Archive - July 2015

HOPE: The “Heartbeat” Of Your Life
Flourishing: Living The Integrated Life
Brain Coupling: I CU, UC ME

HOPE: The “Heartbeat” Of Your Life

Hope Changes


The week has started, and you are on your way. This week, assign an emotion to each day that takes up all of your “mental space” space instead of just letting your mind wander aimlessly.

Today is feel HOPE Monday.

Just for today, see if you can feel a feeling of “hope.” It doesn’t have to be a lot; it can be just a little. Just FEEL it.

It is not enough to “think” hope- YOU HAVE TO FEEL IT.

HOPE on Monday doesn’t have to be directed toward a specific object. It doesn’t have to be hope for a thing or for a person, but it can be, so long as you feel hope. You see, “feeling” is the key. It is the experience of HOPE LIVED FOR TODAY, even if it’s just a little bit, that is important to grow the neuropathways in your brain into greater and greater strength and connectedness.

All day long, feel hope.

Hope Change

PULSE it, get a hold of a little of the feeling, and pulse it with the beat of your heart: “hope, hope, hope, hope.”

You are alive, pulse hope. The sky is blue, pulse hope. The sun is shining, pulse hope. The world is full of the aliveness of evolving goodness and growth, pulse hope. Regardless of last night’s newscast, pulse hope. There is blood surging through your veins, pulse hope.

You have this choice to live in hope for no reason other than that you can –you can choose to do so. It beats depression, it beats feeling down, it beats being in a DownSpiral, or heading in that direction. It for sure beats waiting for something on the outside of you to give you hope.

Make a list of everything that has made you happy and everything that you like. Feel the feelings of those things and get more used to feeling positive emotions than negative, DownSpiral feelings. You decide where your focus will go.

Hope for today is a great place to start.

Hope Reeve

Feeling hope is a choice you make because you fix your attention and focus on things that give you hope. Everything in your brain, from your hippocampus to your reticular activating formation –these parts of the limbic reptilian brain, the “old brain” in you- are set up to cooperate with your frontal lobes and an executive decision you are making about what do with a feeling that can be elusive. Hope can get caught up and lost in the rush of just reacting to everything on the outside of you.

If you are used to worrying and feeling negative feelings, it doesn’t really matter if you have the right to them or if you’re just used to them. They don’t help you live today and the rest of the days of your life.

Nursing the negatives and the losses does not give life meaning. So move on and get used to some new good feelings, get used to some new good places to go, or look at your life with new hopeful eyes, knowing that the breath of life moves through you and you can experience the sunrise and the sunset.


Focus on feelings that make you feel good, focus on what you like, and focus on what you want. Feel hope 500 hundred times a day, if just for a few seconds. Feeling it a little at first, and then feel it a little more.

Make today a special Monday. It is the day you feel HOPE, HOPE, HOPE for no other reason that you can choose to do so, and because it is hope that tells the brain to think and plan and create, and evolve into the higher structures of reasoning and aliveness that are waiting for us to live out.

©Dr. William K. Larkin


Flourishing: Living The Integrated Life

“To flourish means to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth and resilience.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson


Flourish Card


Research suggests that fewer than 20% of American adults flourish, and that the costs of languishing are high relative to flourishing, and comparable to depression.

Languishing brings more emotional diseases, psycho-social impairment, limitations in daily activities, and lost work days.

Generativity is a term that applies to an experience that unfolds, grows, and fulfills its natural, life-giving purposes.

Generativity is the great task of the integrated life that is creative and productive and shares its wisdom, which is far more than knowledge; it is lived “knowing,” and higher stages of consciousness give us more of it.

The opposite of generativity is the opposite of integration- disintegration.  It is manifest most in bitterness, blame, feuding, and projection, even despair.

Despair Hope

Negative memories lose their wind and seem less and less to matter in the integrated, generative life.

In the life that cannot integrate and be generative, grudges and resentments go to the grave.

Blame replenishes self-hate and self-justification, and destroys the accuracy of memory by deleting it or by adding fabrication that is the deep source of your “personal hell.”

Dante had it right.

The innermost ring of hell is saved for “the betrayer”- those who murder others with their own self-hate- those who “assassinate” others, the ultimate lack of self- integration, and the opposite of generativity.

If the inner voice of our self-saboteur cannot get us to give up trying, it will work to diminish the sense of the goodness in any act of caring, and any amount of joy or satisfaction we might derive from it.

The success of the saboteur rests in our own self-rejection, however minimal.

Positivity is an enormous force of evolution and transition in our lives. It is the WD-40 of moving into higher and more complex stages of neurocognitive development.


Brain Novel

We have a whole right hemisphere that is largely dedicated to novelty -to new learning and integration of what is already known. It does not stop doing that regardless of your age!

These growing and always more sophisticated interconnections of neuropathways increase our consciousness of the larger view of what our life is about.

We are always being pulled onward, but we also self-sabotage our progress and undermine our natural growth.

Nothing makes this more visible to us than learning about positivity.

More than positive thinking and feeling, more than being happy, but inclusive of them, positivity is a way of greasing the growth of the mind so that we do not stall the expansion of our intelligence and knowing.

©Dr. William K. Larkin

Brain Coupling: I CU, UC ME


1 Lonely

Everyone knows what it’s like to be lonely.

It often happens during life’s transitions: when a student leaves home for college, when an unmarried businessman takes a job in a new city, or when an elderly woman outlives her husband and friends. Bouts of loneliness are a melancholy fact of human existence.

Nearly all of the research shows that it is not diet or exercise but strong social connections- that is, friendships are the key to both longer and more satisfying living.

Are we surprised?

Social Glue

Researchers report that loneliness accelerates age-related declines in cognition and motor function, while a single good friend has been shown to make as much as a 10-year difference in overall life expectancy.

A huge meta-study performed in part at Brigham Young University, which reviewed 148 studies with a combined 308,849 subject participations, found that loneliness is just as harmful to health as not exercising, smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and alcoholism, and fully twice as bad as being obese.

Some of this stems from the fact that isolated people tend to exercise less, eat poorly, and drink too much. But some researchers believe that loneliness has a negative health impact all on its own.

When loneliness becomes a chronic condition, the impact can be far more serious, says John Cacioppo, a social psychologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois.

In numerous studies over the past 30 years, Cacioppo, the pioneer of the biological study of loneliness, has found that lonely people have chronically elevated levels of the stress and fear hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

In a 2007 paper published in Genome Biology, Cacioppo even demonstrated a correlation between loneliness and the activity of certain genes associated with systemic inflammation, elevating risk for viral invasion and cardiovascular disease.

“Loneliness is far more than a social misfortune; it is a significant problem of health and happiness that is distinct from but contributes to the likelihood of depression,” says Cacioppo.

You can have a ton of friends and still feel lonely and isolated.

Alone Crowd

Here are some basic questions for measuring friendship.

Can your friends hear what you’re really saying, do they “get you”?

Do your friends, even one, identify with what you’re feeling so you have the experience of felt feelings?

Who are you understanding?

Who’s understanding you?

This capacity to hear what you’re really saying and feel your feelings is the power of “brain coupling.”

What kind of friends do you want?

The kind of friends you most need, in fact, there might be only one, but you desperately need this one kind of friend. That is the friend who can hear you and feel what you feel. And this means that you do the same for them.

If you read this far, here is the most important kernel of truth.

If you want friends who hear what you say and feel what you feel, who give you the experience of understanding, you have to be able to do the same.

Brain coupling goes both ways.

Brain Coupling

If you want to be a really good friend, what helps most is if you know what you think and you can differentiate that from what you feel.

For coaches, it’s an absolute essential to be masters of this skill of brain coupling.

©Dr. William K. Larkin



Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute