Archive - December 2014

NeuroPositivity & Healing
Coaching vs Psychotherapy
The “Snap” Of Strengths & Weaknesses
How Open Are You To “Chaos” & Novelty?
Negative Dreams, Disturbing Nightmares?

NeuroPositivity & Healing

Dr. William K. Larkin

Simply ProfoundThe simplest of gifts is the most profound and what I am giving you is both:


And it speaks to the healing power of positive emotion.

As a result of cancer, several years ago Norman Cousins, editor of the “New Yorker,” wrote an account of his recovery in the EARLY days cancer treatment – The Anatomy of an Illness.

I have been profoundly influenced by this book.

My grandfather, my father, and several of my uncles each died of a different form of cancer. My only paternal aunt lived into her 80’s or more and did not die of cancer.   I have great confidence that I will not carry this cancer tradition among the men in my family, nor pass the predisposition on to my sons.

How am I so sure?Unheard Of

Cousins did something unheard of. He had a television brought into his hospital room (his diagnosis was not good) and along with it he ordered only funny television programs, including the entire “I Love Lucy” series.

He watched them and he laughed and laughed and laughed. Honestly.

He limited his visitors only to those people who would be cheerful and upbeat, and did not allow visitors who were worried, sad, or depressed. Cousins recovered and wrote his wonderful, insightful book based on his personal experience, which counts as research even as one person.

Medicine JoyPositive emotion is safe medicine with unbelievable side effects, free and absolutely grounded in research. It needs to be taken at least 3 or 4 times a day depending upon on the amount of negativity in your world. A good guide is 3:1. Do three positives for yourself to every negative in a day, approximately. If it’s a big negative, do a big positive for yourself.

Do you care enough about yourself and those you love to take your medicine?

This is my challenge: become more facile, agile, and instant with positive emotion than you are with negative emotion.   I can give you a mega study of 300 separate studies that all overwhelmingly show the importance of positive emotion. There is no such study of the importance of negative emotion, health, and well-being.

Just think about it. You are “rocket rapid fast” in your ability to get to a negative feeling. We can go there in a big way in a very short time, even if we hide it from others.

IN A SNAP WE CAN BE IN A SNIT. And we Hissy Fitcan make this snit last; if it isn’t resolved to our liking we can make our negative feeling stronger and stronger, thinking we are controlling something.

We do this at great cost to health and well-being.

My gift to you is to tell you that you can get to a positive emotion in an instant, you can make it last just as long as a negative emotion, and you can intensify it, just like you blow up negative emotions. But you have to know that you can and you have to practice.

Start HereStart with two simple things that are worth a fortune to know and which executives pay big money to learn.

1) Make a decision to feel more positive feelings in 2015. A firm decision.

2) Start to identify some situation that gives you instant negative feelings, and use that as a cue to turn to a little bit of a positive feeling. Choose one of these: gratitude, peace, love, joy, or hope.

You have to learn to feel one of these five feelings with ease. If you can’t feel then start by thinking it and it will come. Let situations that draw an instant negative be a cue to go instantly to a positive feeling, if only just a little.

For example, when someone pulls in front of you in traffic, doesn’t signal or is going too slow, instead of negative irritation, simply feel a little but of peace or love or joy; give it to yourself and send it to them.

You can learn to make a positive emotion rocket rapid transit that literally changes where you are in an instant. You can learn to make a positive emotion last for a while (duration). You can also intensify a positive emotion. The next time you see a beautiful night sky or a sunset or something lovely, make the feeling of gratitude or joy last for a much longer time.

This is ROCKET RAPID TRANSIT to Positive Emotion.

Ride the rocket.Rocket Ride

Get as good at having positive emotion as you are at having negative emotion.

It will change your life as it ripples through the rest of your consciousness.







Coaching vs Psychotherapy

Dr. William K. Larkin

Therapy 5If there is a problem that has a mental illness diagnosis that directly fits the categories that define a mental illness issue, then go to a therapist.

That therapist should diagnosis on the basis of set categories and criteria supposedly backed by research. The problem is that the APA manages to name just about every problem as some kind of issue with a diagnosis that can be found or pieced together, largely for insurance purposes.

Coaching is not therapy, therapy is not coaching. What is the difference? Therapy treats problems that have an identifiable diagnosis with a name.Therapy 2

Coaching works very differently. It does not make a diagnosis using anything like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V (DSM V).

Coaching is also not about a problem.

If someone presents you with a problem and you work at solving the problem, remind yourself that good coaching is grounded in an educational model, not a mental illness model. We are so “problem-oriented” and “tell me what’s wrong” brainwashed that we think that “problem-solving” is the way to go. “Facing reality” is most often not facing the real realities at all. Problems are symptoms, and they are rarely core issues.

Allowing 3Nor does facing the “problem” head-on usually ever create lasting solutions or skills at problem-solving.  What is the larger context of what is working from which the problem is an exception? How do you strengthen or, in many cases, rebuild that broader context of living life or producing results? We can tell you and we can teach you how to do this.

Coaching is about what works, and is about spending as little time as possible on what doesn’t work. If there is an issue that needs to be talked through, dwelt upon, traced to its etiology, understood, resolved and let-go, you probably need a therapist. If you need to dig up a bag full of negative feelings, work through projections, and resolve a lot of anger, start with a therapist.

Coaching approaches it differently. First of all, problems are rarely ever solved from a negative place. We know that you have to get to a more positive level of personal experience to do effective problem-solving. What about emergencies, you ask? That’s a perfect example of not having time to do a lot of delving but act on the best strategies and solutions possible, and usually experts, more efficiently free of negative feelings, handle emergencies. Our best, most competent and capable self springs into action and we handle them.Zig Zagging

In coaching, a person may start with a problem, but it needs to be put aside until at least two things happen. The person learns how to stay in an UpSpiral while doing problem solving, and they need to know what their real scientifically tested strengths are.

Then they need to learn about the state of “flow:” how do you let go and not think about problems and just focus and let yourself engage in activities or work in a way that you are “one with the music?” It is from this state of flow or non-engagement with a problem that the larger sphere of which the problem is a sign begins to emerge and to dawn on us. From there we move to goals. What are your goals?

If you are an executive coach, working with organizations, you might be thinking that when they come to you, they want solutions, they want a more direct, head-on approach.  Never mind what they want. They are not hiring you to continue to do what they want. They are hiring you to define a strategy from which they can be productive and successful, both personally and as a leader. If finding a “straight-forward,” singular pill of a solution worked, they would already have found it and wouldn’t be calling you.

Strengths SpinningWe look at the initial problem from two places. After you know your real strengths, which ones are you using to address what seems to be a problem? (probably none of them.)

The next place from which we look at the “problem” is after a person has identified their goals or the goals of their organization.

Then we ask, “how does this big whopper problem that you think deserves all kinds of attention fit into these goals?” Usually not very well, it’s just sapping energy. We move on to meaning making and vision, either personal or corporate. We come to identify it clearly. Where does the problem fit then? By this time, the problem is usually forgotten or it has found it’s own solution, and resolved itself in the process of these changing perceptions.

We waste enormous amounts of time trying to solve problems that give little or no lasting satisfaction or success to our real meaning-making systems because we have not identified what they are.

The next phase is the almost magic-like experience of the resources that show up to support an intact set of goals and vision that gives meaning and purpose.

The problem we started with is a diversion, it’s fool’s gold and the most important thing it tells you is where the “gold” is NOT.Fool's Gold

If you are a coach and these things aren’t happening in your practice, look at your training.  Were you trained to “problem-solve?” If you’re a client and these things don’t seem to be happening in your experience, find a new coach.

Coaching does the same thing a good athletic coach does with a tennis player. That coach does not focus on the problem, he/she focuses on the solution, “the how-to.” It is never, never a single fix to a single problem, or this person or corporation would have already solved it and they would not have sought out a coach.

For example, Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer got a coach to help get a little faster. The coach told Michael that he had to learn a whole new approach to swimming, to his strokes. Of course Michael balked, but the coach won and so did this historic swimmer, because this coach could look at the broader pictures of solutions.

Therapy 3Coaching is no different. There are definite steps and they start with what works, not with what does not. A good way to tell if you have a good coach is if they allow you to keep focused on the problem or, instead, if there is always movement toward a way of greater living or performance.

Coaching is about the “how to,” not digging up and “understanding” the “not how-too.” A coach who is a “wanna be” therapist is outside of his/her scope of practice. Likewise a therapist, who makes a diagnosis of every day normal problems and calls it “generalized anxiety” is unethical and risks his/her license or a lawsuit.Coaching Skills

There are as many coaches with little or no research-based training as there are therapists who thumb through the DSM V to find something that will fit their need to be reimbursed, but there are also some very good ones, grounded in research, who understand how the brain works, and how neuroplasticity changes the brain for good, better, and best in both individuals and organizations.





The “Snap” Of Strengths & Weaknesses

Dr. William K. Larkin

Weak StrongOur weaknesses are the opposite of our strengths, grown in the opposite direction of their inherent goodness.

Character defects and our “badness” can be so strong because it is something like the tight stretching of a thick, thick rubber strap, more and more pulled at each end.

It’s an enormous amount of energy that gets trapped in that stretch and pull, until there is a snap or a change in the direction.

Sometimes that snap is very destructive, but other times we can navigate that oppositional power in the direction of its true nature – a strength that has been perverted into a flaw of our character and our basic nature.Inside Out

Author Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan writes: “The same PAIN that can blemish our personality can act as a CREATIVE FORCE, burnishing it into an object of DELIGHT.”

When I worked in the Federal prison full of “bad guys” and they would come to talk with me, I was most impressed with the number of them who had committed crimes influenced by alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol seemed to be worse in its effect than drugs, but there was an astounding association with crime. It is gasoline for the fire of self-hate. Minus the substance abuse problems, many of these guys would probably not have been there, I believe.

GoodnessHowever, the real point to be made is that as I talked with them, I could always find their inherent goodness.

There were few psychotics. There were plenty, though, who were deeply angry, essentially at themselves.

The next time you see behavior that is very negative and offensive, ask yourself what strength of character is its opposite.

Then look at yourself and ask what you dislike most, what you beat up on yourself most about, and the negative that you most notice in other people.Unleash

Then ask yourself what strength you have in yourself that is blocked and submerged, wanting to express itself as the opposite of your self-recrimination.

Unleash that strength.

Using your strengths, coming from your strengths, thinking from your strengths, you simply ask these strengths of yours to tell you what is the good that IS you, what good can come from any situation.

How Open Are You To “Chaos” & Novelty?

Dr. William K. Larkin


Adventures 2It is time to let new things into your world.

To become increasingly open and diverse to the new things the Universe is giving can seem particularly complex, if not downright puzzling.

Novelty and diversity isn’t always easy, but it is usually very exciting.

If you stay in an UpSpiral and if you use your strengths, this is exciting and experienced as new life. From a DownSpiral, this kind of growth looks like you are letting go of your old foundations without the new ones being firmly established.

And there is a tendency to want to go back, to revert to old ways of being negative and critical of yourself and others. However, in doing that you just become miserable, and the contrast with the way you CHange Sameare growing with the way you were is just too difficult and you know you have begun a course that you can’t change.

Once you have experienced an UpSpiral and once you have experienced “feeling good,” there is no going back into negativity and mediocrity, at least not for long.

Consider this.

The more positivity you experience, the more you are going to be open to novelty (as chaos) and to diversity (as differentiation). You are going to change your perceptions, your beliefs, and your ideas about yourself and others. In an UpSpiral we are just freer for things to come to us “out of the blue.”

It is likely that already some things have come to you “out of this blue.” What are they? How have you responded? If they haven’t they will because of your increased openness and flow in life.

Savor LittlesSome of this novelty may come in the form of just savoring more of life and enjoying the “little” things. Or it may come in being fired from your job or a new and different pathway opening up for you. It may come in a friendship or a romance or it may come in a relationship that ends.

But, as you are open, this increased experience of diversity will come.

Novelty means just how it sounds – an openness to “newness.” Just how open are you to newness, to new thinking, to new ideas, to new ways of doing things, to new people? How well do you tolerate differences as opposed to seeing how everything is really alike? A greater and greater sense of oneness and integration emerges from a greater allowing of differences and novelty. There’s just more to work with.

Deep within us what is being challenged is how much of a “yes” we are saying to life and how much of a “no.” There is a place where we put the skids on life and say, a little less or no more for me! We begin to blame it on many things like aging, illness, stubbornness or regret, whatever the external reason. There seems to be a big “no” to more of the novelty of life. Many think they are just too tired, but those who tire and those who have not opened themselves sufficiently to diversity are those who fear “chaos.”Break Through

A deeper yes to life always happens in positive people, those individuals who are living in some form of positivity being who want to experience more and whose strengths are engaged for the experience. There is a welcome and openness to the diverse and multiple ways that what we want can be delivered.

Negative Dreams, Disturbing Nightmares?

Dr. William K. Larkin

NightmaresWake up feeling scared, uneasy?

Dreams are a part of the disposal system of the brain. Nightmares clean your brain of what you don’t need. HOW? The body has the lymph system to dispose of cell waste. The brain does not have such a system so how does the brain get rid of two kinds of waste efficiently?

Cell waste and unnecessary neuronal associations.

The brain is always busy building neuronal associations. Some of these associations are useful, others are not helpful and need to get cleared out. It’s something like defragging your computer to regain Brain Defragspace. The lymphatic system in your body is at work all the time cleansing and dumping. But your brain can only cleanse when you sleep. I want you to really get that. Your brain can only cleanse when you are sleeping.

Brain health= good diet and good sufficient sleep.

Wondrously the blood vessels of the brain become the discharge system by the waste using the outside track of the brain blood vessels, then onto the blood brain barrier. The brain does not have lymph nodes. Such a miracle of design, this brain system of discharge.

Cortisol CollageBut here is the even more fascinating part. Bad dreams and negative, stressful dreams arouse cortisol, which engages other stress hormones to clean and defrag the unnecessary neuronal associations in your brain.

You are supposed to be protected by a barrier of unconsciousness so you don’t know about these nightmares, but sometimes they break through when we do not get good, restful sleep, by doing things that disrupt or interfere with good, deep sleep. That includes eating too late and what you take into your brain to process before you go to sleep. Watch negative television and you are going to be getting rid of negative neuronal associations.

We are very hung up on interpreting our dreams and assigning them some meaning. Especially the negative ones. Most of them make no sense.

They Dream Meaningsare a hobgoblin of unnecessary information and associations. Other dreams are more factual, perhaps, even predictive. However, if we are tuned into our lives and aware, our dreams are not going to tell us much more than our own more acute observations of our life would tell us if we were paying closer attention.

When we don’t, dreams break through what we don’t want to face, dumping our charade that isn’t working. Superficial people have fantastic breakthrough dreams. Get it?

The more your life is characterized by increasing genuine positivity being, the more negative dreams you are likely to have, as your brain cooperates and discharges more negative material. It’s good sign, not an omen that you’re failing.

Brain Cleanse 2Get good sleep to keep your brain clear and alert, and don’t be startled if you wake up feeling low or blah or frightened from a dream you can barely remember.

Nothing is wrong, the cleaning just took longer and likely what frightened you was dumping some very bad image you used to have of yourself that no longer fits anywhere!

In our dreams we are often saying goodbye to what no longer works, or solving an endless problem of something we haven’t yet let go of, of course disguised in the dream.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute