The DNA Of Positivity

File Feb 06, 8 00 56 AM

Positivity is not a SWEET THIN SHELL wrapped around negativity like an M&M.

Positivity is in the code of your DNA expressed throughout the entire genome of the human being.

Positivity is in your DNA. It is not just a learned, adaptive response to life to make it seem more bearable.

Positivity is in your genetic make-up, in your chromosomes, and in the nature of creation and being.

It’s just that basic.

Positivity expresses the movement toward life, aliveness, meaning, and the good life that cause the process of life to unfold, to evolve, and to become an even greater expression of itself that’s YOU.

The neural channels of positivity aren’t the same as negativity. A simpler way of saying this is that the brain neuropathways that are neuropositive are different from those that are negative. It’s a different system.

Health is not just the opposite of illness; it is its own system in the brain.

Illness, as a matter of fact, is a separate system developing differently than this system of health and flourishing.

Positivity is more like the meaning of the word “heliotropic,” which means light seeking or growth seeking. It is in the nature of the seed to seek the light, and it is in our nature as “human seeds” to do the same.

Your DNA is coded with a need for making meaning in your life. It is coded for you to have a sense of direction. You are coded, at the basic level of your being, to DEVELOP all the days of your life.

That development is DNA grounded in your requirement as a human being to find your sense of personal significance.

That sense comes from the way you make meaning in life.

If you are a sour cynic about life, you will likely look like you are. You will take on the nature of that cynicism in the very nature of your being and your physical expression.

Not only will you not look like a happy camper, but your sense of meaning in life that provides for you a sense of the good life, the well-lived life, and a life of vision, will have faded.

Positivity is expressed in the developmental stages of life, not only in childhood but in those after 50, in the second half and the last third of life. There are stages and transitions that are about meaning-making.

You may retire from a job you had for 35 years, but you do not retire from the job of making meaning and growing toward the light of new meaning.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dr. gloria wright

    When I moved from Atlanta to NC, it was a major transition.
    I decided to accept semi-retirement. I wasn’t ready to stop working, but 40+
    hours a week wasn’t enjoyable. My interests in life were changing. What brought
    meaning to my life was shifting. Another identity crisis. But I wasn’t drawn
    toward vegetating. I had always been active and productive, and I couldn’t see
    giving that up.
    Right after I moved,I took a course at ANI. That’s where I
    began to learn the components of transition and some skills to aid that
    process. Leaning that adapting to change
    and the need for meaning making was in my DNA was a comfort. It assured me that
    seeking a happy life of meaning was not only possible but a natural drive and
    inclination. My job was to get into a
    positive framework for the betterment of my evolution. I knew I wanted to
    thrive and just not survive. Finding out that growing was the natural flow,
    encouraged me to stay in the Flow as much as possible. I learned not to swim
    upstream, but to allow my life to unfold.
    I love Dr. Larkin’s claim: “You are coded, at the basic
    level of your being, to DEVELOP all the days of your life.” Hallelujah! What
    great news. I play bridge at my local senior center. It is interesting to see
    how seniors approach life. Some are stagnant, others strive to flourish. They
    are a good continuum for me to see myself. It’s obvious I am one of the more
    alive, light-hearted instigators in the community. Most of the time they greet me
    with a smile and enjoy my shenanigans.
    I love the word “heliotropic.” I want to be heliotropic –
    seeking light and growth in my life. It also helps to engage with other
    heliotropes. We don’t use this word much
    in social conversation, but light attracts light, even in people. I love to be
    around people who obviously love life. It’s contagious. And it’s in our DNA.
    How cool is that?!

  • Sandra Lintz

    To say we have an instinctive fight or flight or freeze response to threat indicates to me that we have an instinct to live or at least to avoid death. But life seems to be on continuum of thoughts from negative to positive, of feelings from the down spiral to the up spiral and of existing from despair to thriving. It’s in our DNA to want to stay alive and it is in our DNA to want to live a full life and be able to decide how we want to live life.

    A psychologist who was a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps and survived has, perhaps, the best perspective from which to state that it is man’s meaning making ability which keeps one alive against all odds. Fellow prisoners and Viktor Frankl himself maintained a will to live by having a thread of meaning whether it be someone to live for or something they wanted to do. I hear Frankl saying he willed to keep going even though the odds were against him because the odds had not yet won. Those who suffered without having meaning for their life experienced despair. Viktor Frankl observed and experienced survival as a choice that could be made in favor of finding meaning, a reason to live. It is essentially the bare bones of positivity.

    I have heard criticisms of positivity. Some say it is fake or temporary. Some say it is corny! I even heard one spiritual teacher literally say that trying to stay positive adds to the burden of someone battling illness. How can that be? What is the downside of choosing some hope when the odds are against you but the odds have not yet beaten you? The key is realizing you have a choice. Why give up? Why despair? The odds have not won until they are at 100 to zero. The choice is a matter of life and death more than we realize. Until the odds win, how do you want to live?

    I am grateful to learn so much about neuroplasticity and positivity now because I know that regardless of life’s circumstances I will be finding meaning and making choices for years to come in a life affirming way that creates joy, love and peace in my life.

  • James Beeman

    This blog post seems to indicate that the commonly accepted wisdom of “fake it ‘til you make it” deserves to be reframed from a fundamental level. Embedded within this idiom resides a struggle, a clear focus on crafting a veneer that after established, becomes one’s reality; a focus on the outside before the inside – similar to an M&M.

    Rather, what this blog is emphasizing is that positivity is an inside-out job. Meaning to say, to become positive requires a rewiring of one’s neuropathways inside one’s brain before it spills out into ones responses and actions. Rewiring one’s neuropathways requires focus over the long-term to gradually shift one’s attention and to create new neuronetworks that boost one’s positivity and meaning making.

    Not only will this work create new thoughts, but one’s emotions will be positively and dramatically impacted. If you are interested in boosting your experience of peace, love, and joy on a moment-by-moment basis, than doing the work that Dr. Johnson and Dr. Larkin recommend is a fantastic foundation to start building right now – you’ll be so glad that you started moving in a new, different, and more positive direction.

    Doing this work over the long-term creates health at a fundamental level and may even prolong your life. And you may think that prolonging your life is not really something that you’ll enjoy once you reach a stage of physical decline; however, when you realize that your brain continues to evolve when you let it, a new energy may open up for you. You get continue to explore new and different ways to make meaning in your life, up until that point when life ends.

    I’ll leave you with a link to a song that I think speaks to the transitions that we go through in life and how we get to figure out what we want, believe we can get it, and be open to how it comes to us – “Let It Go.”

    This blog post seems to indicate that the commonly accepted wisdom of “fake it ‘til you make it” deserves to be reframed from a fundamental level. Embedded within this idiom resides a struggle, a clear focus on crafting a veneer that after established, becomes one’s reality; a focus on the outside before the inside – similar to an M&M.

    Rather, what this blog is emphasizing is that positivity is an inside-out job. Meaning to say, to become positive requires a rewiring of one’s neuropathways inside one’s brain before it spills out into ones responses and actions. Rewiring one’s neuropathways requires focus over the long-term to gradually shift one’s attention and to create new neuronetworks that boost one’s positivity and meaning making.

    Not only will this work create new thoughts, but one’s emotions will be positively and dramatically impacted. If you are interested in boosting your experience of peace, love, and joy on a moment-by-moment basis, than doing the work that Dr. Johnson and Dr. Larkin recommend is a fantastic foundation to start building right now – you’ll be so glad that you started moving in a new, different, and more positive direction.

    Doing this work over the long-term creates health at a fundamental level and may even prolong your life. And you may think that prolonging your life is not really something that you’ll enjoy once you reach a stage of physical decline; however, when you realize that your brain continues to evolve when you let it, a new energy may open up for you. You get continue to explore new and different ways to make meaning in your life, up until that point when life ends.

    I’ll leave you with a link to a song that I think speaks to the transitions that we go through in life and how we get to figure out what we want, believe we can get it, and be open to how it comes to us – “Let It Go.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk

  • James Beeman

    This blog post seems to indicate that the commonly accepted wisdom of “fake it ‘til you make it” deserves to be reframed from a fundamental level. Embedded within this idiom resides a struggle, a clear focus on crafting a veneer that after established, becomes one’s reality; a focus on the outside before the inside – similar to an M&M.

    Rather, what this blog is emphasizing is that positivity is an inside-out job. Meaning to say, to become positive requires a rewiring of one’s neuropathways inside one’s brain before it spills out into ones responses and actions. Rewiring one’s neuropathways requires focus over the long-term to gradually shift one’s attention and to create new neuronetworks that boost one’s positivity and meaning making.

    Not only will this work create new thoughts, but one’s emotions will be positively and dramatically impacted. If you are interested in boosting your experience of peace, love, and joy on a moment-by-moment basis, than doing the work that Dr. Johnson and Dr. Larkin recommend is a fantastic foundation to start building right now – you’ll be so glad that you started moving in a new, different, and more positive direction.

    Doing this work over the long-term creates health at a fundamental level and may even prolong your life. And you may think that prolonging your life is not really something that you’ll enjoy once you reach a stage of physical decline; however, when you realize that your brain continues to evolve when you let it, a new energy may open up for you. You get continue to explore new and different ways to make meaning in your life, up until that point when life ends.

    I’ll leave you with a link to a song that I think speaks to the transitions that we go through in life and how we get to figure out what we want, believe we can get it, and be open to how it comes to us – “Let It Go.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk

  • jeris hollander

    The feeling of fulfillment is something that we all crave in our lives, and it simply comes down to meaning making and personal significance. When we learn the tools to necessary for strengthening our positive neural pathways, we are better equipped to successfully navigate times of transition in which we may be experiencing changes in our meaning making system. When we do not harness the positivity on a deep cellular level, we are likely to feel lost, empty, resistant and anxious through these various stages and transitions. Many times when we feel like we are stuck or scrambling to figure out our next move, This is a sign that we need to check in with ourselves and ask “what is truly meaningful to me, how is my sense of personal significance changing?”

    Dr. Larkin states, “Your DNA is coded with a need for making meaning in your life. It is coded for you to have a sense of direction. You are coded, at the basic level of your being, to DEVELOP all the days of your life.” When we resist this development and give up on our sense of direction or purpose, we are treading in dangerous downspiral territory. Through learning to live in the upspiral, grow our strengths, understand and be open to what we want, and positively move in that direction, we are growing psychological capital, resilience, and creating the life we desire.

    It’s remarkable to consider the possibility that when we continually encode positivity into our DNA, and at a cellular level, that perhaps this proclivity towards optimism may be passed down genetically to future generations.

    We must continue to recognize our evolving meaning making systems, engage in novel learning patterns, and maintain a sense of forward motion in order to successfully grow and develop.Through the embodiment of practices such as the NeuroPositive method, we are enabling ourselves “seek the light” through gratitude, peace, love, joy and hope.

  • Audrey Sloofman

    There was a time in my adulthood, when visiting my parents for a long weekend, when I recognized that nothing good or positive was ever spoken by my parents. If it wasn’t a negative criticism of themselves or another, it was the reporting of something terrible in the news. All the old stories I heard of their lives and of the lives of my grandparents and ancestors was all of suffering and horrible, frightening and unfair events.

    I loved my parents (both now deceased) and they had many good qualities as well, but this was a significant insight for me that weekend. It marked a major turning point. I came to recognize how my own depression, victimhood and sense of futility in life came from my lifetime of being with them and their sad stories and view on life. It was at that point that I realized that I had learned this behavior from them and needed to train myself in a healthier way of being, thinking and making meaning of my world. I have since been on a vigilant search for recovery from this “darkness” and have joyously and gratefully found my path back to the healthy positive, light in my DNA.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute