The Applied Neuroscience Institute

Home of the NeuroPositive Method™
The Neuroscience of the UpSpiral Of Emotion, Health & Optimal Living

Transition and Consciousness
Strengths:  Flowering or Thwarted?
Attachment:  Do It or Die!
Your Ego is A Smoke Detector
Shame or Vision? Growing Shame Free Neuropathways
Your Strengths Are Impeccable
The Down Spiral Vacuum
The Zeno Effect
Will Your Brain Decline? Your Choice!
The Mental Equivalency State of Mind

Transition and Consciousness

If you “attach” easily in healthy ways based upon knowing and using your strengths and staying in an UpSpiral, transition usually appears as a new light over on the horizon of a new potential adventure of learning and experience.  If you “hold on” a little too much to where you are, the light appears as a little bit of “itch” where you are- the itch of some low-level discontent  From there the contrast of either way just gets greater.  You feel more drawn or feel more of an itch.  And then it just grows a little more and more and more.

Our capacity to notice a new light on the horizon depends upon on our aliveness.  “Aliveness” is the peculiar trait which describes humans when they are at their best.

Aliveness is noticing this and that, like a giraffe which has a tall reach and notices what is in the distance.  The antennae of personal aliveness pick up the signals of what is pulling us forward toward more aliveness and more satisfaction.

We prize being finally getting “settled.”  Good luck! You get it for awhile, but if you’re alive, being “settled” becomes “settling” because there is this thing in you which always wants to express and experience novelty.   It’s hard for a youth-oriented culture to believe what happens at 80 when the only models of aliveness on television are all under 30.  It’s also hard when those who are 80 have sold out and also act like the only reality in aging is decline.

But it actually happens more at 80, if you let it, because you have more experienced neurons in your brain propping up your consciousness.  Have you noticed how people under 30 just really keep doing the same crazy things over and over?  Monet was painting his greatest paintings after he was 80 with specially designed glasses because he could no longer see the whole spectrum of light without them.  Imagine that!  Painting the “light” at 80!  That is what made him great.  He painted the effect of the light on an object and not the object itself. 

Where is the light appearing on the horizon for you, the faint light that you have to be alive to see?

Strengths:  Flowering or Thwarted?


Why do you think it is that those who bother us most are those who thwart the growth of their strengths?

How you regard your strengths and what you are willing to do with them is like the decision to eat or not eat good food.  You can get by on the junk food of your weaknesses, but what builds your sense of self and very directly, the happiness you experience is your decision to flex the muscles of your strengths, to use them more and more and to put yourself in situations where they are used.  At work you start by looking at them and finding a few places during the day or each week where you can use them.

Consider this. Your strengths are Spirit manifesting through you.  From quantum physics, they represent the Zeno Effect in your personality.  They are fixing the elements of the molecular structure of your brain so you move, by the nature of your focus on them, in the direction of strengths or in the directions of weakness and deterioration.  You can’t get any more clear than that. Strengths move you toward life and aliveness; playing to weaknesses moves you toward deterioration. It starts with feeling disconnected and moves to feeling disengaged, disenchanted, unappreciated, unseen, unnoticed. Feeling unappreciated appears as the State of Mind of loneliness.  That’s usually the place where we start looking for someone else to fill the absence of ourselves that we have created. 

Wouldn’t it be just a lot easier to look at these strengths that are you?  Flex them, use them, learn more about them.  Use every cue of boredom or frustration as a cue that is a gift to go to a strength and learn more about it.  One of the most interesting things about strengths is that they usually mean reaching out to the world around us.

You were using these same strengths when you were four years old and they have just continued on trying to develop within you, flowering or thwarted.  Where they flower we know more happiness. Where we thwart them, we know more uneasiness and lack of satisfaction.

Attachment:  Do It or Die!


From the time we are first out of the womb till the time we die; attachment is basic to our healthy existence.  In a world full of the talk of “letting go and letting God,” we are most godlike when we are “attaching.”  In fact, the letting go always brings another healthier, better attachment, unless we are fighting our own desire.  Finding our desire is a process of attaching and letting each attachment teach us about the next and the next.

Our positive emotions and our strengths lived out teach us most about what we want our attachments to be.  This means a ready access to positive emotions.  The easy access to positive emotions and States of Mind lets this process flow.  Our strengths enable the process.  Oftentimes “attaching” is like following a trail with ribbons wrapped around trees.  There are stopping points along the way that we enjoy that assure us of the right direction but point us forward to the next place on the path.  Insecurity wants to stay at the same tree; secure attachment wants to see what’s around the bend.  Insecurity doesn’t like the bend in the road; fear doesn’t like the movement of attachment at all.  Fear says, “Don’t get attached, you’ll only have to let go.”  Fear also says, “Grab what you can and run away from life. Get it while the getting’s good, because it’s all going to run out.” 

What attachment knows is that it is creativity, the synergy of your strengths used over and over and your positive emotions and positive states of emotions felt over and over and over that are going to spring you alive with the next great idea, the next great break, the next beautiful tree with the next yellow ribbon.

Infants who do not attach wither and refuse to be nourished.  So do adults who refuse to attach. Listen to the little “wants” inside of you and lighten up to the inner voice of your own desire.   You are not here to make anyone else happy, except from the expression of your own healthy attachments.  The capacity to attach is rooted in positive emotion and positive plans.

Your Ego is A Smoke Detector

upspiral.jpgThe smoke detector in your home is very sensitive. It lets off a loud squawking alarm at even the faintest detection of the odors that signal a fire. A little smoke from a meal, burnt toast, or a fireplace with a whiff of wandering smoke can set off an alarm that is startling. So it often is with the Ego. The Ego, as it is used here, is the person you are when you are playing to your weaknesses rather than your strengths. Play to your weaknesses and your Ego goes off; play to your strengths and your “real self” moves into play.

The more positive you become, the greater you grow into an UpSpiral, using your strengths, the more sensitive is your detector, the Ego, that you’re moving in the wrong direction –one of weakness that is the opposite of your strengths. The more you come from your Inner Being, the real strengths that you have, the harder it is for the Ego not to give itself away. It does so through anxiety, fear, the feeling of being out of sync with yourself, and just plain discord.

You would never want to get rid of a smoke detector or disconnect it. So it is with the Ego. It is a part of a whole- a warning system that lets you know that you are not coming from your strengths. And the more you come from your strengths, the more you get used to playing to them, the more your Ego will make noise because you will be more sensitive to its sounds and warnings.

Shame or Vision? Growing Shame Free Neuropathways

Shame is an ingrained reality in all of us. We have all been embarrassed into shame or shamed at some point in our lives and it exists in us as a very raw, dark place. We very seldom ever see or confront our shame for very long. And it isn’t necessary that we do.
We do, however, experience shame in its leakage into an underlying, almost abiding state of guilt. We touch these dynamics when we are in a DownSpiral. The further down you get in a DownSpiral the greater the vacuum that is created. This vacuum gets filled by some kind of guilt, anxiety and doubt.

We like to believe that “digging it out” and facing it will heal this shame and guilt. It won’t. Some soul-wrenching admissions of shame may be temporarily relieving, but it is more of the same old focusing on the “dark side,” the “shadow side,” as way of finding some kind of permission and to have paid a sufficient price to be able to happy, rich, abundant, full of joy. We have been brainwashed to believe that to be a “light chaser” we had better have sweat bullets over our shame, guilt, and dark side. Baloney.

While shame and its seepage of guilt occur in the DownSpiral and not the UpSpiral, it is only in being in an UpSpiral that we really “attach” to our longings, desires, and truest “wantings.” Take these deep desires and wantings, along with the permission to be imprecise about them for a while, and form them into goals. Then from a collection of goals, formed over time, start to define and name your vision for your life. The goals and vision are always malleable. As you name that vision, it will navigate you to your passion and to higher and higher levels of “wanting” for greater and greater good.

Your personal vision heals shame by establishing and growing new neuropathways in the brain and letting the old ones, fed too much by too many retreats and too much attention given to negative core beliefs and “darkness,” die the slow death they will surely die.

The Zeno Factor from quantum physics shows that we create what we focus on. The very molecules of our neuropathways become fixed by our focus. Focus on shame and guilt and you grow it. Focus on your goals of passion and growth and grow them into your own personal vision of what you have to live and give and your shame will heal. It’s a promise.

Your Strengths Are Impeccable

There is not a situation in your life that your strengths can’t address. You have a perfect set of them. Some of you who are reading this know what they are. You’ve been through our testing process and you can name your strengths and you have grown by using them. Instead of concentrating on your weaknesses and trying to change them and getting nowhere, you have learned that by growing your strengths, your weaknesses fall into your ability to manage them effectively.

Weaknesses are merely the other end of our strengths. In fact, they point to the directions of what our strengths really are. But from the first red check marks on our school papers, or even before, we have learned what is wrong with us much better than we have learned what is good about us. Whenever I test a group of people and ask them to write down their strengths, they can usually only list one or two that are actually accurate; they are much better at listing their weaknesses.

Going to a strength, playing to a strength, thinking from a strength is foreign behavior for most people. When we are troubled, stressed and worried or frustrated for very long, it is easy to go to our weaknesses and to play from the opposite end of our strengths. Read the testimonials on our website about people who have learned to play to their strengths.
And then tell us your stories about your encounter with your strengths and how you use them.

You never become a well-balanced or a “whole” person, whatever in the world that might be, by trying to correct your weaknesses. You become more of who you authentically are by playing to your strengths and letting them guide you to your own inner brilliance.

The Down Spiral Vacuum

The DownSpiral begins with negative thoughts that are not used as indicators to get into the UpSpiral. A negative thought or feeling can be a gift if you can use it as a cue or signal that you are going in the wrong direction. It’s like getting a clue from the Universe that you are going down the wrong path away from who you really are and what you are becoming.

Negative thoughts and feelings that are entertained personally or shared with others as an item of conversation in order to complain, to be needlessly critical and judgmental, or to fill the space in an empty conversation, create a vacuum. Inside of you it creates a negative space. That negative space is a vacuum. The larger the negative space, the bigger the dark hole, the greater the vacuum. Any vacuum must be filled. Usually it is something like free-floating anxiety that will attach itself to anything so that you really begin to worry about something. Worry is a big vacuum filler.

The vacuum of the DownSpiral is filled by disease. It is fueled by pessimism and it is filled with disease of some kind at some level. It is not filled with health. It is not filled with creativity. It is not filled with problem solving. It’s like losing your keys. The more negative you get, the more you can’t find your keys. You just go in circles looking for your keys and not being able to see them. It fact, in a DownSpiral, you cannot find “the key” to any problem until you let go and get headed in the other direction.

Ultimately, the nature of the DownSpiral is flat lining and emptiness. It goes beyond just fear. It goes to dread of what will come next. This is an easy time to experience dread if you believe that Wall Street, Main Street, and Congress can fix or heal your worries. They never could and they never will.

The nature of the DownSpiral is a vacuum that will become pessimism and it will create a vacuum that disease will fill.

The solution: Live the exercises that we teach and get yourself permanently in an UpSpiral. They work so well, they are so simple. You would think they are magic!

And for any pessimists reading this, we have the hard research to prove it.

The Zeno Effect

The Zeno effect proves to us that on a molecular level, what you focus on is what you create. Where is your focus? What is the ambient, background soundtrack of your brain?

When you are not paying attention to it, what is your brain thinking? The brain is always thinking, always working- that’s its job. But a lot of time our brains are taking us where we don’t necessarily want or choose to go. We live in some default setting that we really haven’t even taken the time to define for ourselves; it truly is by default. For a lot of people their default setting is grumpy, cranky, critical, uneasy, worried, anxious, “on guard”. Yours doesn’t have to be.

We would need fewer medications in this world if we chose to manage more of our thinking and feeling and decided to feel good and to feel happy, and decided to look for what was positive. For example, rather than simply react in fear to the current “new crisis” –this one happens to be financial-what if we began to tell a story like we wanted it to be? Like this:

We have gone through financial crises before of a similar nature. I always have what I need and most of the time I have what I want or I’m moving in that direction. Always in my life, where one door has closed, another door has opened. I wonder what new financial doors will open, I wonder what will be the good that will come of all this shifting in the culture of financial practices all over the world? One door closes, another door opens, ALWAYS, if you expect that it will. It’s the Zeno effect.

Then try this: For each day of my life: For today I will not worry.

Will Your Brain Decline? Your Choice!

What about the declining aging brain? The brain ages, but, like fine wine, it does not have to decline. The brain develops throughout all of life. Supposed short term memory loss is a myth. It isn’t a loss. It is the reorganization and emerging “second half of life brain” which is developmentally changing from smaller thinking to getting the bigger picture. The brain has the developmental task in the second half of life to transfer the psychic energy of short-term memory into wisdom and “getting the larger picture”. Positive emotion is the anti-oxidant of the brain- it cleans up narrow and negative thinking that causes negative aging. This negative and rigid thinking is also related, we are finding, to Alzheimer’s.

Neuroplasticity proves to us that the brain can always change.
We are increasingly finding the greater and greater degree to which it can change.

How do you want to change your brain?

What thoughts and patterns of feelings do you recognize that take you down the road to negativity and personal rigidity?

You are learning to create a State of Mind (SOM) called Certitude. Tell us how you are doing it and what it’s like!

The Mental Equivalency State of Mind

A mental equivalent is a state in which your feelings match what you want. That is to say that you can “feel” now how what you want feels. If you think that getting such and such a thing would make you feel such and such a way, the stretch of growth here is to feel how you would feel if you got what you think would make you feel that way.

It is really what faith is. Faith is knowing that you already got what you want, at some point, in some way. The feelings which that produces are the mental equivalent of what you’re asking for. If you have the faith that you’re going to get a thing or that something will come true for you, your feelings match how you will feel when it comes to you.

In a state of “flow”, you are so involved in living that you are feeling the feelings of immersion in what you are doing. Being immersed in life is feeling the feelings of living in the moment, feeling how you feel when you know that what you want is coming to you in one way or another and at some time or another. It is knowing, rock bottom in your gut, that when one door closes another better door opens. Know it, focus on what you want, feel it and get into the flow of life and see if your deepest desires don’t show up for you. I know they will!

A Mental Equivalent State of Mind
Would feel:

A little in awe and wonder

There is no reason why you can’t feel a little of that right now!

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute