Archive - 2010

Should I Change My Negative Core Beliefs For The New Year?
Respirator Of Peace
Pure Flow: Grump Or Greet?
The Bermuda Triangle
Thinking INSIDE The Box
The Most Guaranteed Way Of Staying In The UpSpiral
Vanity Isn’t So Fair
The In Between
It Only Takes 20 Seconds…
Hopefulness-Where Do You Score?

Should I Change My Negative Core Beliefs For The New Year?

 You have probably been told, somewhere along the way, that you should change your core beliefs. And then, if you listened, you were probably told to start excavating them, then write them down, then blame someone or something in the past that caused them, and then share them with the group and replace them.

 There is another way. Admit to yourself what you really want, then write that down. Keep writing until you have in front of you everything you want. Then look at them all, see what you want to keep and “own,” and throw away the rest of what looked like what you wanted, but really didn’t, or simply cross them off the list.

 Put those wants together into goals for the next few years. Keep them loose and malleable, open to change.

Your wants, when you really own them and “want” them and attach to them, will change your core beliefs as you admit them. As you pursue your real “wantings,” your core beliefs bend and change to fit them. If your core beliefs are authentic and workable for you, they will support you in pursuing your wants. If they are not, they will morph into ones that will.

Beliefs follow behavior– when you are clear about what you want. What if what you seemed to want ends up not being what you want? Then you find out what’s next. What won’t work is learning from someone else’s experience. Their experience is their experience and yours is yours, and while similar, it will never be exactly identical.

The long and the short of it is this–want what you want, own it, admit it, attach to it, and pursue it as long as it gives you satisfaction. When it doesn’t, learn what you can learn from the pursuit, and move on.

Core beliefs never really change. They just morph and change until you admit what you really want.

We'd love to hear your thoughts!  You may want to consider these questions.

1. What do you want that you deny or that frightens you? What strength(s) do you have which increase your belief you can have it and your openess to receiving it?

2. What happens when you really “want what you want?” How do you feel? Give us an example.

3. When you start to want something, keep wanting it, but have no idea of how you will get it, has it come to you in a surprising way? How? Tell us your story.

Respirator Of Peace

I hear the sounds of breathing in the room, but they do not come from someone I love dearly lying on the hospital bed. They are the sounds of a respirator pumping the oxygen of life. I am standing motionless and still, not even aware of my own breathing, as I hold the hand of the one who still holds onto life. I am aware that even the breath of life does not necessarily belong to me, that a machine can breathe for me. So much closer to me was that sense of all that I cannot control.

In these moments, as the time passes slowly, it seems that I can’t even think, much less pray or hope. I am really just there. Then I realize that as I am breathing, from the core of me, there is coming in my own breathing the feelings of peace. I have practiced these exercises of feeling peace, love, gratitude, and hope for so long, but, as from a respirator, I had never had peace “breathe me” with no effort and no intention on my part. It was just there. Peace, peace, peace.

The longer I stood, the more I felt the peace so fully, with this knowing that the same peace was filling the person whose hand I held as surely as the respirator kept doing its work.

I can feel the emotions of life, even in my sorrow and unknowing, and now, just as I have practiced them and built them into my life; they come to me from within me when I need them, without calling on them, and when I have least expected them. Peace, love, gratitude, joy and hope indeed are, with certitude, mine.


1) Have  you had an experience such as the one described in the blog? Tell us your story. How were you able to feel peace?

2) What cues in your life lead you to feel peace?

3) Do you have a unique strategy you use to transport you to a state of peace? Tell us what it is and how you use it.


Pure Flow: Grump Or Greet?

Steam_Roller.jpgIn this season of special greetings, I have to tell you that one of the biggest resentments I work on is feeling “steam-rolled” by holidays I do not invite in. They are guests that come too early and stay too long, and they cost money I don’t want to spend. So here I am, Dr. Happy, admitting that I am something like the grinch who stole Christmas, but alas, I can only steal it from myself.

So I remind myself of a time when I was a greeter at the door of social event. The event was in the evening, and I was tired and didn’t want to go. I kneStuck.jpgw it would be boring. I knew I would have to sit too long. But worst of all, I would greet and smile and act, not only like I was glad to be there, but that I was happy to see all these people. I don’t see myself as a greeter. I’m not good at cocktail parties or small talk. But I was filling in for a friend, and I was stuck. That’s the dangerous DownSpiral story I told myself.

As I greeted people, my story changed. I could observe myself, with my fake smile, changing to genuine pleasure at seeing folks, and humorous exchanges, hugs, and chit-chat that could have lasted longer had there been time. There just weren’t enough guests to greet and the evening flew by! I was so grateful, and I jump at any chance now to be a “greeter.”

But whatYin_Yang10.jpg is the nature of this change? Just getting out of myself? Too simple. Within me, at my choice to use them right on the spot, were skills and abilities, and caring and love that were so easy to tap with just my decision to do so. It is what we call that place of flow and zone.

I shake your hand, I kiss your cheek, I hug you, and I am me in this Oneness we share during these special holidays.

 Post your thoughts on flow. 

 Here are some questions to get you started. Feel free to respond to these or simply post your own thoughts!

1) Have you ever been in a situation similar to the one described in the blog? Tell us the story. What strengths did you engage to handle it?

2) How has the knowledge and use of your strengths helped you “change your story?”

3) What situations or experiences in your life put you most into “flow?” 


The Bermuda Triangle

Many addictionBermuda_Triangle.jpg groups call the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas and the New Year “The Bermuda Triangle.” They lose so many members, who can disappear back into their addictions, during what can be a difficult season. For many, it is filled with negative or unpleasant memories from which they have not learned the necessary lesson. They remain stuck in unforgiveness, blaming others for their unhappiness. Whatever the cause, the thoughts of people celebrating with great cheer can bring up memories of loss and hurt.

And so, because this season is so filled with emotions, it gives us an opportunity to look at the emotions that are easiest for us to feel. We can get to the emotions of hurt, anger, fear, loss, and loneliness in a mili-second. Getting to the feelings of love, peace, gratitude, joy; and hope can take longer.

For the next week, I’d like to focus us on one feeling. It is the feeling of HOPE. Feel the feeling of hope on the scale of the EmotioEmpty.jpgnal Gym. If “10” is a great amount of hope, just work at feeling it at a “1” or “2.” A little bit will do. Just do it. The opposite of hope is the feeling of running on an emotional “empty.”

There is a special cue you can use. Every time you are feeling overwhelmed, or like there just isn’t enough time to get everything done, go to the feeling of hope. Think of something that gives you a feeling of hope. If you can’t feel it, then think it. It will come.

Hope can be a timed, faltering emotion that is afraid to express itself for fear of being disappointed or let down. There has never been, in the history of the human race, a time more full of reason for HOHope11.jpgPE. Why can’t you see it or feel it? You get what you focus on. You increase wherever you place your attention.

This is not so much a season that destroys hope. It just erodes the presence of the forgotten emotion for which it is celebrated.




Here are some questions to get you started. Feel free to respond to these or simply post your own comments.

1.  Can you get to the feeling of hope without thinking of anything,
just feeling the feeling?  Tell us how you do it.

2.  When you pulse or chant the feeling of hope, what happens to
you? What do you experience?

3.  What assures you most of hope, as you look at your life?

Thinking INSIDE The Box

All of thScrooge.jpge popular advice is to “think outside the box.” But in this season of holiday cheer, we can get hard-pressed to find the cheer or the UpSpiral, if we have a vague sense of being taken over by something that starts to roll in like a storm, beginning with Christmas decorations in stores just after the Halloween scene goes down. God forbid that you should be called a “Scrooge,” and so you must ho-ho-ho with the best of them as you belt down another rum-laced eggnog.

Perhaps, though, it’s a great time to stay inside this box and let it do its work. Some of my favorite work on projection was created by Byron Katie. I strongly recommend her books and her website where you can watch her in action. I believe she’s a modern-day saint. If one of the requirements is to have worked a miracle, she has worked many of them.

It’s really simply this. In this box of holiday cheer- materialism, money, longing for more, more, more, and conscious of having less and less- let’s see if we can get in a place in the box where the goodness of the season, where its spirit can touch us and spiral us upward.

In Katie’s work, you ask yourself four questions and then do a turn around.

1. Is it true?
2. Is it absolutely true?
3. How do I feel when I think this way?
4. How do I feel when I just put this out of my mind?
5. The turn-aroundOut_of_the_Box.jpg

Let’s go to #5, the turn-around. Suppose you say, “I can’t stand all the expectations that are upon me during this season.”

The turn-around could be any of these:

I put these expectations upon me.
I allow others to put these expectations on me.
There are no real expectations upon me. I create them for myself.
I can’t stand myself for the expectations I put on myself all the time.

Where do you do it and how do you do it? When you get a sense of the turn-around statement that seems to fit, you’re on you’re way into the UpSpiral.

Only then do youOutside_The_Box.jpg get outside the box.

Some suggestions for the blog:

1. What is not right at this moment? What “should” be going on in another’s life? Or “out there” in general? What is this “in the box” thinking ready to teach you?

2. What holiday expectation rubs you the wrong way most? Run this belief through the 4 questions and then do a turn-around.

The Most Guaranteed Way Of Staying In The UpSpiral

Simply put, our Lotus8.jpggoal at the Applied Neuroscience Institute is to teach people how to get into an UpSpiral and stay there. Seems easy enough. We also believe that the guaranteed best and fastest way into the UpSpiral of feeling very good is to feel GRATITUDE. So what exactly happens when you are really grateful?

The brain receives the direction from the mind that something different is happening, and that it has to be received; it can’t be ignored, repressed or otherwise sidelined, as the brain can often do. Your brain can be hijacked but it cannot be diverted when you’re being grateful, particularly in an extended manner over a period of time.

Gratitude plugs right into the anterior cingulate, which is the “heart” of the brain. As it does, the amygdala, the brain’s center of fear and strong negativAnterior_Cingulate.jpge emotions, is shut down. That’s how powerful gratitude is. And one more thing. Your perception is sharpened and you start using your strengths.

In other words, the neurons in your brain are rapidly affected and there is a shift in consciousness. You begin to think and feel differently, especially when you learn to feel gratitude over time.

You have everyGratitude20.jpgthing you need to be perfectly happy right now. There is nothing that is going to happen later that will make you happier than are capable of being right now, if you’ll just do it. Whatever happiness you think you’re going to get from something that’s “going to happen” will wear off more quickly than you can imagine. Guaranteed.

YOU make YOURSELF happy. The most powerful tool you already have to get there is gratitude.

HINT: Start with simple, obvious things, and make a list of 100 things for which you are grateful.

Then go ahead and have a very, very joyous Thanksgiving.


I invite you to respond with your thoughts regarding your personal experience of gratitude.

These queBlog2.jpgstions may “prime” your thinking!

1. How is gratitude working ON you and FOR you right now? How are you using it?

2. Have you ever known anyone who seemed negative, ornery, or crabby, then changed to being more grateful? Tell us the story!

Vanity Isn’t So Fair

Vanity Fair. Vanity2.jpgWhat a great example of hearing something so often, as a part of our culture, that it never is really questioned. Tongue-in-cheek and clever intellectualizing from another era matters little. It’s dangerous when it comes to strengths. Real vanity is the opposite of your strengths, so long as you have been tested for your strengths and you know what they really are.

Vanity is essentially “playing it” to the outside world. It’s a mask to create an impression and get a reaction more related to status, power, and where we want to be in the pecking order. Everybody has it and does it, just like everybody has strengths and forgets to use them. Here’s the challenge. Use your strengths as much as youEye_Shadow.jpg use your eye shadow. Use your strengths as much as you do whatever those things you do that get people who notice you to like you better.

Pure vanity plays to the unique opposite of all of your strengths. You have an opposite to every strength. Addiction groups call it your character defect and pray to God for God to remove it, if it is God’s will. What a “god!” You need your character defect as a signal to you that you are not playing to its opposite: your character strength. Yes, the opposite of your character strengths are your character defects and they are, for each strength, unique to every person. Once you know Strengths10.jpgyour strengths, you can identify your defects and vice versa.

But here’s the most important and significant insight without getting tripped up in your vanity. The evidence is, from all research in the area, that the more you use your strengths, the happier you will be. The more you don’t, the more you hope that vanity will be fair.

The In Between

People seNegativity14.jpgem to have an investment in keeping their negative experience or in retaining for themselves that negative place where they can go. We tend not to give up our negativity until we have a more prolonged experience of the UpSpiral. This is due in part to the fact that it’s difficult to sustain an UpSpiral of positivity being until you get tested and find out what your real strengths are.

Most people are surprised by what their top ten strengths turn out to be. Knowing their strengths gives people permission to be who they really are by living their strengths and introduces whole new areas that heretofore have been taken for granted. But most of all, our strengths help us maintain the UpSpiral and to actually do it pretty easily.Going_Thru_The_Motions.jpg

But what is the “in between?” It’s a good place to start working in coaching. If people want to hold on to their belief in the importance of negativity, it’s best not to argue with that. Just leave it alone by going for the “in-between.” If you want to keep your really DownSpiral times, the really negative times, go ahead. You already have some times that are high in the UpSpiral; keep those as well.

Let’s go for the “in-between” sort of blah, flat-lined times that seem to be neither really good nor really bad. Let’s work at transforming the mid-spiral experiences into aSpiral66.jpgn UpSpiral. Work on the spaces of time when you are just going through the motions and decide to start to notice what you’re grateful for. Begin to use a strength that enables you to appreciate the world around you. Find a feeling to pulse. Make the feeling last in the middle of an “in-between” life experience and get this time higher into the UpSpiral.

The more you experience positivity being, the more you will want to remain in an UpSpiral. Start by boosting the “in-between.”

It Only Takes 20 Seconds…

…….to engaStop_Watch3.jpgge a neuron with a thought or feeling and to begin to build or continue to strengthen a neuropathway. Every thought you think and every feeling you feel “designs” the nature of your brain and the neuropathways that affect every mood, decision, and move. Every conversation you have and the music you listen to, the movies you attend, and the anger or resentment you won’t let go of, affect the activation of neurons.

While this sounds like an exaggeration, it is exactly this approach that is being used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Patients are taught to do something that will both change their thinking and their feeling. In place of exercising the old neuropathways of their OCD behavior, clients are taught to do something totally different that caGardening.gifuses them to refocus on some else, like gardening.

Your focus will create in your brain the object of your focus. Try to change the focus of your “feeling” experience. Your feelings will change your thoughts. It is also true that strong focused thoughts will change feelings, but you can’t Vortex11.jpgignore feelings and their power. Decide on a feeling that you want to feel this week- love, peace, gratitude, joy or hope, and then for a week, go to that feeling and feel it over and over again. Let every negative feeling be a cue to go to the positive.

Many people are obsessive about what they feel. They don’t feel positive feelings because they’ve been too obsessed with negative ones. Tend to your emotional garden and grow some stronger, more stable positive feelings.


Hopefulness-Where Do You Score?

You can find the level of your hopefulness by going to and taking Dr. Martin Seligman’s Optimism test for free! You will get a “hopefulness” score by taking the test.

One of the surprises for most people who take this test is that hopefulness is not just related to how we handle negative events, but also what we attribute to positive events. When something good happens, how permanent do you make that good thing? When something good happens, how much do you let that good thing affecQuit.jpgt everything else? Many of us are not so good at celebrating and savoring the positive before we move on to the next task to be accomplished.

On the contrary, we can be very good at making a negative event very permanent, and persistent in making this bad thing affect everything else in our day or week.

So, one very basic rule iSpread_the_Word.jpgs to celebrate the good, make it last, and spread it around. When something is negative, don’t make it so permanent or lasting and don’t let it affect everything in your life. We have a great deal more difficulty experiencing hope when we pass over the good too quickly and dwell on the negative.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute