Archive - 2012

Consciousness Creates The Forms & The Things
Our Logo & Purpose: The Journey To Feeling Good
Your Negative Mind On A TAPER DOWN
Tapering Positive Emotion
When Have You Been A HERO?
Freedom Leads To Undiscovered Freedoms
Where Is Your Focus?
Glucocorticoids Or The NeuroPositive Mind?
Two Different Brain Channels For Remembering Negativity & Trauma Differently
The Seeds Of Wanting, The Reality of Having

Consciousness Creates The Forms & The Things

As a new year is ushered in with the seeming “all or nothing” of one year ending and another one beginning, we know that the same processes are in motion and that only a number has changed. 

My only resolution is to do what I can to raise my consciousness.  In doing so I am bringing along the process we believe in at ANI.  We carry it forth with a new number that marks a new year, but a deeper conviction and fuller results that our process grows consciousness with simplicity and elegance.

I’m going to put it in a nutshell: it’s what we’re all about.

It all begins with learning how to stay in an UpSpiral of positivity by deciding to do so and by learning to grow positive emotional muscle.  The capacity to experience more freedom and more significant “positive emotion” is the critical first step.

Learn what your strengths are and how to grow them, and learn when you are playing to your weaknesses as the red flag of when you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Learn how to be in flow, “one with the music,” with small things in your life. The greater opportunities for flow will certainly then come.

Stay in flow long enough, work on it for a long enough period of time, that you can give rise to the real desires of your heart and write them all down.

Form these desires into six malleable (this means that they can change) workable five year goals.  Every three months identify the 3 next right steps for each goal and do them.  When you do the next doors will open.

If your goals are truly reflective of your hearts desires, naming six of them will identify your vision in life or put you pretty nearly close to it.  If you are fooling yourself about what you real goals are, your vision will elude you.

Once you have identified your life vision, be open to how people and situations will come to you to enable you to fulfill this vision.

That’s it.  It is elegantly simple and that’s why most of our students have been so successful in working the program.  But like life, you’ve got to decide you want to live in an UpSpiral and to find out what you really want.

But the most essential thing is, once again, deciding and learning to stay in an UpSpiral and growing positive emotional muscle, getting really good at feeling what you want to feel, when you want to feel it.  Exercise neuroplasticity and grow the brain that can and will do this.

There you  have it.  That’s the core of it.  Simplicity is elegance and this is an elegant process of growing consciousness. 

This emerging consciousness will create the forms and structures of reasoning and reality that will create the things, the adventures, and the toys. 

Play nice! 

Happy New Year!

Our Logo & Purpose: The Journey To Feeling Good

Our logo of an UpSpiral is a particularly significant symbol.  It mirrors what growing a NeuroPositive mind is like.  The higher you get up the spiral, the broader and more expansive life becomes.   It is easier to identify choices and easier to move in the direction of them.  But the journey up the spiral is just that –it’s “up.”  It’s an incline and many times a sharp learning curve.  The best way to make it up this spiral is a little bit at a time, what we have called “the taper.” 

And just like life, the DownSpiral journey is much faster and easier.  There are many reasons why negativity is a faster journey downward than the journey up to greater and greater positivity, thriving, and health.  We have learned to escape in fear and dread much better than we have learned to feel positive emotion, to identify scientifically what strengths we have that help us, and more difficulty in identifying a state of flow where we are “one with the music” and stay there.  For generations and generations, the focus of our culture has been much more on the correction of weaknesses and mistakes than it has been on growing precise areas where we are strong and capable.

However, it is much easier to get into and stay in an UpSpiral if you move the ball up the spiral just a little bit at a time.  We believe that begins by learning how to feel positive emotions and how to practice them.  We are not at all well-educated emotionally.  We don’t spend much time teaching people what to feel or how to feel.  We spend no time at all helping people identify feelings that are appropriate and helpful from those that are not.  In fact, what we have told people is that whatever you feel is “ok.” 

We have told people that feelings are so personal that you have the right feel whatever you want to feel. We have taught people that feelings are feelings and that you just have to accept them.

We have taught people the lesson that “feelings are feelings” and that you do not have to behave from your feelings.  That’s true, but it’s just not practical because we do behave from our feelings and they are so extremely important that we cannot make decisions without our emotions.  People whose emotional capacity has been lost simply cannot make decisions.

People have been told that feelings do not have a “morality,” that they just “are.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Feelings of anger, hate, and resentment may not be acted upon but they are always expressed in one way or another even if that expression is withdrawal and silence. Withdrawal and silence from another can be a worse punishment than acting out negative behavior.  Feelings have a morality and every feeling you feel isn’t ok.

People have practiced anger, hate, resentment, jealousy, and other negative feelings to such an extent that they have harmed themselves and others.  You can get stuck in negative feeling states.  You can practice them so much that they come way too easily in degrees that are far disproportionate to the cause.

If we practiced positive emotions as much as we practice negative emotions, we would have a much different world.  Instead we teach people that feelings “just are” and that any old feeling to any degree for however long you want to hold is “just ok” –after all, it’s your feelings.  Hear this.  It is your feeling and it is your feeling affecting you and those around you.

What we want most is to “feel good.”  All of the things we chase and want are rooted in wanting to “feel good.”  All of our lies, sins, hard work, savings, education, health, whatever it may be, are because what we want most is to “feel good.”  There are things that get in the way of knowing that, but it’s a basic truth.

People who cannot feel positive emotion easily have a hard time feeling good.  We have taught people that you have to solve all of your issues and work through all of your problems and weaknesses to “feel good,” when nothing could be further from the truth.

Feeling good always starts with your decision that you want to go there, be there, and stay there.

Can we always “feel good” or should we?  No, flat out no, not always.  We all know how to suffer and feel negatively all too well.  No further permission is needed to go there.  But it is for sure true that we could spend a whole lot more time “feeling good” if we made it our intention to do so.  That is the decision that stops the ball from rolling freely up and down the spiral based on whatever happens on the outside of you and starts to put you in control of which way you want that little red ball that is your emotional state to go. Up or down?  Where do you want to go?  We are guaranteed, in the American constitution that the “pursuit of happiness” is a human right.

It takes a decision to make it a pursuit.  We pursue happiness by LEARNING to be happy and we start by our ability and emotional capacity to experience 5 emotions: gratitude, peace, love, joy and hope.  It is your right to feel them. They are within you, they are yours, and you can have them by exercising and growing them.  This is the first and hardest journey up the Spiral: learning to command emotion, especially to grow positive emotional muscle.

This is the first step in all of our work and to do it you need to be able to get to positive emotion (immediacy), learn to make it last (duration) and finally, after much practice, learn to increase that positive emotion (intensity).  These are the three measures of “emotional muscle”– immediacy, duration, and intensity.  Learn to do them as well with positive emotion as you have learned to do them with negative emotion!  It needs to be learned without any cause other than you want to feel these emotions. 

And so we practice them, we taper them in just a little bit each day feeling gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, pulsing each of these five emotions.  They are tapered in on a scale of 1-10.  If 10 is feeling an enormous amount of hope, start at a “1” and just feel a little bit of hope.  Give your brain a jog and start to work those neuropathways that need exercise.  Use it or you lose it.

Our Emotional Gym™ is the first push of this ball up the spiral.  Learn to pulse positive emotion and you will create a new ambient sound track for your life.  If you can’t learn to handle positive emotion, none of the rest of your choices is going to matter much.


Your Negative Mind On A TAPER DOWN

In growing the NeuroPositive mind, the negative mind tapers down.  Your negative mind is not something that decreases all at once.  Picture your negative mind as major neuropathways that affect every day of your life.  We have spent a lot of time being more negative, self-critical, and aware of our weaknesses than we would have wished.  It has been a part of our culture to focus on weaknesses and to correct them in order to be “well-rounded” –what ever in the world that is.  You have my sympathies if you waste your time trying to do it. 

Your weaknesses will change very little over a lifetime, but your strengths, what is really good about you, can grow infinitely.

However, as much as we work to help people become more neuro-positive and to reap the benefits of better health and well-being, greater access to strengths, and a host of other good things, it is also difficult to keep them aware that negativity doesn’t just disappear.

We don’t just become happier over night.  It takes a long time to change a predisposition to negativity.  It takes a long time to undo negative and critical thought patterns that make you feel “less than” and that cause you to see the world around you with less gratitude and awe than you would if you felt better.

Tapering down negative feelings and thoughts means that they are going to come back and haunt you for a while.  These are established patterns of negative thinking that you’ve spent a long time cultivating. 

Things like “shoulda, coulda, woulda”, mind-reading, fortune-telling, and a host of other kinds of negative thinking die a slow death. It is very much like an addiction.

I remember once when I was in a new kitchen in a different house, and one day I turned to go to the refrigerator in the old house that I hadn’t been in for 17 years.  I had turned in that old kitchen to that old refrigerator thousands of times, and here I was 17 years later still turning, on this one occasion, toward that old refrigerator.  We have all had similar experiences where we have experienced the “ghostings” of past behavior.

It will be the same with negative emotion.  We have this wonderful tool called “The Emotional Gym” to exercise and build positive emotional muscle.  But even after working it for a long time, with diligence and persistence, old negative feelings are still going to be a challenge from time to time. 

I wrote in the first paragraph of my book, Growing the Positive Mind, that you do it by leaning in a positive direction over time.  Notice my use of words “lean” and “over time.”

I didn’t say “fall” in the direction of what is positive and I surely didn’t say do it immediately.  What we encourage is doing this a little over a long period of time.  It’s a lean– a slow, steady lean that causes you to increase in your UpSpiral maybe a point or 2 a week or a month until you get from the 60 where you started to the 95 where we tell you that you can be most every day of your life.

Put in a more complex way, our nerves have a refractory phase, a rest phase after firing, and we sort of retreat.  That is what happens when we are firing a whole lot of positive neuropathways.  They will rest, maybe even retreat, if we have been at an extreme.

In your growth toward a more positive UpSpiral, don’t be discouraged if one day you are at a 90 and the next day you’re at a 72.  We bounce around for a while until this slow, steady growth creates a new default setting of good feelings, rather than anxiety or dread or mistrust of the day. 

If you had a stroke it would take you a good deal of time and effort to regain some of your movement.  Negativity is something like a stroke.  Too much of it used in the wrong way, which is usually the case, has killed off a lot of positivity, a lot of good feelings. 

So taper down the negative feelings a little at a time, and taper up the positive ones, with a lean in the positive direction.  Learn to pulse a little joy, a little hope, a little love throughout your day, just a little, and taper it in. 

All of this will come much easier if you are gentle with yourself and if you sneak up on your negative neuropathways. 

They will react less to a slow, steady move toward the neuropositive renewal of your life.

Tapering Positive Emotion

You HAVE to TAPER in positive emotion for life-long change.

I am always critical of the way we prescribe psychotropic medications in this country, especially for mild to moderate depression and psychological diagnoses.  We think that one size fits all, or if not, that the pill should be bigger. 

I beat a drum that says that some medications, if any are needed at all, should begin with much, much smaller doses –that even at 0.5 milligrams, some things are too much for some people.  Absorption and adaptation are not the same for everyone.

I pray for the day that before psychiatrists give anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-psychotic medications, that they first ask what the person eats and insists on a “right-for-them” nutritional diet.  I pray for the day that we tell mild to moderately depressed people that they have to have an exercise program in their life before they get a prescription for anti-depressants.  Diet and exercise first, then pills, if still necessary– that is what I believe should happen. 

Our pills treat too many symptoms and not enough causes, and in treating the symptoms create more problems.

At the Applied Neuroscience Institute, we work on increasing positivity and sustaining mood through learning and education that is actually changing the neuroplasticity of the brain.  We call this “growing in an UpSpiral.”  We aim to create a “predisposition,” something like a reservoir, toward the better mood and happier days.

We work to increase what we have named NeuroPositivity.  We believe in the power of an UpSpiral in all areas of life.

We believe that the most significant intervention for positivity is the capacity to feel positive emotion and to increase “positive emotional muscle.” We measure emotional muscle in three dimensions.  Immediacy is the capacity to get to a positive emotion instantly.  Duration is the capacity to sustain a positive emotion over time.  Intensity is the ability to raise, at will, the level of a positive emotion to a higher state. 

Sound impossible?  You do it very well with negative emotions. You are champions at negative immediacy, duration and intensity.  And there is the challenge.  Grow as much positive emotional muscle as you have negative emotional explosiveness, stubbornness, and resentment.

The research abounds with evidence about why this works and works well.  You can read about it in our NeuroMedia Library on this website and you can read about it in my books.

One of the hardest things about elevating positive mood and people becoming happier has to do with ”tapering in” positive emotion.  It is confounding to deal with why people “just forget” to do some of the wonderful, fun, and rewarding assignments we give them.  It is amazing that people have a very difficult time remembering and memorizing what is really, really good about them.  These are the strengths that all of us have. 

We have truly wonderful strengths, at least 10 of them.  But it is much easier to remember the near opposite of those strengths that are our weaknesses, and it is much easier to behave from those weaknesses because they are more learned and practiced.

Even after working with people to memorize their strengths, the strengths often slip away, particularly at times when they could most be used.  Why is that?

People report that after feeling very positive, they feel negative for no reason at all.  Why would that be?

Actually this is not surprising.  Moving ahead too quickly with what is positive and with positive feelings can be a little like taking too much medication too soon when it should have been tapered.  This is what the explosive positive psychology movement has yet to learn and integrate.

Negativity and negative moods are learned.  They are more than temperament. They are often like addictions when we are very used to certain patterns of moods and when we are accustomed only to certain sets of negative feelings.  People have generally practiced negative emotion more than they have experienced creating, by their own choice, positive ones.

Changing negativity can be like withdrawal.  When we are full of joy for three days, there is also a refractory action of the nerves to snap back and withdraw to states of rest that are disguised as negative moods like grouchiness or being crabby. 

The snap back can be like sadness or feeling down.  The brain is trying to restore a sense of the former balance or homeostasis.  The brain is not used to what will eventually become the new normal.

That is why we say when people begin to practice positive emotions, do so a little at a time.  We tell them, do not, on a scale of 1-10, go out and make yourself feel joy at an 8 for 3 days. 

Much more important is to taper in the positive feeling of joy at a low-grade of a 1 or a 2 or a 3.  Feel just a little of the emotion.  In a sense you are sneaking up on the brain and on systems of negativity that are like addictions.  This is a gradual change to feel gratitude, love, peace, joy and hope when you choose to rather than waiting for experiences that give you permission.

In a situation of addiction, neuropathways that have been fed oxygen and glucose for a long time are experiencing withdrawal.  They aren’t getting the attention or nourishment they are used to and they snap back to survive.  Just as it takes a long time for a bad habit to die and for an addiction to lose its power, it is much the same with negative thinking and negative emotion.  These are established neuropathways that die hard.  The neuroplasticity of the brain is more hard-wired that we want to believe.  That doesn’t mean that a negative mind cannot become a positive one.  It simply means that it must be tapered.

The experience of neuropositivity that we call growth into an UpSpiral grows slowly by being tapered over time.  And there are often set-backs.

I believe that overcoming negative patterns of emotion is no less difficult than withdrawal from alcohol or drugs.  In fact, I believe the process is even more difficult.  What we will come to find is that our learned patterns of negativity and a billion neuropathways that are changing die a slow death.  Our negativity is as automatic to us as OCD behaviors that can change over time.

I believe that food is the most difficult “substance” that is addictive.  However, I also believe that negativity is harder to curb and break, as patterns of thought and feeling, than food.  Food is so difficult because we have to eat.  How much more so is it the case that we have to think and feel?

Addicts can certainly live with out opiates and alcohol, but you can’t live without food and without thinking and feeling.

Becoming more positive, with all of the benefits that it brings, takes time.  It will be filled with slips and discouragement and “forgetting” because the brain is getting used to building whole new neuropathways of feeling and thinking.

It is far more important to increase in an UpSpiral one or two points a week than to make big jumps of feeling and mood.  It is the gradual lean in the positive direction over time that is far more important.

On a scale of 1 to 10, if 10 is great happiness, it is more significant to on-going levels of happiness to experience it at 1 or 2 or 3 everyday for a month than to have one experience of “10” a month.

Promise 1 in my book, Growing the Positive Mind reads:  You can feel the positive emotions that you choose to feel if you lean your consciousness consistently and gently over time in that positive direction.

Taper this positive growth into your life and consciousness.

When Have You Been A HERO?

We are moved by heroism.  Something within us identifies with what seems to transcend our humanness and make us, for the good, better than we thought we could be.

These four photos are about heroism.  A dog is swept from a bridge into the river below by a gust of wind.  A passer-by sheds his clothes and jumps in the stormy water and saves the small dog.  We are inspired.

We are wired to be inspired by motives that transcend our ordinary human endeavors.  Stories of greatness inspire us because we are wired to identify and go beyond the ordinary.

We can be brave when we never thought we could.  We can be enduring and steadfast when we thought we could never hold our ground.  We can do the impossible when we never considered that we could.

You have felt moments of strong positive emotion when an Olympic athlete soared to a new, higher success.  You have been awed by beauty that is profound.  You have been “moved.”  This capacity to be moved, to identify with greatness, truth, and with what seems transcendent, is hard-wired into all of our brains.  We are, you might say, made for it.

We use an UpSpiral Score from 1-100 as a measure of subjective well-being and a way of talking about increasing positive emotion.  The top of our scale is “feeling good” and it is at 100.  We figure that “feeling good” is enough of a goal for everyday human living. 

We encourage people to most of their lives from a 95-100 because most of us can.  There are negatives that can pull us down, but when we make it our intention, much f our lives can be lived near this 100 of “feeling good.” You just have to learn how.

What is beyond 100?

Let’s consider what is above 100 and let’s start with inspiration.  Above 100 is this human capacity we have for awe, for wonder, and for acts of bravery and courage that take us beyond ourselves.  A great gift you give yourself, and perhaps the most significant gift for this holiday season, is the capacity to think about what inspires you. 

What lifts you to a greater sense of goodness?  In short, when were you a hero?  And equally as important in recognizing that is to ask yourself :  “How would I like to be a hero?  

What greater cause or greater good, either for myself or for others, would I like to make mine?  What greater good can I be a part of?  Where can I be a hero?  What cause pulls me to a greater level of my humanness because I choose it and because I choose to identify with it?

What strengths do you have which naturally and joyfully guide you to know and live out your personal “heroism?”

We are created for heroism. We are made of the stuff of inspiration. We are greater and more than we thought we were or could be. 

In this moment, what calls for your courage?

Freedom Leads To Undiscovered Freedoms

The Lincoln Movie…

150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation.

I saw the new movie “Lincoln” and a particular statement credited to Lincoln jumped out at me.  In the journey to abolishing slavery, a major fear was what would this new freedom mean, what would it unleash?  Even those in favor of abolishing slavery were voting against the amendment to abolish it because they could not foretell the consequences.

Could it be that what we fear most is freedom and its consequences? 

Marianne Williamson may be correct in her famous quote that what we most fear is our own power.

What Lincoln is able to get his detractors to consider is that freedom on one level raises our consciousness to recognize where we are not free, and to seek even greater freedoms.

Freedom begets freedom, enslavement begets enslavement.  This is exactly what we know to be true about living increasingly in an UpSpiral of greater and greater personal freedom.  In an UpSpiral we are freer to choose our action and we have greater access to our strengths. 

We are less bound by the narrowing of negativity and broadened by the greater freedom of “feeling good” to choose those things that make our life better.  We are freer to recognize and to choose what makes our life move in the direction of greater freedom and less personal oppression.

The UpSpiral is about ending the enslavement and oppression that we most of all create for ourselves.  It is about freeing ways in which we hold ourselves bound by habitual choices that are negative and that do not give an optimal sense of living our own lives. 

Our greatest oppression and enslavement is not living the freedom that is ours or that we free ourselves to experience.  And when we do, deeper and deeper levels of knowing what freedom can be emerge.

Lincoln was absolutely right. Becoming freer at one level lead to a greater realization of freedom we don’t have or don’t allow ourselves to have.

We have an enormous freedom to just “feel good.”  That is what our UpSpiral at “100” represents– simply feeling good.  That is what we most want –to feel good. 

We want the resources and advantages that are ours to lead to “feeling good” rather than the ways we can oppress ourselves. 

Life in an UpSpiral of “feeling good” is a journey from personal enslavement to greater and greater freedom.   The Emancipation Proclamation dates to 9/22/1862.  We are living 150 years after that proclamation and we are still moving from enslavement to freedom. 

The greatest freedom is the capacity to exercise the freedom we already have.  We do not do that living in a DownSpiral of negativity. All of the research is telling us that we do this from the freer dimension of life of an UpSpiral.

How free are you?  What is your enslavement?  What feelings of negativity and what self-limiting thoughts and beliefs enslave you to a lesser good and a lesser life?  How do you exercise the freedom to live in an UpSpiral and choose for that dimension of life that creates and allows life, your life, to more freely evolve?

Your brain is wired for freedom.

How are you cooperating?

Where Is Your Focus?

Where is your focus? 


What do you want, want, want, want, WANT?

We have been conditioned to believe that the past determines the future, when it is actually the future that determines the present.

How you see the future, not how you are bound by the past, is much more important.

What we believe the future will be and imagining into that future creates the vitality of the present. 

It is the source of creativity in the present and it is the essence of hope, possibility, and vitality.

We usually do not spend a great deal of time thinking about the future after we are 10 or 12, but we do have a very powerful, vague idea of how it is going to be.  It is taking that vague notion of the future and filling it with dreams, goals, and the power of the imagination that changes our mind-set from being fixed to being open and available for growth.

Just as an exercise, imagine six impossible things before breakfast.  You will be using parts of your brain that are vital to the overall health of your brain.

Read this one more time:  It is the future that determines the present.  It is your vague, almost unconscious notion of the future that is doing a great big job on you, your mood, your apprehensions, and your daily zest, vitality and creativity.

The left frontal lobe of your brain, just to name one part, is about visioning and direction. It works in tandem with the right hemisphere to get the “whole picture” and then to make choices about future directions.  If you don’t use this part of your brain for this purpose of visioning, it goes over and over the sorting process of what is simply there already –round and round and round.  If you don’t use this part of your brain, you dwell on the mundane, what the neighbors are doing, and you talk more about other people than you talk about ideas.

We have a scale call a VibeCore.  It is an equation with 3 parts:  Knowing what you want from 1-100.  100 is knowing with open precision what you want and having some clear goals about what you are pursuing.  Zero is being clueless about what you want your life to be about and where you really want to put your time. 

The second part of the equation is “Belief,” believing you will get what you want.  100 is certitude that you will get what you want and zero is protecting yourself from wanting anything for fear that you will be disappointed if you don’t get it. It is like burying your talents. 

Your belief is not just a simple idea of “faith.”  It always correlates with how much you know and using and growing your real strengths.

The third dimension of our VibeCore is “openness” to all the ways that what you want can come, in many different packages and at many different times.  100 is great receptivity to diversity and zero is holding on to an airtight goal with an airtight description and an airtight time frame.  The air is so tight that you don’t breathe enough oxygen.

Then we add up all three scores and divide them by 3 and that score is your VibeCore.  It is your vibration of energy that is calling forth from around you what you want from life.  It is an energy that emits and that others read.

What do you think your future will bring?  What are you expecting?  What is most influencing your future, the evening news report and the stock exchange numbers, the size of your bank account, or the size of your imagination?  No invention, no real progress was ever brought to fruition without imaging some greater part of the process.  The point of change is when we get off the problem and say, “what’s next?” 

The Mind will answer back from the open empty part, not the problem-filled focus.

You have an idea of the future, and it is much more significant than your past.  Unearthing your past will not engage your future.  Transformational moments happen when we begin to imagine possibilities.  If you have to dig up your past to get to the place where you can do that, then do it. 

But if you don’t, just consider this: what is possible?

Glucocorticoids Or The NeuroPositive Mind?

Which will it be for you?

Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University has identified the activity of glucocorticoids as the result of stress that reduces the size of the hippocampus in the brain.  The particular kind of stress affecting aging that can cause even our DNA to age faster is related to the experience of oppression. 

This oppression is usually caused by being a part of a structure or a system that causes one to feel that “things are on top of me,”  that a person doesn’t have control over their life being affected in major ways by a source other than themselves. 

It is the sense that all or most control and one’s fate rests unpredictably outside of one’s self.  This is certainly the case with traumatic events, but it also is the case with chronic stress over a period of time that results in the sense of being “oppressed” or “it’s on top of me, I’m not on top of it.” 

There are certainly circumstances of oppression that exist in systems and cultures, but oppression can also exist as a matter of perception.  The perception of freedom or control can be very idiosyncratic.

There are for sure events and systems that are oppressive, but it is just as true that we can be very sloppy and careless about what we allow to oppress us.  Even a series of little things can be oppressive if they are cumulative, and that’s usually what gets us.  We are generally pretty good at handling the big stressors in life.  We are not so good at handling cumulative smaller ones as we let them grind us without sorting out two things:  (1) Our response to these stressors and (2) The reservoir of positivity we build to deal with negativity. 

If we do not have a pretty rich and deep reservoir of positivity, the cumulative small events of life become stressors in themselves, or they become cumulative and we too easily begin to feel that things are on top of us.  We can talk all we want about catastrophizing and awfullizing, and while that insight can be helpful, it doesn’t produce long-terms results unless we learn to respond differently to negative events from having lived and developed what we call a “neuropositive life.” 

This means that we become, over a period of time, wired to go to the positive in both feelings and thoughts.  We call this wiring of neuropathways “NeuroPositive Wiring.”  It builds upon already existing internal strengths as our major neuropathways. These are the super highways of the real or ideal self.  This takes practice.  We are not automatically positive in the face of small or larger stressors.  It usually has to be learned.  Stressors grind at us because they are continual and always present.

Our response to stressors and the way we manage oppression, whether or not we create it for ourselves, lies in whether we are “NeuroNegative” or “NeuroPositive” in our responses to stressors and real or perceived oppression.

Our neuropositive response to stressors can be elegantly simple, if we have learned it and it is wired-in.  Get to a positive feeling place, if only a slight shift.  Go to a strength and ask your strength, “How do I manage this from my strength?”  Just asking the questions increases the shift, because the strength can begin to talk to you, but usually only if you can get out of a negative feeling place, if you can make a slight shift to a positive feeling.  We can do this by learning to pulse positive emotion. 

Most of us never learned that we can grow positive emotion intentionally.  Emotions are reactive indicators, but we can also control emotions and use them by choice.  We have the power to decrease positive emotion and we have the power to increase positive emotion.  We have just not been taught how to do it.  We have far more control over positive emotions, that is not negative denial, than we believe that we do.  You can train your brain to go to a positive emotion with immediacy, you can make that positive emotion last (duration) and you can increase that positive emotion for long periods of time at will (intensity).  When you can do that, go to a strength.

If you go to a strength and talk to your strength, ask it questions and it doesn’t answer back and give you more insights into a shift in perception and problem-solving, then back away and leave it alone for a while.  Or, if you can’t leave it alone, and you need an immediate solution, ask the hero you have assigned to that strength, “What would you do in this situation?”  What would your hero do?  How would your hero, that embodies this strength for you, behave in this situation?  Your hero will usually give you some very definite information and also remind you that you are likely not coming from your strength, but from its opposite –from a place of weakness. 

We are not taught to play to our strengths, we are not even taught to find them and use them scientifically.  We are certainly not taught to allow them to unfold in a process that is becoming our real or ideal self.  We are not taught to grow a neuropositive mind.  Most of us have been taught to grow a neuro-negative mind.  A neuro-negative mind focuses on the problem, focuses on weaknesses, sinks its energy into getting over something or fixing or resolving something, and then feels negative and guilty when the “solutions” usually don’t work for the short-term, much less over the long haul.

A neuropositive mind is grown.  It is the identification of major neuropathways in the brain that are already positive and that, when tapped, can grow and grow and grow.  These major neuropathways flourish into “flow,” what we call a strong “vibe-core” and then they emerge in clear definitions of personal wants and desires.  These wants and desires, nourished from the major pathways in the brain, reveal themselves as goals, vision, meaning-making and a sense of deep personal significance.

Interested in learning how to do this?  Interested in learning how to measure this kind of neuropositive growth?  Interested in results that last?  Interested in focusing on something other than healing your blocks or working through your weaknesses and issues?  Then learn how to grow a neuropositive mind.  Learn how to tap the deep positive resources that already exist within you and are waiting to be mined by effective interventions that are the education of the mind, based on research and not psychotherapy for healing disorder.

We have three courses that lead to licensing as an NPC, a NeuroPositive Life Coach.

Here’s the menu:

Course 1
The Neuroscience Research: 
What you need to know.

Course 2
The Methodology: 
How to do it.

Course 3
The Practicum: 
Sharpening the skills of effective and lasting NeuroPositive interventions.

For more information, click here.

Call us at 760.636.1400

The instructors of these courses are Yale and Harvard educated

Dr. William K. Larkin
Dr. Donald B Johnson


Two Different Brain Channels For Remembering Negativity & Trauma Differently

In the blog two weeks ago, I cited research on 2 separate tracks in the brain for processing negative events and memories.  At that time I promised a “Part 2” which would deal with past negative memories and how we deal with them in a positive restorative way, that is not psychoanalytical or traditionally insight oriented.

The Armed Services has been doing something like this with soldiers who have suffered PTSD in battle in Iraq.  Some of these soldiers have actually physically been transported back to Iraq to the scenes of violence and trauma to view public projects that have been completed, schools that have been built, and the good that has come as a result of their efforts.

What I call our “NeuroPositive Psychoanalytic Coaching” is also an activity of recall and association.  Remember from our earlier research article that one track of the brain submerges and denies negative events and another associates them with something pleasant. Instead of recalling negative events, talking about them and giving them extra attention with the notion that “airing” them gives long-term relief, we do something quite different.

We ask people to list the negative events that occurred in the last year of their lives and then we ask them to find some benefit that came from or could come from those events, and to share in a small group setting, usually 3 –what we call a “pod.”  When negative events are framed with first the questions of what was or could be a benefit or something good from the event, and then followed by probing how that was the case, participants always come up with answers. These answers are essentially using the larger, wider more creative capacities of the right hemisphere to unblock memories stuck in the left hemisphere.

The left hemisphere remembers negative memories, but not necessarily as they were.  It often remembers them within a specific negative or hurtful framework.  Other details that may not have been true become added, and almost always are either incorrect or out of order in a significant way that alters the memory and the sense of truth of the event.  The left hemisphere does not hold memories in necessarily accurate order, perspective, or fact, and it many cases it “doctors” them to fit the rationalizations and resentments that surround them.

Asking questions like “what were the benefits?… what good did or could come of this?… or “where one door closed another door opened, what do you think it was?” alters the left hemisphere thought process, activates the broader, fair, and more creative right hemisphere, and begins to facilitate a broader, more whole brain, synchronous, and accurate picture and sense of the event.  The result is almost always the feeling of relief. Then we ask these same people to go back through the most recent five years, then the most recent 10, and then the next 10, until they have gone back, week by week, to childhood events. 

It is amazing to see perceptions change and to hear that the story of difficulty, hurt, and even trauma begins to be told differently when different questions are asked.

When you ask people to remember or relive a negative memory for the sake of “airing” it or “getting it out in the open,” little long-term, lasting change occurs.  In fact, the need to tell it again and again and again begins to set it in more deeply.

When you challenge people to remember a negative memory in regard to what benefits have occurred, or in the light of what good has come from the negative, whole perspectives begin to change that make the hurt and the suffering either easier to bear or more lifted and free.

When we think differently about negativity, we use different parts of the brain, and very often, the story we tell becomes different– more accurate and relieving.

The Seeds Of Wanting, The Reality of Having

How is it that you are thinking you don’t already have what you think you need?

In the seed of our wanting is the reality of our having.  Our wanting always springs from some of level of what we have and can’t or don’t recognize.  We think that our wants are for this or that thing, or this or that relationship, or even health.  However, what we are hoping is that what we are wanting will satisfying some deeper longing for a sense of love or satisfaction or security.  It is not that the wanting is wrong in any way.  We must have these wants and desires that move us forward to create and to live more fully.

However, a secret that is flowing through our world that helps create the next set of wonderful things, is the way we know that what we need already exists somewhere, somehow in our world, and that we begin by recognizing how much of it we have. A facelift, a new car, a new home, more money, and a lover, even an education or health can certainly improve our lives, but the essence of what we hope they will bring is already existing in our present lives if we will take the time to search, discover, and savor.

This is a not an admonition to not go after a facelift, a new home, or a new lover.  It is the awareness that what we want them to provide already, right now, exists in our world if we will notice, find it, and appreciate it.  Contentment often lies more in the greater appreciation of what we have than in the acquisition of what we think we need to find in it.

The most exciting time in a business is not when it has become a success and the journey of struggle is left behind. It is in the journey toward the success.  All of the invigorating, eager, hopeful desires of excitement and adventure and the wonders of succeeding are there. 

Staying on top of the “success heap” can often be much less interesting than the journey to get there.

It is not that we have to learn to be satisfied with what we have.  That is not the goal.  It is learning that in the kernel of what we want are the clues to realizing that we already have it and, in knowing that, the journey is much more filled with joy than with the agony of worry and the driveness of the fear of not achieving success. 

The success is not only in the trying. It is in discovering that the kernel of what you want the success or the object of your desire to give you is already present in your life.  It takes away the fear and makes the journey much more filled of peace and joy.

That which I am seeking already exists within me.  When I know that, what I am seeking shows up even more because I have the eyes to see it when it does, in whatever form that might take.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute