantly how deeply you can identify and really HEAR and receive the nature of another person and the degree of resonance?

This is the social media issue of our time, the issue of connection and meaningful bonds that last not so much because of the drive to achieve higher number of ”networked” associations, but the depth and quality, the authentic, believable, felt resonance of fewer ones.  It is the hole in the ship of the research on social relationships.

It is possible to share with someone who responds back with an immediate text that is so quick, that you know by the speed of the answer that it claims to understand who you are and what you have shared.

It’s realistically more a nodding head and agreement, a little resonance, some meaning, but the true experience is one of being cheated or of paying too much for the return you got, trying not to look like you are expecting too much, or worse, are ungrateful and insincere.

It is like expressing at an “8” of heartedness with meaning and connectedness returned at a “2.” There is enough to connect but not enough to sustain, unless there are more micro moments added cumulatively and regularly.  What seems to be enough is social connectedness at a “1” often enough, and that is sufficient.

Superficial connection can be enough, some people are content, and the research on networking is built on that superficiality which seems to do the job of the research.  It’s like feelings felt at a “2,” and the projection of the receiver is that it was an “8,” and its wonderful because the belief is that any connection is better than none.

When a person is not understood at the depth of their expression and a text flies back with 20 ideas and observations and 16 questions, there is connection, but there is also what I call connection “shortchange.”

HOW a person listens, WHAT they listen for.  HOW they hear.  These are the fundamental concerns with heart-t-heart connection.

You have to teach the person what to hear and how to listen for it.  It is like being able to hear inflections in language that are the truer signals of the meaning of the word than the use of the word itself.

If you can understand IN ORDER TO RESPOND and look right and with it and bright, significant and competent and capable, even interested, you miss it. You can connect but there is little resonance with the person sharing.

You are not listening in the right place.  To hear and receive the person who shares, one has to abandon their own intent to respond, and listen for the feelings of the other, the meanings of the other, their wanting, and not judge their intent.  It is something like flow, “getting” the other person is the passion, and doing the listening non-judgmentally absent of that filter.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

 

 

 

GOAL SETTING, HEALTHY ATTACHMENTS

Goals Post Its

 

Wanting what we want and owning that we do can be a difficult thing to do. There is a hesitancy to wanting what we want because we have beliefs that we are being selfish and self-centered.

Denying ourselves what we want seems to have some special virtue. The guilt of “having” can cause us to be less than honest about what we are wanting. Living with less can seem to be more “spiritual.”

There is the idea that if we live with less, the goods of the world will somehow magically become a more equitable distribution of good. And so we hang back for a while, denying ourselves, before we impulsively and compulsively give ourselves what we’ve been depriving ourselves of having.

The simple truth is that you’re playing less than, you’re having less than, you’re holding back from being and having the fullness of who you are, and what you want helps no one.

Your acting like you don’t want lovely things serves no one. Your being “less than” for the sake of some misbegotten notion of modesty and humility keeps you from entering into the wholeness of the person that you have been created to be. It also keeps you from contributing to a consumer economy which is, by far, the greatest means by which you are likely contribute to the good of the world.

Healthy patterns of attachment mean an ability or capacity to want what we want and to be able to attach to it with appreciation, full of enjoyment and a sense of ownership that is proud and grateful.

Attachment also applies to job and professions, to friends, associates, and to relationships. The attachment is a mark of mental health. Healthy patterns of attachment are developed from childhood, and even when they are weak and not so healthy, they can grow and develop by being honest about our wanting.

Ambivalent patterns of attachment cause low self-esteem because we are never fully able to attach, to own, to be a part of, to have and to hold nearly and dearly those people and things that are significant aspects of our wanting.

Goals are mechanisms of attachment to life. They seek to create a fuller, more satisfying life and their very nature is to believe that the goal is possible to reach.

So goals are healthy indicators of attachment to life, especially when they are pursued with intention. The difficulty with “attachment” shows itself in a lack of hope, in fear, in the dread of being disappointed and let down.

This disappointment-oriented thinking results in flat-lining and in depression. It is a deeply rooted pessimism.

Goals are expressions of positive expectation and of hopefulness. Goals expect to be met. To grasp the goals means to grasp the hopefulness that keeps the believing going that the goal will be met.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

 

 

 

Pushing Against Transition?

Focus NYT

The skills of positivity, which really means evolution, enable us to more easily deal with negativity and defensiveness.

At the root of our negativity is the way we self-sabotage, our defensiveness, the things we do when we feel threatened. The part of us that brings us down, that is convinced that we are not worth much.

It is the part that lives in wherever we reject who we are.

These mechanisms and systems of defense are entrenched, but they can be changed by the tools of positivity.

Self-sabotage is often what people do when the feel good for a while. Self-sabotage is what we do to in avoiding the change and transition that life is pushing us toward.

We balk at growing and being better and stronger.

It can seem too good to be true and unfamiliar.

You are evolving always toward higher and higher levels of reasoning and creating.

The structures of your brain are changing and growing, and you are always growing smarter, if you allow it.

Intelligence is not fixed. It grows if we allow novelty to happen.

Living in an UpSpiral is like lubricating your brain to grow, to learn, to be open and to have more options.

Our own self sabotage wants us to stay put, doubt ourselves, be safe, take no risks, shut down, and shut off.

It is out for nothing less than our self-destruction because its grounded in our self-rejection and the sense in us that we don’t deserve the best things in life.

Self sabotage exists is how we believe that we don’t have the right to be happy.

You cannot deal with self-sabotage by using negative tools or by digging up negative memories and talking about how hurt you have been.

That just reinforces the negative memories the brain is trying to heal. But you also can’t deny the negative.

Recognize it without reliving it.

Try this. Take a good look at the negative, take a good look at any negative memories that seem to be following you around and simply pulse peace, peace, peace.

That’s what you learn in our Emotional Gym- the agility and facility of emotions that serve your good.

Get yourself to an emotionally peaceful place and then look at these negative things through one of your strengths.

For sure, if you are more positive, you are going to shine a light on your negatives. But you do not chase negatives with negatives, you chase them and spotlight them from the positive, from a higher place and then you apply the tools of positivity to squarely deal with them.

You learn to have a hero for each of your strengths and how that hero with whom you identify will tell you how to use the strength it represents.

Yes, your hero will talk to you inside your head.

You have a strength for every negative that occurs in your life.

In fact, it sometimes seems that the negatives in life, the problems are tailor made to get us to practice using our strengths so we grow them.

If you are more focused on your negatives that on your strengths, which ones do you think you are growing?

© Dr. William K. Larkin

Your Brain On Flow & “Chaos”

Brain Chaos

It is the brain state of “flow” that we get into that is like being “one with the music.”

It points us in our emotions and thoughts more toward the experience of inner connectedness, making our lives much more an experience of “oneness.”

“Flow” is interestingly enough really about chaos and differentiation.

We define “chaos” as novelty.

It is about novelty and how much novelty we are able to allow into our lives. The opposite would be how much we choke off life and demand satisfaction from the world around us in ways that become narrower and narrower.

The opposite of chaos might be addiction or any other form of extreme narrowing.

Differentiation means the ability to allow things to be diverse and different –to be “other” than us without fear or intimidation of their “otherness” or “differentness.”

Life is about as interesting as the amount of chaos and differentiation we allow into our world.

Remember, chaos here doesn’t necessarily mean chaotic in the sense of everything out of order and gone awry, but chaos in terms of the ability to allow and tolerate wider and wider, larger and larger spaces of things that are different and 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 or differentness. 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 greater the “flow,” the greater the novelty and differentiation.

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.

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 getting into flow, the easier it will be.

The more used to a more frequent and consistent experience of flow 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.

The whole process of flow aims to open you up.

Where in your life are you most open to “chaos” and expanding differentiation?

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Flow Is “Just This”

Flow Light

When we dance, the dance is what matters. It is “just this,” just the dance. When we paint a picture it is “just this.” When we make love it is “just this.”

UNTIL THE EGO STEPS IN and asks, “HOW AM I DOING?” We kill it when we start to judge and evaluate and compare. Can you imagine making love and thinking, “how am I doing?” or thinking about what you have to do with the kids or what you have to get at the market?

You know we all do it.

Here’s a hint to stay on track- just say to yourself “just this, just this, just this, just this,” and stay in the moment with what you love, whatever and whoever it may be.

“Just this” is the psychological state of flow that is the capacity to be “one with the music,” to get lost in a thing that is both a challenge and requires some skill, but we love doing it.

I love working on my house, fixing things over, planting things, and changing things around. I love working on a project that I bought for next to nothing from a garage sale and make it beautiful again –until I start to think, I should be doing something productive, I should be doing something more worthwhile than all this “wanna be” artistic playing around.

That just kills it.

As it kills the flow, it also kills the parasympathetic, healing, restorative, homeostatic response going on in the body.

Flow is restorative, getting lost in what we love that heals and creates an inner unity and oneness with everything. The parasympathetic nervous system response in our body is the healing restorative response that is characterized by “calm and connect” instead of “flight-flight”.

Evolutionarily we are as equipped to make this calm and connect response as we are the fight-flight response. Over millions of years our brains have grown and developed that way.

What is your flow? Where is your flow?

When and where do you get lost in what you’re doing so that time just flies by and you do “just this?” Those are very important and significant activities and times.

Do more of them, build more of them into your life.

They are moving meditation and the whole purpose of meditation is wrapped in those times when we are able to do and be “just this.”

“Just this” is “moving meditation.”

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

 

The “Open Doors” Of Your Life

Life Love

VibeCore is the place of your basic movement into and attachment to the world.

It is the place from which you either “go for it” or you don’t.

What you want may change in the process of bringing it into your life. It may change in nature, and it may come in a different package than you expected, but it will come.

What is the proof of this? Is there a proof? Yes. There are two places; the first is not as important as the second.

The first is research and the second is your history.

If you look at your history and you are honest, the proof is there. If you look at your history and you have shed the skins of the past, so you are not looking like or sounding like a “victim”, the proof is definitely there.

If you aren’t feeling sorry for yourself and if you’re honestly assessing where you are in life, you will find that you have gotten pretty much everything you have wanted in one way or another.

Where one door may have closed another door opened. Because you are born with resilience, “bounce back”, and an enormous capacity to process and learn from what has happened to you, in such a way, that always, where one door has closed, another has opened. It has brought, often disguised, what you really wanted.

You may not have liked everything you got.

You may have changed your mind about it when you got it, but all it did was form the next desire, the next want, and then you went on to get that in some form or another.

It is also true, if you are honest with yourself, that what you have resented and been angry about for a long time or whined about forever, has resulted in you creating more of the same in your life. Maybe you don’t like what you got, but you got what you wanted and it tried to teach you how to want with more clarity and self-understanding.

What we are getting now is still trying to teach us these lessons. If you see what you have gotten – whatever it may be – as a gift, that it is always a gift and are willing to learn the lessons it teaches, then you will get what you want faster and the next door will open more quickly.

Actually, the next doors open very quickly, usually. This whole process of life has been in the process of strengthening your VibeCore, if you are honest about it.

We do not spend nearly as much time as we think wandering in dark hallways unless we choose to.

The greater responsibility you take for having largely created your own life, the more freedom you have and the greater your sense of your own power.

The greatest proof of your VibeCore and its power in your life is finding its truth in your history. If you are honest, you will conclude that you have brought into your life, by the match of your wanting and believing, most everything you wanted.

 

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute