Archive - October 2014

The “Default” Setting Of Your Brain
Is There An Upside To Your Dark Side?
The “Tilt” Of Your UpSpiral Brain
The Mindfulness Of Feeling Good

The “Default” Setting Of Your Brain

Brain RoseYou can learn to live somewhere in the UpSpiral 100% of the time.

Consider this.

Where does your brain go on its “down time?”

Do you default to an UpSpiral or a DownSpiral?

Our most precious resource is psychic energy we have in a 24 hour period to do what we do with our mind and brain.  The Mind is the larger master of how the brain thinks, feels, perceives, and does it work.  The Mind directs the brain, or it does not.

Mindlessness is a lack of consciousness about where we are spending our psychic energy.  It’s like writing checks without ever looking at the balance in the account.Mind Body

Mindlessness is what advertisers depend upon.  Mindlessness is what people who don’t want us to think depend upon.  The Mind just wanders from this to that.

Think a negative or angry thought and see where the brain goes when you send it mindlessly down that road.  Mindlessness just gets the errands of the day done. It can also get us into trouble.

If you could quantify the time your brain spends on the positive and the negative, focused on what is beautiful or whining about what you don’t have yet, what is right in your world, what’s wrong, where would you come out?

Positive Neg SeesawWhat would be your ratio of the good in your world, as compared to the negative that draws you in like a fly caught in a web?  What is your ratio of positive to negative thinking?

Mindlessness is the enemy of flourishing in your life.

Flourishing takes mindfulness of the world within you and the world around you.

Mindfulness is being awake to yourself.  It is attention, it is savoring, it is aliveness.  It’s what it takes to stay in an UpSpiral.  It is not just going along negatively reacting to the weather, to politics, or putting your focus on what is wrong or negative.  It is your focus on the solution that comes from being in an UpSpiral and using your strengths.

Mindfulness is your disciplined focus on where the popcorn is popping and not the kernels that didn’t.Poppin

What Is An UpSpiral?  It is living at a higher quality of life by managing the ups and downs of life more effectively.  It is creating a mood predisposition and it is State of Mind Management (SOMM).  It is living more up than down by using the power of your choice and learning the ways to do it.

We live by this myth that there are ups and downs in life and that they are largely created by external events.

The truth is that, for the most part, there are external events to which we respond and our response to these events determines where we are in the Spiral, not the event itself.

Door Open CloseEither you are a victim of a difficulty or you are stripping a problem of everything it has to teach you and becoming stronger and wiser.

You are learning to let one door close so another can open.


Is There An Upside To Your Dark Side?

Do ItHow do you know when you are growing a NeuroPositive™ mind?

You can become an expert guide, coach, and mentor at doing this for yourself and others.

Your eyes open a little wider. Your head lifts a little and your awareness of what is around you increases just a bit. Just a little, the world begins to be a bit larger.

This is NOT about finding the upside to your dark side. It is not a focus on what is dark and problematic. There are plenty of places and plenty of people who will charge you to do that. It is a decision that you have had enough of that.

It is a focus on the upside, regardless of what seems dark.Up Here

There is nothing peculiar, nothing strange, and there is no magic. But what happens over time are the things that begin to be better than they were yesterday. There is less unhappiness, a little less pain, a little less discontent, a little less worry, less anxiety, and a bit more savoring of things that are pleasant.

Good smells smell better, and colors are a bit more evident.

What we teach is a practice. It is a template for seeing the world that creates an UpSpiral that you can measure everyday, and bring into awareness exactly where you are on a scale that is personalized to you.

It is possible, one day at a time, to live life in more of a flow –more in the “just this” of the moment and less hassled and frazzled by demands that have seemed oppressive.

They can seem less and less, and you can create it for yourself and others, a day at a time.

Emotions InsideBecause the key to any emotional state is within you.

We are capable, if we get out of our boxes of sadness and negativity and DownSpiral, if we get out of our boxes of pessimism, we are very, very capable of living many different selves that are really just as real and just as true as anything could be. We can learn to access them and capture the great creativity that we have of being these many different selves, and allowing them to be without feeling like we’re being inauthentic.

Different selves, different states of feeling, and different states of being fit in different places, and we know how to use them. We just need to learn how to build more upon the positive ones. So learn to act. Learn to reach inside of yourself, to touch the feelings that you want to bring forth and to live from them.

This is the great power of The Emotional Gym.™Joy CHoose

You can learn to feel love, hope, peace, joy, and gratitude on call, at your choice, because these States Of Mind are already there inside of you, waiting to be summoned, felt, and lived out every day of your life.

There are a lot of people and places telling you how you should live- there are very few research-based “hows” that that are practical and really work. Advice is cheap; real know-how is invaluable. The work we do is the invaluable, neuroscience-based, practical application of what works to grow a NeuroPositive™ Mind.

How NowThere are few applications of theory that have lasting affects, that are doable, and can be worked into your day without requiring a lot more time and effort.

We have the “how to’”, we have the know-how, and we have the techniques of creating change that does not create great demands on time.

They require consistency –a little bit each day, and they require persistence… and they work.

We are masters of the “know-how” of growing a NeuroPositive™ Mind.

The “Tilt” Of Your UpSpiral Brain

Brain DualYour brain is on an evolutionary tilt.

Thanks to your inferior frontal gyrus (IFG).

This part of your brain tilts you toward optimism. Our evolution, our hope, our going on to discover new things depend upon this tilt of the brain to invent, to create, to move ahead, and not to languish in negativity.

It is a part of your frontal lobes.

It moves you toward sustaining an upward spiral of living that is largely a matter of choice. This is an enormous issue in health and well-being.

Continuous negativity, bullying, abuse, failure, and trauma can cause us to use this tilt less and less. We learn not to use it.

This learned non-use of a part of the brain that bumps and encourages the right hemisphere to take and process new information for growth and cognitive development can be altered and slowed, causing us not to flourish and endangering our sense of well-being.

We languish and our potential does not unfold.

What is the solution?

A part of it is very simple. Learn to feel positive emotion.

Take positive emotion much more seriously. Feel it for no reason at all. After all, why shouldn’t you? It’s your choice to feel what you want to feel. If you can feel love, pretend that you do. Think love. Act like you feel love.Emotions Neon Sign

Act like you think what it would be like. Sounds fake, I know. But the truth is that love is in you and a part of you, and sometimes the only way we find it in the face of hurt and disappointment is the decision to think it and be it until we feel it.


It’s like a gym. You don’t go to the gym with big muscles at the beginning, but the potential is there and you start small. You go and you practice and you even pretend that you have big muscles or a better toned body. Visualizing where you want to be helps the process. That’s why there are so many mirrors in the gym, so you can look at them and see yourself in the process of growing muscle, or at least look in the mirror and imagine that you are. It helps.

So it is with an emotion and the restoration of the optimism bias in your brain. You rediscover hope by thinking hope, feeling hope, practicing hope, doing hopeful things.

This all sounds very simple, but it is the simple elegant things that work the best. And feeling positive emotion and strengthening your capacity to do so is within the realm of your decision making if you start small.

Soundtrack AmbientYour frontal lobes have the job of balancing the affect of the reptilian and the mid-brain. Your frontal lobes can do amazing things if you tell them what you want them to do for you. They help you chart your course.

Consider this: There is an ambient, subjective playlist of emotions and thoughts humming in the back of your mind.

Tune in to what they are and decide to make your playlist largely positive. Get your subjective playlist of feelings and thoughts to tilt, bring it to a tipping point of optimism, and see if you don’t feel better, perform better, and start to make significant positive changes in your life.


The Mindfulness Of Feeling Good

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes,  but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

See LookAfter I graduated from Yale, I had the opportunity to take any course in the University I wanted for free, just with no grade or credit.

Can you imagine such a treasure to choose from?

I chose art, something I had always wanted to study but never really had the time to pursue. I eventually took a number of courses, but the first stood out because in it, I learned the lesson that I would carry for the rest of my life.

I drew my first drawing, and my instructor said to me that I couldn’t “see,” that I wasn’t really seeing what I was looking at.

He was right. It was schlock.

My brain was not really seeing what I was looking at.Vision Eyes

My brain had to be trained to bring my sense of seeing into much clearer focus.

I looked and tried again, and still it was schlock. Again and again I tried, and I painted what I thought I saw. But I couldn’t get it right.

Close to giving up, I went to an art exhibit at the Yale Art Gallery of the work of Bada Shanren, a monk several hundred years dead, and an absolute master of seeing with such simple, simple lines.

I sat for a couple of hours, and I started to learn to see.

As I began to really see, I could begin to draw as I looked and looked and looked, and then made a stroke, then looked and looked, and made another.

Brain Vision PunShortly thereafter in my art class, before I was even halfway through the current project, my instructor came by and said, “Oh my, you are beginning to see.”

All of my brain was learning to see in ways for which I had never used the sense of seeing before.

So it is with listening, so it is with feeling, so it is with every sense.

The brain will always sharpen when we bring the faculty of pronounced attention to anything.

So I have decided to bring my attention to what is good, what is positive, what works, and it has revolutionized my thinking, seeing, hearing, knowing, and being.

I even started to pay attention to what I was feeling. And much of the time I didn’t like it very much. So I changed. I just made a conscious decision to change what I was feeling. I had no Positivity Choicesgood excuse to feel tepid, melancholy, and half alive. I had every reason for joy, love, peace, hope, and gratitude.

All the reasons to feel these feelings were around me and within me. All I had to do was attend to them, pay attention to what was really important, SEE what was really significant, and my emotions could paint the canvas of a happier, more grateful life.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute