Archive - September 28, 2015

The Gratitude Brain

The Gratitude Brain



We are a “fix it” solution-oriented culture.  It’s a real cultural fixation.

We are taught to work and not waste time, to suffer as a part of the price to pay for any success, and to be persistent no matter what.

We have been conditioned to believe in “no pain- no gain” in almost anything we do.

If we felt as elated for all of the goodness in our lives as we do guilty for what we are afraid we haven’t worked hard enough for, we would problem-free.

To say that we are driven to fix, solve, and explain is an understatement. To say that we work too hard or worry too much that we are not has just become cliché.

Guilt over not accomplishing something, at least making the bed, looms largely in one way or another. Even finding meaning in life has been overtaken by those who must live the “purpose-driven” life.

Just for the record, have meaning in life and finding a purpose are not necessarily at all the same thing. It is far better to be inspired to live, being alive to life rather than driven to accomplish a purpose.

To suggest that the best fix is “nothing” is blasphemy. However, when we are thinking and thinking and thinking and worrying and worrying and looking and looking for a solution, both the wisdom and the research tell us that it is precisely “nothing” that works best.Resistance3How do you clear your mind when you are obsessively stuck on solving or worrying to solve some dilemma?

How do you clear your mind when a “fix” is needed?

First, we have to begin to realize that driven and obsessive effort, even when it is disguised as concern, compassion, or caring, is actually resistance. We aren’t pushing in the direction of a solution; we are pushing against the problem or the concern. It is that resistance that wears us down and is the opposite of creating a NeuroPositive Mind.

How many things in your life have resolved themselves because you left them alone, and time changed certain factors you could not have expected? Actually, for all of our work at problem-solving, most of the time things come to their conclusions outside of our determined and best efforts. The tide changes, factors shuffle around, surprises happen, and the most unlikely things happen to affect outcomes.

Gratitude Vision

With that realization we turn again to the Emotional Gym and it’s first and most important emotion. That emotion is gratitude. It is the worm hole through the black hole. That is to say, it is the way out of the problem.

In the face of the problem, practice gratitude over and over and over again. If it takes an hour of writing down what you are grateful for, take the hour and save yourself 3 days of worry and needless mental work on solutions that you just don’t have.

Gratitude is a daily practice, but you can’t just think gratitude. You have to have learned to “feel” and experience it. Every solution comes from a reservoir of gratitude.

Build the reservoir, put it to the test, and see if it is not true that the solution to all of your “issues” comes when you turn from them and live today, experiencing the feeling of gratitude.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute