Archive - August 2012

1
The Soul Ache
2
How Do You Create Your Moods?
3
What’s Your EDS-Emotional Default Setting?
4
Take Back Your Territory

The Soul Ache

Your soul aches when you are in a DownSpiral of negative emotion and experience because the DownSpiral is characterized by a vacuum.  That DownSpiral vacuum has to be filled because it is a vacuum absent of who you really, really are.  We compulsively fill a DownSpiral vacuum with anything at hand.  Sometimes the closest things at hand are anxiety, worry, doubt, fear, and dread.  But we also fill it with a sense of emptiness, the deep ache that we seem not to be able to massage, ever.

The DownSpiral ache is not knowing who you are, not experiencing the “you” that is divine –the part of you that is your essence.

There are a thousand empty spaces in the day when you let your mind just wander.  Or you can take over and tell your brain, “Brain, go to gratitude, brain, go to peace, peace, peace, peace.”  You can look at the world around you and say, “Brain, go to joy, joy, joy, joy.”  You can sit and think of someone you love and say “Brain, go to love, love, love, love,” and you can send that love, as surely as invisible waves travel from one device to another, to someone who needs it.

Your brain runs best in a state that is called “brain synchrony” that most matches happiness. Your brain runs best on “feeling good.”

Worry, which is negative thinking about the future, most depletes the psychic energy that produces brain synchrony. Whether or not you use all of your brain doesn’t really matter so much as where you spend each day’s allotment of your psychic energy. Over time, it is this, more than anything else, that will determine your abiding consciousness. You only have a certain amount each day.  It’s part of your biology. Use it well or you get tired during the day and burn-out over the long-term.

Practice feeling the positive states: love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope. Even if you feel them just a little bit at first, you will eventually be able to feel them more. Every negative is just a cue to go to a quiet inner chant: “Peace, peace, peace, peace, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”  And if you can’t feel it, think it, just keep thinking it and the reality will follow. It has to because that’s what you’re made of.

The only thing that fills the DownSpiral vacuum is you experiencing the “you” that is your essence.  Where do you find that?  It’s really very, very simple.  You find it in your strengths.  How do you find them?  Also, very simple.  Today we can test you and tell you what they are. Once people know what their strengths are they no longer say such things like:  “I don’t know who I really I am.”  “I don’t know what I really want.”  “I don’t know where I’m going”.  The start of filling the vacuum of the DownSpiral isn’t in fixing your weaknesses.  It is finding and growing your strengths everyday.

Your weaknesses change very little over a lifetime, maybe 3-5%, and then they only change in the face of using your strengths.  Your strengths, on the other hand, are infinitely malleable.

Your “soul ache” is that you don’t really know what your strengths are. 

It is hard to believe that the most central truth and core of you is love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope. These realities live at the very core of you. Monks spend years in silence and solitude getting at what lives at their core. Those who practice yoga can spend years getting to the core of the joy that resides at their inner core.

Undaunted by negatives, we know that the core of us is love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope, and we can go from the outside inward and touch that core, uniting the outside of us with these states that are us, at the very core of who we are.

CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES

1) Comment on the following excerpt from this blog with your own personal testimony: 

“Once people know what their strengths are they no longer say such things like:  “I don’t know who I really I am.”  “I don’t know what I really want.”  “I don’t know where I’m going”.  The start of filling the vacuum of the DownSpiral isn’t in fixing your weaknesses.  It is finding and growing your strengths everyday.”

FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY

1)  What experiences or individuals in your life naturally lead you away from the “vacuum” of the DownSpiral and move you more toward an UpSpiral of “feeling good?” Tell us your story.

How Do You Create Your Moods?

The poet Robert Frost described fog as a cat creeping in.  A mood is a lot like fog, or so it seems.  We describe a mood as something that overtakes us, over-powers us, and we find ourselves within its grip.  We say “I’m in a bad mood” as though we have been engulfed by fog or captured by a foreign entity that is holding us hostage.

We wait for a good mood to overtake us again.  We have “good” days and we have “bad” days.

Here’s the good news and the bad news.  We create our moods.

It is interesting to listen to someone explain why they are in a bad mood, if you can stand to listen.  Who really cares, right?  I certainly don’t care to listen to the reason a person is creating to justify the mood which they have created for themselves.  I hear everything from food to loss of sleep to arguments with spouses, to loss of this or that or too much alcohol and partying.  None of these things cause “moods.”  They may create a tendency toward a particular set of feelings, but they do not over ride the choice of mood.

One could argue that with the explosion of depression in our culture, which is epidemic in proportion, along with the billions of dollars that pharmaceutical companies are making, that our moods are simply outside the realm of our choice.  We need pills to balance our serotonin and dopamine levels, and then we can have the moods we say we want.

I would love to see psychiatrists require 3 months of yoga or similar exercise for mild to moderate depression BEFORE prescribing an anti-depressant.  Then I would love to see that same informed psychiatrist check into diet and recommend a largely plant based diet –no junk food– and learn to read the labels on food and get rid of all of the chemicals and processed foods. Then we’ll consider anti-depressants.  Try serious exercise and serious interventions in your diet.  Then we’ll look at very serious psychotropic medications that alter the neuropathways in your brain.

Or maybe we’re just very, very sloppy with the feelings we choose to feel and the moods that we believe are our masters.

I suspect that we will come to learn that if we have not controlled our diet and managed a better exercise program, that doctors are wiser not prescribing drugs until that occurs, especially for mild to moderate depression.

I also suspect that we will come to learn that if we learned to manage our moods much earlier in our development, that the patterns of their occurrence would occur much differently.

But I also believe that it is never too late to start managing your moods.  It is as easy (or difficult) as managing your budget, and there is a great deal of freedom in both.

Moods sneak up on us just like credit card balances.  We spend our emotional energy very carelessly and very haphazardly.

There are many who would lead us to believe that we are predisposed to our moods.  However, predisposed or not, that is not permission to have them or to give into them.  It is just a warning not to go there –to those moods that we might think we are given permission to have.  Your negative moods do not make you a better artist, they do not make you a better writer, they do not make you a better anything.  They make you a pain to get along with.

Moods are the collections of feelings we have chosen to have or allow to happen to us as a result of the way we react to things outside of us.  Moods are learned.  Moods are habits.  Learn and live to have good moods because you can choose to do so.

Moods tell us a great deal about our Emotional Default Setting– our “EDS.”  And we’re dedicated to helping people realize that you can change your EDS and live in a UpSpiral of “feeling good” most all of the time.  It is like reigning in your credit cards and making different choices about how to spend your emotional energy.  It requires decision and intention, and it takes practice.

But moods do not own you. You are responsible for your moods.  It is time that we stopped using every medical excuse to explain a mood.  

We can learn that when we are not “in a mood” is just the greatest time to practice and grow the emotional muscle that will keep us out of the next one.

Rather than be a victim of your moods, don’t sit where the fog comes in– just don’t park there.  MOVE.  Like a sleek cat, move smoothly with your increasing capacity for choosing and feeling positive emotion to the places in your experience where you choose to let the sun shine.

CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES

1) Using your ANI professional training, how have you dealt with clients or group members who seem to have a predisposition to negative mood? Or a pattern of DownSpiral thinking? What ANI research and coaching tools have you used? How do you see their effectiveness in countering client beliefs about their “naturally negative” moods and the belief that their moods “own” them?   Give us an example.

FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY

1) Comment on this quote from the blog in light of your own personal experience: “Moods are the collections of feelings we have chosen to have or allow to happen to us as a result of the way we react to things outside of us.  Moods are learned.  Moods are habits.  Learn and live to have good moods because you can choose to do so.”  What can you do TODAY to learn to live and move into more positive states of mind. Tell us your story.

What’s Your EDS-Emotional Default Setting?

Are you feeling your way to better, better, and best –to excellence?

Where do you most live in your emotions?  What emotion is most familiar to you?  What emotion do you exercise when you’re shopping or driving or cleaning?  Before you say that they are different and that “it depends,” don’t be so sure. 

Think about it.  What emotion do you most often return to and live in?  What is the emotional range with which you are most familiar?

Our emotions are like an ambient sound track in the back of our minds and being. It goes on all the time like elevator music.  It is the sound track of our lives only, it is an emotional track.  It can have the sameness of elevator music, the same predictability, or it can be something that we choose.

To get in touch with your “emotional track,” you have to become mindful of what you are feeling.  You have to pay attention to the feelings that you have going through your day and ask yourself if that’s what you want to feel. It’s a lot like eating.  People eat ice cream or a whole meal and never taste it, savor it, or enjoy.  They just eat it because it’s there until they become mindful of what they’re eating.

To become mindful of your feelings, begin to listen for your feeling tone.  When you drive or when you shop or when you bathe, what are you feeling?  Find some kind of warning system, like a tone on your watch or phone that alerts you to notice how you’re feeling.  These are very practiced, very daily states of feeling.

What causes the feelings is not nearly so important as what the feelings are.  Most of them are there because we pay little attention to our feelings. We get locked in a rut simply by living and practicing the same feeling over and over again.  Our daily emotional range is usually pretty much the same, and the more we get used to it, particularly if it is not satisfying, the more tedious, boring, and even depressing our mood begins to feel.

What do you want to feel?  How many positive emotions and for how long and how much do you want to feel them during your day?  How about practicing a different emotion all day long?  Take for example gratitude.  What if you intentionally practiced feeling gratitude all day long for 3 days?  Then try out hope for three days, just practice feeling hope.  You can choose what you feel, and you will find that what you feel defines who you are more than anything else about you.  How you feel will affect how you think, how you behave, and you interact with life.

We believe that feelings are just “given.”  They are not.  Feelings are choices to be exercised.  The more control you take over what you are feeling, the less power “moods” have and the less they will be able to “overtake” you.

Medications that affect feelings are a billion dollar industry.  We do all kinds of things to affect how we feel, except choose and practice the emotions we want to have.

Learn more about our Emotional Gym.

You can exercise your emotions to better, better, and best, all the way to excellence.

CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES

1) Discuss your personal and professional journey as a response to the title of this blog-what is your EDS? Lay out the chronology of the narrative in your own experience around your mastery of positive emotional states of mind. Give specific examples. Inspire us with your story!

FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY

1)  Take the “EDS Challenge” presented in this blog: “How about practicing a different emotion all day long?  Take for example gratitude.  What if you intentionally practiced feeling gratitude all day long for 3 days?  Then try out hope for three days, just practice feeling hope. “ Choose one of these positive feeling states and choose to deliberately feel it for 3 days, as much as you can all day long. Let us know what you experienced.

Take Back Your Territory

Claiming the Real Estate of the Brain

For Better, Better, and Best

Self-help groups, 12 step groups, and healers of every kind spend a great deal of time focusing our time and attention on character defects and weaknesses.  It is an enormous economy of oftentimes poorly focused and poorly spent resources that is a waste of talk, talk, talk.  We are a culture obsessed with what we don’t do, can’t do, and fail at doing.   And then we eat too much, drink too much, and get too fat and WHINE.

You never give up a negative without defining the positive to replace it.  This is the bottom line.  If you do have something that you want to change that is negative, figure out first what the positive behavior or action is that you’re going to use to replace it.

1. Define the positive behavior that will replace the negative defect.  What do you really want?

2. Practice the positive behavior.

3. Every time you do the negative behavior; go to the emotions of the Emotional Gym (peace, hope, love, joy & gratitude) and pulse a positive emotion. Then do the positive behavior.

4. Find a guide who will hold you accountable to the new, positive behavior and will NOT focus you on “why” you did the old stuff.

The real estate of the brain, in its neuropathways and their connections, will not yield to “nothing.”  These extensive neuro-connections in the brain do not yield to “blah, blah, blah” about your character defects.  In fact, all that talk reinforces them, keeps them in place, and renews their persistence.

If you want to change, define what you want to do instead of the negative behavior.  Then define and find the support system you need to sustain the positive behavior.

Addicts of any flavor do not give up negative behavior without defining what the positive behavior is that will replace it.

The sad and sorry fact is that we have an investment in our negative behavior and our character defects.  If we fail at them, we can moan and groan that we did, but the bottom-line is that you’re supposed to fail with your character defects.  It’s much safer to fail at not overcoming your “issues” than it is to fail at using your strengths and building new behavior. 

Failing at your strengths and the establishment of new behavior seems much more like a real failure with a much more substantial consequence. 

Failing at not doing the negative things is more or less expected.  It’s been the name of the game for a long time. Failing with the negative is expected because you’re supposed to fail at it.

It seems to us that failing at our strengths and our positive behavior is a much bigger threat than failing at our negatives. Exactly the opposite is true.  Strength is garnered from pursuing the positive goal, even if we miss the mark.

It is much more challenging to fail at a good plan than to keep failing at what you can “blah, blah, blah” about each week in a self-help group, analyze why, and rationalize that “at least I’m trying.”  No, you’re not trying until you have a plan of positive behavior that replaces the negative behavior.

Don’t waste your time getting over a negative in your life until you have decided what you will do with the time and attention that the negative occupied.

You are claiming new space and new territory in your brain with new habit behavior. Define what that is. You are taking old neuropathic real estate in the brain and replacing it with new real estate.  But you have to know what the new real estate is going to be.

STOP talking about what’s wrong with you and what’s wrong with OTHER people.  Define what positive real estate you want to build in your brain and find the support system that can HONESTLY help you do it.

CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES

1) On a personal level, how have you used the 4 step process described in this blog to effect positive change in replacing habituated negative thoughts/behaviors with a more positive plan? What tools from our ANI research and training have most supported you? Tell us your story, with a focus on the positive outcomes for yourself.

2) Comment on the following excerpt from this blog in light of your personal or professional experience: “It seems to us that failing at our strengths and our positive behavior is a much bigger threat than failing at your negatives. Exactly the opposite is true.  Strength is garnered from pursuing the positive goal, even if we miss the mark.”


FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY

We invite you to take the challenge posed in this blog:

“STOP talking about what’s wrong with you and what’s wrong with OTHER people.  Define what positive real estate you want to build in your brain and find the support system that can HONESTLY help you do it.” Post your thoughts about this experience for you.
 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute