Archive - November 2010

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…

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.


Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute