A one cell organism has a pleasure receptor. All through creation and evolution, pleasure is built into us. We are wired for it. You have millions and millions of pleasure receptors, not just in your brain, but in your entire body. Endorphins are the natural substances that line up to be received by the receptors so you feel pleasure. Lining them up is more the work of emotion and the vibration of emotion than it is by thought.
What you are feeling, only partly influenced by what you are thinking, is an actual vibration in the body, lining up the doorway to the receptor so the endorphin attaches and is received.
You are built for pleasure. It is designed into you. To what purpose? To keep you aimed in the direction of an UpSpiral of NeuroPositive growth and development, because that’s where the creativity, the problem-solving, and the ongoing development and fulfillment of “you” exists.
Getting this “natural heroin,” these natural “uppers” into place is all about a kind of “jiggling” of them that’s best described as a vibration, a frequency that emerges from how emotion is working.
Stop for just a moment and ask yourself: What am I feeling? Is this what I want to feel? What is the best “feeling” state I can experience in this moment by my choice?
If you want to change what you’re feeling, start with breathing. Just breathe a little deeply and slowly. Then choose an emotion: love, peace, gratitude, joy, or hope, and catch a little of it by the tail. Feel a little of it.
Our strongest vibrations are not thoughts. They are feeling states, moods, states of mind. They are the “aura” of our emoting. You can feel any feeling you practice with regularity and consistency. On any neuropathway of the brain stronger and stronger feelings have the right of way. You could take a bath in the most pleasant chemicals you could put your body into. Give your cells a bath in laughter, joy, love, hope, or peace.
Yes, jogging will do it. You want to jog around your office? Around the house? In the mall?
Jog with your feelings. Use them, direct them, manage them.
…and a time that evoked it!
Create a mental link that can transform your reactivity.
Fight/flight seems like our instinctual response to stress. But there is another choice, and it is calm/connect. You really do have a choice, but you have to exercise the choice over time for it to work for you in difficult times, when you want to have a cool head.
Here’s the formula. Commit to memory the experience of peace. Pulse it inside yourself. Say and feel “peace, peace, peace” 10 times, then do it 20 times like you were lifting weights that become easier and easier. The important part of this exercise is to feel the emotion. You have to get to the emotion with immediacy, like the snap of your finger. Be a personal “peace” expert. Get to the place where you can evoke a feeling of peace, at your decision, and get there immediately.
Sound impossible? Here’s an added help. Also memorize a time or times when you were peaceful. Imagine two or three, and when the feeling seems hard to reach, imagine these scenes or times in your mind. These are precious memories, and the emotions they carry are strategic ways of accessing a reaction that help you back off from stress, from reacting too quickly, and from not having the cool head you want.
Peace is an emotion that exercises the "calm and connect" part of the brain, the anterior cingulate, rather than the racy, zippy, angry, amygdala which is so ready to jump and make you say things you wish you had not said.
You can literally command your emotional life by memorizing emotional states that you want to work for you.
Let me give you an example. I have very busy days, lots of chatter, lots of emails, lots of decisions, lots of reacting, and I am on, on, on most of the day. Letting down and being with those I love and care about is a challenge. I can’t just walk away from my workday and be Dr. Happy immediately in an evening situation with friends and family. I have to switch channels emotionally. I do this by pulsing joy. Oftentimes it seems to be the feeling furthest from my tired and over worked psyche, but I begin to pulse “joy.”
I say it and FEEL it over and over and over, and I think of times and things that give me joy. I have two that never fail, and I keep them in reserve when it’s especially difficult to make this shift. But I can get there in a very short time. I get there as much as it is my intention to so do, but even more important, is my PRACTICED ability to do it.
I can get to a positive emotion of love, peace, gratitude, joy or hope as quickly as I have learned to react with anger, disapproval, disdain, boredom, and rejection. You can learn to do the same.
It is simply not possible to have positive emotion available to you if you haven’t practiced it, memorized it, and have a command over using it. The purpose of meditation is to slow us down to touch these feelings inside of us. But there is a faster way. Instead of waiting for these positive emotions, like love, to happen as a reaction to something on the outside of you, fake it till you make it. More important, fake it till you become them. And I promise that you will.
Memorize peace. Start there.
Masks are things we put on to help us play out a different or expanded role.
A mask is something like the role an actor plays, and then after playing the part, grows into the best parts of that role. The mask is a powerful symbol of “fake it, till you make it.”
The mask of practicing new feelings, new thinking, and new behavior enable us to actually become increasingly what is the truth about us, as we add more flourish and color to the mask we are trying out.
A false mask is the one we wear to hide our real selves from the world. Just like make-up, you can wear it to hide what you can’t accept or see that enhances what and who you are.
These are not masks to hide behind. In the best tradition of masks, they are symbols of becoming and growth.
A positive mask is the one we wear to practice our strengths, positive feelings, and flow.
Eventually the new mask gains color as we define desires more clearly and have the courage to “wear them” and own them. Finally, the mask emerges with the colors of living in an UpSpiral, strengths, flow, goals, and vision, which are all parts of the NeuroPositive ™ life journey.
So what about negative emotion, negative experiences?
Negative emotion seems to be just "under our skin," no matter how positive we try to become. And that's because negative emotion is and always will be very close to us. It is our warning system. The key is learning to guide your positive emotion with greater capacity and agility, and to exercise more choice over having them.
A positive mask is the one we choose to wear in order to practice our strengths, positive emotions, and flow.
Positive thinking, as good as it can be, is no guarantee of this capacity. You can think positively all you want and not necessarily affect your negative feelings. In fact, it may be a hindrance if it is rooted in the denial of negative emotion as a warning system or even as a reflective guide.
Negative emotions win out with their immediacy. Negative emotions are "now" emotions and positive emotions are more associated with the long-term. Negative emotions are sharper in the "now" than positive ones. Positive emotions are more important and significant over the long-term. Positive emotion can remake who you are beginning at any point in your lifetime. It is just that powerful. But it is just as possible to allow negative emotions to rule your entire life.
Put on your “positive mask” to practice your strengths, positive emotions, and flow. Learn how to practice positive emotion in our Emotional Gym with immediacy, duration, and intensity.
It is likely that no one has said to us, "go out and practice feeling love, peace, joy, gratitude or hope" because we have usually always just waited for them to happen to us.
There are two things that are essential. The first is to decide that you can and want to have more positive emotion in your life--that it is absolutely essential to your health and well-being. The second is to work out in our Emotional Gym. Make your agility and practice with positive emotion second nature.
Negative feelings are guideposts, not stop signs. They tell you to move toward the positive. It is not that you ignore negative feelings. They just tell you to go in the other direction. They don’t need to be analyzed, dissected, labeled, or quantified. They need to be left behind you as quickly as possible. Most of the time they are telling you to move in the other direction, toward what feels good.
Swim out of danger into soft and soothing waters of what is positive and good. The solutions to all of your problems and worries are there, where you will you use your strengths.
Wear your “positive mask” to practice your strengths, positive emotions, and flow.
The last mask, itself always changing, becomes the mask of Vision. And at this point it’s really no longer a mask but a reality—the reality of what you have become, full of color and flourish.
We become the mask we wear.
Here’s the formula: E=T3
E is effective
Here are the 3 Ts:
Touch a positive emotion: feel gratitude, peace, love, joy, or hope.
Touch a strength: come from one of your strengths.
Touch a person: brain couple, connect, get the oxytocin flowing.
In the face of any challenge, whether it seems good or bad, stop and feel a positive emotion. Enlarge that positive emotion and get into a higher place in your UpSpiral.
Getting to a higher place than the level of the challenge enables you to enlarge the scope of your options. You see more and you have a broader perspective and approach. It allows you to come from your strengths rather than reactive weaknesses.
When we brain couple with another person, we connect. We let someone know that we appreciate him or her, that we really hear and feel what they are saying. The more the connection, the more oxytocin will flow. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that lowers our defenses, lowers our cortisol (stress levels), and makes us more open to answers and to others.
Oxytocin is the route to the vagus nerve and UpSpiral living
Oxytocin is released when we make real, authentic connections with others. It is this experience of connecting and the “feeling” of like-mindedness that is the key to the release of oxytocin. These moments of connection are what happens when we plug into another person and we fell like they “get us,” they understand us, and we feel a unity that is something like being of “one” mind, of the same mind, or “like-minded.”
It may be just a simple, real connection with another person. It can also be the beginning of a friendship and even romance, because it feels so good to be understood and received.
It is an experience that most people want, even crave –this feeling of being understood, of being received. We all need it, but some people have grown wary and afraid of this experience, and have shut themselves off from it, and are not open to what it takes for their brain to connect with the brain of another.
One of the significant parts of this connection is the release of oxytocin, a neuropeptide that used to be called the “cuddle hormone.” Now is it seen as more like the “connecting/coupling hormone.” It is what lets us identify with others.
When brains really “connect,” oxytocin is released and the barriers to openness are let down.
The norm, the everyday, is what we get used to, what we get accustomed to.
It takes less and less of our brain to do the everyday work that we get better and better at as we do it.
C. J. Prado, an Italian researcher on aging, points to this as the primary reason for aging that is decline. We use less and less of our brains doing more and more of the same things. We start to run more and more on automatic.
We are made better by encountering what is better and excellent in ourselves and others.
But we have to aspire to excellence. We have to want it, to desire it, to begin to pursue it. It may begin by starting to appreciate what is better and best and excellent. It opens us up to possibilities, and when we experience excellence, it draws us out of ourselves and beyond our limits to new things and new experiences and the growth of intelligence and creativity.
Your “NeuroPositive excellence” is wrapped up in your UpSpiral and your strengths, and gets defined much more clearly in the transitions of our lives.
What we are attracting to us never comes to us only from what we think or even believe. Both change, daily and over time. This is most true in a time of transition in consciousness, when an old structure of reasoning is passing away and a new structure of reasoning is dawning upon us.
What we attract in these times of transition is a mixed bag. It is occasionally just what we wanted and other times just a reflection of the same mess that reflects both “thinking and believing” that is trying to change.
We attract from the “structure of our reasoning” that is undergirded and manifested in our affective being-in the realm of our emotions.
Transition that has the momentum of moving forward is characterized by syntropy. Transition that is going backwards is characterized by entropy, manifesting in rigidity and decay. Decay comes in many disguises that look like progress. It goes unseen until it has made such inroads that your personal resources can no longer sustain its forward moving growth.
Syntropy, this “fast forward” in the experience of transition, always energizes through dilemmas that are a challenge, and move “reasoning” more and more into the open where it can be revealed for what it is.
Transition, characterized by entropy, will allow you to be stuck in the same structure of reasoning that basically recreates the past in shapes that seems new. However, the life goes out of it. The zing and zest of the new thing quickly fades into another chore with the hope that it will soon be over. Integration will be over soon, they say, won’t it? Then what?
Struggle is relative, and if what you are doing is taking a lot of struggle, you might reconsider whether you have the natural strengths to do it.
You can do all kinds of new grand integrative projects and you can hold the promise of transition, but if you are grounded in the same old structures of reasoning, the swamp of transition becomes thicker, regression occurs,
Consciousness that is forward-moving syntropy allows a new structure of reasoning to form that attracts from the core of our new “being.”
You can undo the optimistic bias of the genetics of your brain. You have the power to rewire your positively inclined brain to stagnate, be pessimistically biased and as a result the higher forms of structural unfolding in your brain, that are higher forms of reasoning and problem-solving don’t unfold. If you DownSpiral enough you become depressed. We have a national epidemic of DownSpiraling people.
New structures of reasoning demand an accompanying capacity to sustain positive structures of “affect” that match them. It is the move from positive thinking that must deny negative thoughts to “NeuroPositive being,” which incorporates them, embraces them, and can sustain the positive affect that is always a signal of solving problems from a new, higher state of consciousness.
Navigating life transition is done strategically, by repetition, and by employing over and over again NeuroPositive strategies, facing personal dilemmas that demand a change in structures of reasoning and in mastering and sustaining the agility of positive emotion leading to a true experience of “NeuroPositive being.”
Mind is more than what we “think,” more than what we “believe” (certainly more than struggling to think our way through overcoming negative core beliefs), and certainly more than some limited use of “knowing that I know that I know,” a forced cognitive, uphill struggle, that is very often the very entropy that creates the swamp of transition rather than the healthy navigation of its waters.
Better, better and best carries us onward to new levels of experiencing, to the inter-connectedness of brain neuropathways which creates new structures of reasoning and higher levels of intelligence, which never need remain static.
THIS IS THE FULL TEXT OF THIS ARTICLE.
There is not a shred of evidence that correlates health with negativity. On the contrary, the overwhelming amount of evidence is on the side of the connections of positivity to health and well-being.
The most compelling research concerns an UpSpiral of positivity and thriving at a cellular level. This thriving means that the cell eliminates what it needs to expel and assimilates what it needs to absorb. This is the crux of cellular health and healthy cell mitosis (cell division and growth). It is the best anti-toxin.
What cellular elimination really means is getting rid of what the body doesn’t need or shouldn’t have taken in to begin with.
The cell wall is actually the brain of the cell. The nucleus of the cell, previously thought to be the “brain” of the cell, is actually the reproductive center of the cell. This cell wall reads and hears (psychophysicists now tell us that our cells hear at the same audible level as we do) the mood and state of mind that is governing our world.
We live where we are feeling and experiencing. We live and attract from our consciousness.
Our feelings are really where we live.
We know that our “community of a billion cells and more” has incredible systems of communications. Everyday we decide what that communication will be by the state of mind in which we choose to live (or don’t choose and just allow to happen to us).
Living in an UpSpiral is a decision for health at its most basic level.
There is little, if anything, that is more important than our decision to live in an UpSpiral.
Ultimately, as our UpSpiral builds over time, everything is affected by that decision, including our most basic cellular thriving and flourishing.
What it means is that the NeuroPositive method has roots in your everyday life. You can’t coach something you don’t know how to do or that you don’t maintain. And the practice always changes. How to live a NeuroPositive life isn’t just learned once. The ever-deepening truths change in shape and nature as you live your life. Everything is constantly emerging. Take for example The Emotional Gym. Once you’ve got the emotions down minimally, you actually can go to gratitude with immediacy, you can stay there, and you even intensify it. Not only do you know what a feeling is but you can find yours, and they are more and more what you want them to be.
If you have practiced The Emotional Gym for 2 or 3 years and the emotions have really grown into some emotional muscle, using these emotions changes everything. You just can’t get depressed in the same old way. In fact, you don’t get depressed at all. The times of being in a DownSpiral as a part of the so-called “ups and downs” of life or the occasional “blues” just aren’t there. You live in an UpSpiral all of the time. If the UpSpiral goes from 50 to 100, that’s a lot of range of emotion before you go below 50 in the DownSpiral territory of despair. Think about it and you know that if you are working this work, you don’t get down and “low” like you used to. It is hard to remember a bad day. Bad things can happen, but they don’t last and if they do, they don’t last in the same way.
The simplicity of the Emotional Gym is so powerful that any meditation technique you have learned is never the same, and none match up to what you already know and are able to do. It just works and it works simply. Anyone can do it. It’s the practice over the years that separates out those who are willing to grow emotionally and those who wish to remain in the gray areas of indecision, manipulation, and less than true and aligned vibrant and well-lived lives.
No one has ever complained that the NeuroPositive method doesn’t work, no one. And if someone ever does, it will be because they have not done the work. It works, not only because it’s grounded in research, but because it’s true.
Once you know there is an UpSpiral and you have command of how to get there and stay there, it’s a little like trying to enjoy drugs or alcohol after you’ve gotten really sober for awhile. Being down and sad just isn’t the same. The blues are not fun nor are they necessary. Life really has become more even if you’ve been practicing. And doubt still visits, but it stays for a much shorter time. It just doesn’t belong as much. It begins to feel foreign.
Once you know what your strengths are and once you have learned to use them and to continually grow them in new ways, you never ask, “What is the purpose of my life?” “Who am I?” “What is my meaning?” You either know or you are in the process of finding out. Meanings change, for sure, but the change is more fluid and much less abrupt. You just grow differently when you have practiced the NeuroPositive method. You know that your mind really can change your brain because you are feeling and being different in your life. On a feeling level, you have become aware that a tipping point has been reached, that you are different, and that you are feeling things differently on a emotional level. Your thinking has changed, for sure. But you are not mouthing slogans that you changed your thinking and you changed your life, still unconvinced. Your life has changed and your scale has tipped in the direction of being a more positively empowered person.
However, if your life can be described as “trending” and you have followed the next nifty trend to be successful, then you have been more frustrated because you haven’t used what you’ve learned. If you have sold out to energy bars around your head, or the newest chant, or the latest and newest dog and pony show, then you’ve sold out in the name of being on a journey. A journey is fine, but the really good ones actually go somewhere.
In the NeuroPositive method, you have encountered truth. We hear that over and over again. That’s the worst part: if you cheat yourself, the method is so simple and so well taught and documented with research that you can only blame yourself for not continuing to practice what you have learned and know works, because you experienced it. Playing the victim has become next to impossible. You have learned to set goals that lead to a vision; you have continued to give each goal 3 practical steps to be done in 3 months. You may argue that you realized that the goals you set were unrealistic or not what you really wanted. But you also learned that goals are malleable and you can change them at any time and reconstruct workable goals that sustain your vision for yourself. Even more important than an airtight vision or statement of meaning, you have within you a sense of personal significance that manifests in your connectedness to others, to your experience of the world, and to your own sense of a determined self.
Maybe your vision no longer holds power. If you have maintained your dedication to life-long learning through our continuing education program, you can’t not have a vision, unless you just have not cared enough to identify your passion, or unless you need psychotherapy.
Yes, psychotherapy is still an option. It’s an important option for people who, for one reason or another, can’t follow through. Remember, at the beginning we said that anyone could be trained in the NeuroPositive method if they could do the homework, and that not doing the homework was the surest sign, over time, that a person needed therapy more than they were ready for coaching.
Coaching now, as then, is about moving and growing and doing what works. Doing the same things that don’t work over and over again is a good definition of insanity.
Those who have treated stroke victims have known for a long time now that one of the biggest problems in recovery is “learned non-use.” This means that a person, because of a degree of paralysis, has learned not to use neurons and their associations that are intact and good to go. These neurons aren’t being used and have withered. This is the biggest obstacle to the recovery from paralysis.
We can experience emotional paralysis as well.
Consider this. A stroke can be a metaphor for small and larger trauma in our emotional life. Negative events, small and large, teach us not to feel positive emotion. We can live in a way that teaches us to feel positive emotion less and less.
Religions can teach us not to have positive emotion until we are cleansed or healed of our issues. We rely on pills to save us and eat food that destroys our well-being. We watch television and movies that fill us with negative images of human experience.
We believe that Congress will save us or destroy us. University life can be far more negative than positive with its constant pressure to perform. Daily reports of the economy become our measures for hopelessness. The power of negativity and negative emotion can teach us “not to use” positive emotions. We simply forget to go there.
Extended bad or toxic relationships can make us forget how to feel good. We literally can forget to use positive emotion. I have worked with people who could not feel joy or love. I have worked with people who could, at the start, only feel very low degrees of positive emotions for wonderful events in their lives. Forgetting to use positive emotions, or the learned “non-use of positive emotion,” can be a way into depression.
It happens to all of us. Negative things happen and we forget to feel good. They continue to happen and we forget how to feel good. We tend to wait for external things to make us feel joy or love. And if you wait for something to happen on the outside only, you can be waiting for a very long time.
Watch enough reality TV, news programs, the continual CNN loop, or most of television in general, and you can forget to feel joy or love or peace.
We have this idea that positive feelings must be earned. We must earn joy, we must earn love, we must earn peace, and many believe that they must sacrifice to have the privilege of feeling these emotions. Nothing could be further from the truth. But it is true if you have reversed the cause and effect of positive emotion. If you are waiting for something on the outside to make you feel good, you could be waiting for a long, long time.
Learned non-use of positive emotion is relearned by practicing positive emotion. We have created The Emotional Gym for people whose capacity to feel positive emotion has been paralyzed by the world around them –and that is most of us to one degree or another.
The way out starts with a decision to feel positive emotion. It’s sort of like the decision to go the gym and get into shape. Very hard at first.
We have developed a 12 Step Program called the UpSpiraLife Group (Up Spiral Life). It is designed to restore positive emotion and to increase happiness, well-being, and thriving. It is a positive 12 step group where we create a Sanctuary of Positivity for one hour in the lives of the people who participate.
Our guide to 12 step UpSpiral groups is “The UpSpiraLife Group: 12 New Steps to a New Millennium.”
Whole books have been written, building a case for the importance of negativity. Of course, negativity is important. It’s a “red flashing” alert that tells us that something in the system needs adjusting. We’re “off track” and need to correct our course.
The greater the alert, the more important the inevitable adjustment. That’s all. No need to go into flight or flight. We’ve spent millions of years learning how to do that. Let’s learn something new.
It’s time to learn and practice NeuroPositivity.
But first one more word about negativity. All of this concern about negativity is essentially about one thing: money. Negativity is a multi-billion dollar industry of therapists, doctors, medical health professionals, many of whom have connections to the pharmaceutical industry. Tons of money are spent on the industry of negativity. A lot of jobs, prestige, and identity rest on maintaining its importance.
“Healing” is big business. Focusing on something that is wrong and fixing it is big business. We have built of a culture of victims, whose addiction to it can only be fed by negativity on some level.
In the prison system, recidivist rate is in the high 80% and the return on negativity is even higher. What would be the financial cost of the industries feeding on negativity if the culture, and the world, became increasingly positive and healthy? What if there were a significant rise in health and well-being? What if that was the focus of the research and insurance dollars?
Practitioners of any healing system should be given the Optimism Test, and if they don’t get a very high score, they should be coached until they do. The research already exists to show that 75% of healing is the result of the doctor/patient relationship. If your doctor is a brusque, time-driven prescription writer with an office staff more trained to see that your insurance card is up to date rather than able to look you in the eye, change doctors.
Let’s take a very far-reaching look here and imagine what things might be like in 50 years in terms of what people “feel” and “think” and how that works for their health.
Right now we have the significant research that personal flourishing happens when there is a ratio of 3:1 positive to negatives in day to day living. You have to learn learn to do that.
We also know that this ratio and about 12:1 begins to break down; the positive becomes unstable. Here’s the deal. It is already a challenge to get people to live at 3:1 ratio. Doing that takes very, very good coaching and lots of practice and intention. We barely know how to do that. But we can do it.
Our NeuroPositive coach training shows you how.
What about this whole range of a ratio from 4:1 to 10:1? What’s up with that? What can happen there? Where are the people with a 6:1 positivity ratio and what do they look like? What are they doing? We don’t know. Can you imagine the reaction from the mental illness industry when we start aiming for 6:1 or 7:1 positivity ratios?
Enter the Russians. Enter the research done during the Cold War on parapsychology. To gain an edge, the Russians spent a good deal of research time on what the brain could really do. Were there “savant-like” extra-sensory perceptions or mental capacities that could be grown and developed?
Let’s pretend we’re on a retreat with the top 100 creatives and wellness practitioners, imaging coaching, wellness and thriving for the next 50 years.
When Star Trek beamed Scottie down and he opened his flip phone we thought, “how cool”. Now we think, “how ordinary.” When Apple developed the iMac and rebirthed itself, it designed a computer after ideas from the Jetson cartoons, we thought “how cool,” and the largest percentage of people who had never owned a computer bought an iMac.
They began doing things on their kitchen table they had never, never dreamed they could do on a computer, never mind having a computer sitting on the kitchen counter and soon in several rooms. Individual computers, thousand of songs in your pocket, a telephone to shop, text, and “internet” with, whoever heard of such things 50 years ago?
If I were on this retreat, I would ask people to look at the resurrection of the comic books heroes. Spiderman, Batman, The Green Hornet, Captain Marvel, all of X characters and the Ironman movies. For a while I thought these movies were beneath me. The increasing cultural interest made me ask, “what are they trying to signal?” What is the collective unconscious signaling here?
My response: super human capacities, “savant-like” capacities of mental acumen, emerging from the mastery & agility with positive emotion. And that’s where we’re heading with ratios of 6:1 and 8:1 and 10:1, positive to negative. These are high ratios of mental acumen positively growing an always evolving brain and Mind. Campbell told us that the very nature of myth was changing; so is the hero’s journey.
Women who deeply know and feel this know this to be true.
I would suggest at our ANI retreat of the “best of the best,” that what we are looking at is “super-thriving,” “super-health,” “super well-being.”
States of being that are so healthy, high levels of prevention are now the “flip phone” of the day. Super-thriving is so progressed that disease doesn’t have much of chance and the pills of today look like the tonic bottles of the medicine men. Super-thought, an evolved state of a far greater integration coming from increased connectedness in the brain. We think faster, healthier, better because we feel better.
That’s the UpSpiral of NeuroPositive living.
Paranormal gifts of sensory perception are far more developed because the mind is healthier and freer of resistance and negativity. This is not mania; this is super health and super creativity at a ratio of 10:1 positive to negative. That’s what the higher ratios will create.
And it’s all based on developing the positive neuroplasticity of the brain. We teach you how in the NeuroPositive Method, a 7 Step coaching model that everyone can learn.
You don’t need any special background in science to coach this Method.
The old models of mental illness and physical illness are eroding. Read The Myth of Mental Illness and Anatomy of an Epidemic. Cancer isn’t on the decline; it’s on the rise. Why? Because it’s about toxins, resistance, and negativity, and it is the opposite of thriving. Even the creative genius of Steve Jobs could not get him past his own negativity. He needed a coach. Read his biography by Isaacson. How I would have loved to have been his life coach.
Super-thriving, that’s where we’re going and we will create it as we image it and get out of the argument about how important the negative is. We are already using the negative, and it is showing us how much is doesn’t work, and always points the way to what will be. This beginning we are experiencing of life coaching is a miniscule representation of where this work will go in just the next 10 years.
We are living in the start of a revolution that is leaving “healing” behind as prevention emerges and “super prevention” is surely going to follow.
NeuroPositivity is leading the way.
Right now, we are inventing the essential tools in NeuroPositivity of super thriving. We’re training anyone who wants the know how” of super-thriving.
What’s the great obstacle? Resistance in using the tools with enough consistency for the new ones to unfold and a lack of imagination. After you’ve had a stroke, it takes time and effort to grow new neuropathways. After the lifetime “stroke” of negativity most of us have had, it’s going to take some dedicated work to grow a ratio of 3:1 with more brain neuropathways of positivity. It takes time, but the results begin to show almost immediately.
Go to a super hero movie. Consider thriving at a higher level. Imagine it for yourself and for others. As you do, how you create it will come to you.
I welcome you to the NeuroPositive revolution.
THIS IS THE FULL TEXT OF THIS ARTICLE.
"To identify molecular mechanisms underlying the prospective health advantages associated with psychological well-being, we analyzed leukocyte basal gene expression profiles in 80 healthy adults who were assessed for hedonic and eudaimonic well-being, as well as potentially confounded negative psychological and behavioral factors. Hedonic and eudaimonic well-being showed similar affective correlates but highly divergent transcriptome profiles.
The finding that hedonic and eudaimonic well-being engage distinct gene regulatory programs despite their similar effects on total well-being and depressive symptoms implies that the human genome may be more sensitive to qualitative variations in well-being than are our conscious affective experiences."
Read the full article at PNAS
"Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health, according to new research led by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Kenan Distinguished Professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found. “A functional genomic perspective on human well-being” was published July 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America."
Read the full article at UNC News
Dr. William Kent Larkin, who moved to Palm Springs 12 years ago, has codified the ultimate workout for the mind: a process of personal discovery he has trademarked as The Emotional Gym. Founder of Applied Neuroscience Institute, Larkin holds degrees from Yale and Harvard, where he earned a doctorate in psychology and religion, and has done post-doctoral work in neuroscience and neuropsychology. The institute trains individuals, groups, and organizations in what he calls an “UpSpiral” of well-being and happiness.
Why did you write 12 New Steps for a New Millennium?
We’ve had an explosion of research. I wanted to boil down complex neuroscience that most people could use to draw on their five strengths and wear them the whole time. I chose the 12-step approach because people build emotional muscle easier when they practice with other people.
What drew you to spirituality and psychology?
It was the only place I could go with the limitations of clinical psychology as it was taught at the time. It was all geared toward illness. We didn’t talk about health. It was just enough to get people up from the ground level to what we called normalcy.
Do successful people just naturally understand positivity?
No. I do a lot of work with people who have resources. For all that people have, there is a lot of unhealthiness and unhappiness.
Who are the happiest people?
Those who are most engaged in using their strengths and are in the second and third parts of their lives. Older people are the happiest.
You advocate heroes and music for positivity. Do you have personal favorites?
Marilyn Monroe, because she was about the strength of love. Steve Jobs, who was single-minded, strategic, and for not being rounded. Benjamin Franklin for diversity. Pope John XXIII. Nelson Mandela for courage and bravery and not needing retribution. For music, Lady Gaga and Madonna get me going.
This article appears in the July 2012 issue of Palm Springs Life Magazine, naming Dr. Larkin as one of the 78 "Top Docs" of the Coachella Valley.
In a study of the happiest relationships and what made them so, researchers had an interesting finding. Each partner in the relationship was asked to rate themselves on a number of self-descriptors, and then rated their partners on these same dimensions.
In the happiest relationships, researchers found that the partner tended to rate the “other” partner better than that partner had rated themselves. In other words, each saw the other better than they saw themselves on several dimensions. What was also significant was that partners did not rate themselves low, they did not see themselves poorly, but in significant areas, their partner scored them higher than they scored themselves.
This is significant. We grow and we are happy in relationships where the other in the relationship sees us better than we see ourselves.
A bottom-line standard in a relationship is that we are “beheld,” we are seen and valued by the other, we are heard, we are held in esteem, and interestingly enough, sometimes in greater esteem than we hold ourselves.
The most potent negative state of mind, with its set of ZIP-FAST emotions, is shame. We all have it or have had it. We seldom ever touch our shame.
It comes out in a lot of ways, but never very much right in front of us so that we know what it is. It manifests as dread, fear, anxiety, shyness, over-confidence.
It is a like a slinky jello that can take the form of any negative experience that is characterized by “dimming” who we really are. It is like a dimmer switch on the glow and beam of our being.
It is the total opposite of our strengths.
The core of shame is the inner experience of not being “enough” and at the same time being a “fraud,” feeling less than and fake at the same time.
How do you dig it out and heal it? You don’t. Shame is like a thick wool coat you wear snuggly around you when it is very cold, wrapped tightly around you. The coat only comes off as the sun shines. As it gets warmer, the coat loosens. And the warmer it gets the quicker it comes off.
So it is with shame. The more positive you become, the more you feel the emotions you want to feel and think the thoughts you want to think, incrementally the speed train of shame slows down, and one day it comes to a complete stop. You cannot be filled with gratitude, peace, joy, love, and hope and be on the “shame special” at the same time. It just slows down because it doesn’t fit anymore. It doesn’t work anymore. It gets discarded like that winter coat.
You can’t go right at shame. You can’t dig in and say, “I’m going to encounter and face my shame.” No therapist or rehab counselor can dig it out of you. No minister can shame you into feeling it. No amount of fear over your “bad karma” will bring it forth. It just hides more and morphs more brilliantly, never wanting to be exposed for the pathetic weak lie it is when brought to the light.
Do we deserve to feel shame for some things? There’s a lot of deep stuff written about shame and most of it really isn’t that helpful for most people. The larger things (the really big deals) we should feel shame about are usually the things we have faced. Shame is much more about what we’re hiding from ourselves. The larger share of this “speed train” that can take us over so quickly is mostly myth. We are always much more than we imagined that we were. Our strengths are infinitely malleable and can always, always grow. The fake part just isn’t the truth, and it’s a thin cover that doesn’t matter a whole lot in the end.
There is rarely anyone who faced this sense of not being authentic and didn’t end up laughing or shaking their heads over how silly they had been, and also how sorry that they had taken so long and wasted so much energy.
Feel fake? Feel less than authentic and like the neighbors are going to find you out and the jig is up? So does everyone else until they give it up.
Shine the light of positivity on this shame and it will surface, “belly up,” completely brought to a stop by your own goodness.
There is no better way of stopping the speed train of better and better to one's own unique personal excellence.
What Roles do Your Friends Play?
The studies that VITAL FRIENDS is based on show that people have significantly better friendships if they can easily describe what each friend contributes to the relationship. To make that possible, Gallup built an assessment to help you determine the roles friends play and to give both participants the language to talk about those roles and how to make them better.
Here's a look at the top eight roles that research uncovered:
Builders are friends who motivate you, invest in your development, and truly want you to succeed -- even if it means they’ll go out on a limb for you. These friends help you see your strengths and advise you on how best to use them. They are generous with their time and encourage you to accomplish more. They'll never compete with you and will always be standing at the finish line to cheer you on.
Champions stand up for you and your beliefs and they praise you to everyone else they know. They are the friends who "have your back" and will advocate for you when you're not around to defend yourself. Champions are your strongest supporters who thrive on your accomplishments and happiness.
Collaborators are friends with similar interests, those who share your passion for sports, hobbies, religion, work, politics, food, movies, music, or books. Shared interests are what often make Collaborators lifelong friends and those with whom you are most likely to spend your time.
Companions are always there for you, whatever the circumstances. You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable and when something big happens in your life, good or bad, this is the person you call first. These friends are always giving you meaningful gifts and they will sacrifice for your benefit.
Connectors are the bridge builders who help you get what you want. These friends get to know you and then instantly work to connect you with others who will share your interests or goals. They extend your network dramatically and give you access to new resources. If you need a job, a doctor, a friend, or a date, call a Connector.
Energizers are fun friends who are always there to boost your spirits and create more positive moments in your life. They pick you up when you're down and can turn a good day into an even better one. Energizers are those to call on when you need a laugh, a smile, or a bit of relaxation in your day.
Mind Openers are the friends who stretch your viewpoint, introduce you to new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They help you to expand your vision and create positive change in your life. These are the friends who challenge conventional wisdom and come up with creative solutions to whatever problems or obstacles you face. They are stimulating and motivating and allow you toexpress opinions that you might be uncomfortable articulating to others.
Navigators are friends who give advice and direction. You seek them out when you need guidance and counsel -- they're great at talking through your options. Navigators are best at hearing your dreams and goals and then helping you find the path to achieve them.
Having the right expectation of your friends is everything, writes Tom Rath in VITAL FRIENDS. If your expectations of a friend are in line with what they contribute to your friendship, the relationship is poised to thrive and make both of you better off in the process.
Adapted from, VITAL FRIENDS: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, by Tom Rath, publication August, 2006, The Gallup Press.
The NeuroPositive Gym
Where Your Brain Gets A Workout!
From MAD and SAD to GLAD…….and beyond.
Here’s the naked truth. Every thought you think and every emotion you feel is an affirmation of something. It is one more neuron added to the strain of others that makes up how you feel and how you think.
And here’s more of the naked truth. You can learn to direct your feeling and your thinking and create a natural elevation in mood states without drugs, without booze, and without a shrink. YOU CAN DO IT.
And we can show you how to bring the exercises of the NeuroPositive Gym to your life.
You want the naked truth boiled down so simply that you can’t NOT know how to do this?
Want simple everyday exercises that do not take one more minute of your time, that just change how you do what you do right now?
We are experts in making the profound research in neuroscience and positive psychology simple enough for anyone to understand.
We can show you how to work out in the NeuroPositive Gym so well that you can move from mad and sad to glad……and beyond!
Give us a shot. Our work is guaranteed or your money goes back in your pocket.
NEW CLASS BEGINS MAY 14TH
Click here to go to our website and learn more.
Or call us at 760.636.1400
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Larkin's "Sanctuary of Positivity", April 6, 2012
Review by Hyatt Carter, author of --
Some Little Night Musings: 137 HyC Adventures
This review is from: 12 New Steps For a New Millenium: The UpSpiraLife Group (Paperback)
“Dr. Larkin's superb book introduces 12 new steps for feeling good and living in what he calls the UpSpiral.
So . . . just what is the UpSpiral?
The graphic on the front cover of the book, of an upward spiral, has already set you on the path of a symbolic understanding. And so the UpSpiral is a model for practice: the practice of feeling positive emotions and increasing the duration and intensity of those feelings. The aim is elegantly simple: to ascend the spiral and establish a stable sense of "feeling good." And the positive energy created by this process, the energy of the UpSpiral, can lift you ever higher into states of increased health, intuition, and creativity.
Sanctuary of Positivity
As with other 12 step programs, this new practice is a group practice that Dr. Larkin names with a beautiful name.
The group is a "sanctuary of positivity" because negativity is rigorously excluded from its sacred space and time. Positivity is revered. The focus of the work done in the group is to get you going on the UpSpiral and to keep you there. Just as it takes study and practice to become fluent in a foreign language, so does it take practice and study, over time, to become fluent in positivity. The word "fluent," aside from its application to language, also means "flowing or moving smoothly and easily," and flow is an outcome of dwelling in the positive. Research clearly shows that it is while in the flow of positivity that we best thrive and flourish, discover what it is we most deeply desire, and use our strengths, our true strengths, to establish goals whereby we realize these desires.
Why is all this so important?
The Zeigarten Effect reveals a cautionary trend: in overall human experience, negativity outweighs positivity by a ratio of 9:2. Even a casual glance at the headlines of major newspapers reveals the truth of this. The aim of this new 12 step program is to reverse the ratio so that the positive outweighs the negative by at least a factor of 3:1 . . . and to increase our ability to feel positive emotions such as gratitude, love, peace, joy, and hope.
A major step in that direction is to begin to grow the neuropositive mind.
The "neuro" in neuropositive reflects the fact that dwelling in positivity changes the structure of the brain, changes the neuropathways of negativity in the brain to positive pathways that support and sustain, and provide a base for, our ongoing efforts.
A Liturgy of Practice
The 12 Steps constitute the core practice, and complementing these are The 12 Ways and Means (guidelines or rules) and The 12 Promises (what you can expect to experience).
The meetings, which are structured according to a strict format, are led by facilitators who are trained by the Applied Neuroscience Institute. But, no matter where you are in the world, you can participate. If a physical group is not available, you have two options for connecting with others:
the ANI secure telephone bridge line
by blog at [...]
For comparison, and to give you a taste of the program, here are the first two of the Steps, Ways and Means, and Promises:
The 12 Steps:
1. Made the decision to experience positivity as often as possible.
2. Made the decision to stay in an UpSpiral regardless of events outside of us.
The 12 Ways and Means:
1. The core and soul of the UpSpiraLife group meeting is "heart to heart" identification. "Positive Identification" is the signature feature of the cohesion of the group. It is the central way learning happens. When people identify with each other, it creates oneness and instant learning.
2. All groups must adhere to the prescribed format of the UpSpiraLife Group as set forth by the Applied Neuroscience Institute. Do not change or vary the parts of the format of the group. They are there and in this order for a purpose. So, adhere to the format.
The 12 Promises:
1. You can feel the positive emotions that you choose to feel if you lean your consciousness consistently and gently over time in that positive direction.
2. Positive emotions will increase for you in three dimensions. You will be able to get to them rapidly, you will be able to make them last in duration, and you will be able to increase their intensity.
To give an example of how an UpSpiral approach can bring refreshing light to an area otherwise darkened with negativity, consider the following:
Does aging necessarily entail decline, a downward spiral into disease, and a progressive narrowing of options? Are we all doomed to be "old farts" or, as we age, can we be like an excellent "old wine" that matures in quality year by year?
Take a moment to stop and wonder about what it means to consistently live in the UpSpiral, and thereby to build an increasingly substantial base of positive neuropathways in the brain. Because that base is increasingly substantial, it is like a series of base-camps that mountain climbers set up that enable them to climb ever higher towards the peak.
If this is the case, then we can look forward to a life on the UpSpiral as we get older that gets better and better, richer and richer in every way.
As Dr. Larkin says, "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."
In a culture likes ours that so celebrates youth, we need better models for the aging process.
Take, for example, the American philosopher Charles Hartshorne, who has been called the Einstein of religious thought. The sheer fertility of his life-work is astonishing. In addition to a vast correspondence, he published twenty books and over 500 essays and reviews in professional journals. Hartshorne lived to the age of 103, and was especially prolific in his eighth and ninth decades. So far as I know, he is the only philosopher to have published a major new book in his hundredth year.
Can you envision accomplishing such a feat in your hundredth year?
A key element here is how open we are to novelty, diversity, complexity--
As every parent knows, it is important, for a baby's healthy development, to festoon the baby's crib and play pen with many objects of sensory stimulation and, over time, to add new objects as sources of novelty. But what about when we are adults and, later, senior citizens or elders? Dr. Larkin: "Complexity that is creative, diverse, and novel--new stimulation--is something you need all the days of your life."
The neuropositive mind is an open mind, a mind that welcomes novelty, diversity, and differentiation, and beholds ever wider perspectives and sees more and more of the big picture. And this makes possible increasingly complex and meaningful integrations of experience. Why? Because there is so much there to integrate, and it's growing all the time.
A closed mind settles into the "same old, same old," becomes narrower and narrower, tighter and tighter, until the only song it can sing is:
"I got plenty of nothing and nothing's plenty for me."
I'll conclude with four quotes from the book:
I want health, wealth, happiness and love and I want to live in an UpSpiral of love, peace, gratitude and joy. I want to learn and share, in an elegantly simple way, means of growth that move others to higher levels of happiness and joy. I want to add to making the planet a happier and more harmonious place.
This is not a problem-oriented, issue-sharing, "fix-it" group, except in the ways the positive mind and the tools of the program provide that solution. This group is not a discussion of how your week has gone or a general reporting in--it is specifically focused on growing the positive mind. How are you making it work? This kind of share from group members will emerge as an overall "roadmap" that will lift and increase the positive consciousness of everyone in the group who has dedicated themselves to growing a positive mind. There are many, many tools.
But here you are, a butterfly wanting to tell all the caterpillars in your life that they don't have to crawl--that they can fly. And as you have discovered, not everyone is willing to hear it, try it, or wants to bother. There are a lot of old caterpillars in the world who made the decision to remain just as they are and crawl on the bellies of their discontent and negativity. Humans have this thing called free will and choice about whether or not they will spin the chrysalis of change, enlightenment and expanded consciousness . . .
Positive emotion is the anti-oxidant of the brain.
Dr. William Kent Larkin was educated at Yale University, and holds a doctorate from Harvard University.”
Here’s the nitty gritty. You can blab. Or you can think and express clearly and concisely. You can feel what you feel and express it in feeling terms. Blabbing is not being clear about what you’re thinking or not even knowing and talking anyway. Blabbing is sharing your feelings from your head and not your gut. Blabbing is talking about feelings, describing feeling states intellectually, while you are not feeling them.
Blabbing is an exchange of personal opinions, followed by more aired and shared meaningless opinions that no one cares about.
Blabbing is the current state of American politics. Blabbing is political whenever you’re playing a game to cover for not being really truthful and personally effective. You do politics instead.
In an UpSpiraLife group, we do not care about your opinions regarding your week or the events in your life. We care about your clear accurate thinking about what your “felt” feelings are. We care about where you really are in a process of actually using and working with the neuropositive tools you are learning. All the rest does not belong. It’s blab.
If leaders blab, group members blab. If leaders are clear and concise in their thinking and come from feelings, they model for members what is effective communication. We lead people to clear thoughts and felt feelings.
“Felt feelings” felt by another about learned positive processes is the core purpose and aim of our work and our groups. That’s what “heart to heart” means. Shared thoughts, identified, are helpful and significant but they do not create the cohesion to keep a group intact over time. Shared, connected “velcro” feelings are at the heart of it. It is the core of establishing and maintaining client trust in coaching. You will not retain a client or group members who do not feel “heard” by you on a feeling level for a very long time because you will not maintain sufficient trust.
Come from a clear place. Identify accurately and clearly.
Come from a feeling place. Feel another from a feeling place, not from your intellect.
Prove that you can “connect” by doing it frequently.
If you can’t do it in your own closest relationships, you will likely not do it with your clients or with group members. It is too much a reminder of what you don’t have in your own personal life.
These are two skills you’ve got to have to be an effective leader, or an effective “husband”, “wife”, “partner”, “friend.” You can’t be shabby at either one and you have to be clear about what each one means. You have to know when you are being intellectually clear and when you are speaking from your feelings. And you have to “velcro” with those around you. If you can’t “velcro” with someone, the relationship doesn’t stick for long without pretending that something is there that is not. Relationships, personal and professional, that are on the fade are signs of missing velcro.
Don’t intellectualize and talk about what you’re thinking. Think clearly and speak clearly. The statement starts with, “I think.” Don’t intellectually describe what you feel. Talk from what you feel. Don’t use “I think” when you mean “I feel.” Don’t use “I feel” when you are really thinking, judging and doing anything but feeling. Be certain that the word “feeling” is the same as “thinking.” “I feel” followed by the word “that” is always, ALWAYS, a judgment, NEVER a feeling.
These are the incisive skills of a good coach, a good therapist, and smart, effective leaders. Ministers, who ought to be the best at the feelings of the inner life, are often the biggest offenders. Blab, blab, blab, yak, yak, yak, and they “know” nothing because they cannot experience on an “experiential level” what that are feeling. Empty “knowing” does not compensate for the “inner experience of affect” that is the very mold of creating anything on the outside from the interior “first cause” reality. We do not “know” anything without knowing it affectively, inwardly, from our own side of the velcro which creation cannot match if it just isn’t there. The outer velcro of co-creation slides right off the teflon of intellectualized “knowing.”
The failure of therapists to have and exercise this skill and art is a mark of the failure of their practicum training to provide the proper therapeutic training and evaluation. No paper and pencil licensing exam can measure the therapist’s or the coach’s most essential effective tool for maintaining trust, insuring ongoing compliance, and effective results.
The rest is blab. Way too much therapy is blab. Way too much coaching is blab.
Blab does not create “heart to heart” identification. Blab creates flab - loose, sloppy disinteresting communication that pretends to be meaningful while people lose interest, slip away, aren’t compliant, and forget what they learn, if anything.
Heart to heart identification where feelings are felt and where others identify with those feelings creates oneness, cohesion, commitment and the sense of belonging and mutually shared trust. It is this that creates long-lasting learning and compliance.
The world is full of blab, flabby and wobbly communication. Get it out of your world if you want to be really effective and content in your both personal and professional life.
GET OUT OF THE POOL AND GO HOME!
These were the words of Michael Phelps, winner of 8 Olympic gold medals, from his coach earlier in his career. Michael had become the best swimmer in Philadelphia. His new coach, destined to bring him to the Olympics, saw that it was necessary for Michael to change his whole swimming stroke in a fundamental way. And Michael wouldn’t do it.
Every time he came to practice and swam in his old, insistent way, the coach told him, “Michael, get out of the pool and go home.”
Phelps was a child who had been abandoned by his father and who had issues with authority. His coach could have sent him to a therapist. But when you are a hopeful on the way to the Olympics, shining a negative focus on negative issues isn’t the route to producing a winner. The coach was telling him where he could go, not relying on where he had been.
The coach was not a nicey-nice, namby-pamby, or fuzzy-supportive, “how does that make you feel?” coach. He said and he meant, “Get out of the pool and go home.” There is a good lesson here for therapists and for people who get into coaching. Coaches are not therapists. We must have a far greater range of skills as mentors, teachers, educators and keepers of the standards of true growth and excellence.
Watch any world-class sporting competition. The level of play is hypnotic to watch. You don’t get to that level of performance by training with coaches who do not challenge you to grow and hold you accountable. It is also obvious that these world-class coaches do not waste their time.
There are changes we need to make in our “basic stroke” in life if we want to rise to a higher level than what is our current best. You can be the champion of your neighborhood, you can be a champion in your town, or you can live your life more full-on.
You can lead a fairly satisfying, fairly fulfilling life, or you can live your life full-out, full-throttle, full of vitality and not miss any in your life. One secret here is the way you grieve death. It’s intimately linked to how “full out” you are living your own life. If you hold back and live only part of your life, you will more strongly grieve the loss of the life of others. Your sorrow for them will be a projection of your own loss of life as you have lived it, or half-lived it.
We accept nearly anyone into NeuroPositive coaching or into our NeuroPositive coach training programs. The cardinal rule is that you do the homework. If you don’t do the homework, we tell you to get out of the pool and go home. We give you a few chances more to do the work, but if you don’t, you get out of our pool and you go home.
Read the full article at Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship
"Meditation has long been touted as a holistic approach to pain relief. And studies show that long-time meditators can tolerate quite a bit of pain. Now researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found you don't have to be a lifelong Buddhist monk to pull it off. Novices were able to tame pain after just a few training sessions."
Read the full article at NPR Health Blog
Wanting It, Wanting It All!
Dr. William K. Larkin
When we are in a DownSpiral or DownSpiraling, we are susceptible to many voices, and one of the strongest is what seems like our “unconscious.” It is actually our subjective mind that is finding an easy way out for anything that is negative by dumping these into your stream of thinking. Just try it. Start thinking about negative things, start feeling sorry for yourself, tell yourself you have failed at many things and will fail at more. Add a few more and then see how easy it is for your subjective mind to feed that DownSpiral.
Why is that the case? It’s really very simple. When we are in a DownSpiral we do not have the analytical gifts of our strengths. We are instead playing to our weaknesses, and our weaknesses are comprised of the negative material that is part of our subjective mind. It goes like this: in a DownSpiral, you check out the material in your subjective mind that has to do with negativity- disdain, hopelessness, frustration, lack of decision making, and just about anything that makes you feel like everything is on top of you and that you are trapped.
You will never find what you want in a DownSpiral, at the bottom of the barrel, or going down further into it. The voices of the DownSpiral are not voices that generally can be trusted, because they tell us things that aren’t really the things that we want, or we think of things that we want in a way that makes them seem out of reach. What you name in a DownSpiral is usually a reaction to not feeling good, coming from resistance, tiredness, or exasperation. They are not the ideas that will fulfill you. When you are in a DownSpiral, you do not think of things in a realistic way that will make you happy in the long term. And even though there may be exceptions, it is not the rule and it not the easy way to do this. It is not the way that remains firm.
Many people think they know what they want, set up goals and elaborate plans, only to reach their goals and find out that what they thought they wanted isn’t what they wanted at all. Now that’s not all bad. Sometimes we have to do that and it’s just part of the learning curve. We can always learn from that. But it should not be the rule and shouldn’t be the result of serious work on one’s goals. The truth is that we can be a lot better at setting our goals, so good that when we realize them, they satisfy our longings. What we all want are real goals that satisfy real longings.
That happens first by staying in an UpSpiral for a long enough time that it begins to be possible. The decision to stay in an UpSpiral over time is paramount, because as a spiral, it is a metaphor for a gaining, increasing energy. It builds emotional and mental capital, it builds reserves, and it builds confidence in “you knowing you.” The longer you are in an UpSpiral the less time and energy you will spend listening to other people tell you what you should want and do. You just won’t be attracting it nearly so much, and when it happens, it will roll off you more and more because it doesn’t fit. What does fit, you’ll retain because it awakens your inner voice.
When you stay in an UpSpiral over a period of time, one of the key things that happens is that you will use your strengths more. Both intentionally and unintentionally you have to be using your strengths more. And this is the secret. The more you use your strengths, the more you know what you want. It starts to bubble up in you. New desires, new wants, new “knowing” start to surface. You are open to more, you are looking at more of the world, you are letting more of what enlivens and sensitizes you come into your life. It is the UpSpiral that creates a state of being that makes you receptive to what you want on the outside and more open to what you really want on the inside.
Positivity isn’t just being happy and it isn’t just feeling happy things. The emotions of love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope are states of mind that enlarge our being and put us in touch with the ground of our being, if we will allow that to happen. In an UpSpiral, you are touching who and what you really are. Whatever is dark or wrong or “the shadow” is there as a result of being on the other side of positivity. In essence, any darkness pushes us toward the light, sometimes painfully and slowly, but even the direction of the opposite of positivity is toward itself.
The deepest essence of you is love, peace, gratitude, joy and hope. You were made that way and as you exist in these states, you attract to your attention and to your knowing what fits you. Your wanting and your desire will increase, not decrease. What you desire will fulfill you more authentically because you are attracting it from your own state of being in this UpSpiral of positivity, in your own unique way.
Made the decision to stay in an UpSpiral
regardless of events outside of us.
We treat emotions only as if they were responses to some affect. Emotions seem always to have a “why” or a “cause,” if only we can locate what that is, because there are many times that we don’t know the origin of why we feel like we feel. There are times when we are aware that “this or that” caused the emotions we feel. And very often we are sure that “someone” else caused us to feel like we feel. While we are the cause of our emotions, it is just as true that long existing emotional patterns are hard to control. Memories that are implicit, or prior to our actually remembering, cause deep-seated emotional reactions. However, the answer to managing emotions may be much easier than we expected. Instead of undoing negative emotions and their patterns, we are going to focus here only on building positive emotions. We do not ignore negative emotions, but we just don’t choose to live there.
Here we want to reverse the cause and effect of positive emotions. We treat positive emotions as though they are the rewards or the outcomes of living in some sort of way. Something will make us grateful, an event will give us joy, a relationship will give us love, a goal will give us hope, and a pill will give us some peace. Positive emotions are treated as though they are the results of things on the outside, happening to us in a certain kind of way, and when the stars line up, or our problems get solved, or people line up in a certain way, then the result will be our joy or our gratitude. Positive emotions are often results oriented, and we get to have them when something happens on the outside of us that creates that response in us. What underlies all of this is that you have to have a reason to feel positive emotions, and that reason is almost always on the outside of us.
How about this? Feel the feelings of love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope by choice, for no reason, whenever you want to! There is no reason to rely on outside forces to give you these experiences. You may wait a long time before something comes along and makes you feel joy. Feel joy, just because you can, whenever you want to. You can feel all of these feelings instantly, for as long as you want, as intensely as you would like. It just takes some practice and the choice not to live your life directed by outside events.
The response might be that outside events can be very significant and some are very negatively impacting. That’s true, some are, but all of them are not. And even for those that are, you will learn that managing your emotional responses and building up a reservoir will make you much more capable of handling outside events.
The key to being able to do this really lies in where you spend the majority of your time-- in an UpSpiral or a DownSpiral, or waffling back and forth in between the two. Learning to live in an UpSpiral of positivity greatly enhances your ability to experience positivity, and positive emotions greatly increase the probability that you will play less to outside events as the “cause” of your feelings. In an UpSpiral, there is a much greater probability that you will feel the positive emotions that you choose to feel.
What is an UpSpiral? An UpSpiral is a term that describes ascending and increasing positive emotion that has an energy, and that energy is always increasing. Once you are in the spiral, you can go higher and higher. The top of the spiral is “feeling good.” It is simply feeling good. You can go higher in the spiral to states of bliss and ecstasy, but that is not our goal. The UpSpiral is characterized by increasingly better positive emotions that lead to a stable sense of “feeling good.” The energy of the UpSpiral is one that increases health, problem-solving ability, life-satisfaction, well-being, attention, creativity, and intuition. It is a place of optimism and hope
Made the decision to experience positivity as often as possible
""A man is about as happy as he has decided to be."
This quote, from the man who symbolizes great liberation, called the shots very simply here. We are about as happy as we intend to be. If you are ready to decide to be happy or to be happier, you belong here. If you are undecided about the legitimacy of the “pursuit of happiness” or about “life” or “liberty,” you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s alright if you’re not 100% sure of all this. All of that will grow. But it does start with the decision on some level that you want to be happy, and that you have the right to your life, to your liberty, and to your pursuit of happiness. Why “freedom” if you can’t experience this? As the decision to be happy deepens, the happiness will for sure come to you. It will be helped here, because of the other people who constitute this group. Coming together with them will raise your “consciousness,” a word and a reality that will become increasingly important to you as you grow here.
Step One- in fact, all of the 12 steps- are about “positivity being.” This will also be referred to in these steps as “neuropositivity.” It is the hallmark of this growth that the very neuropathways of your brain have to change, over time, from how they are presently constructed in your brain to new structures of making greater meaning out of your life. These Steps are about “positivity being” because it is so radically important to us. You might ask: Why, then, if it is so important to us, is the world in such a mess? Precisely because we have not realized the importance of “positivity being” for our evolution. Positive emotion and affect have evolved within us because they have been so important for our ongoing survival, especially the great bursts of growth in evolution and culture. If positivity were not so very important, it would by natural selection become less and less as we have evolved. To the contrary, positive emotion has become increasingly important to the survival of the species. Positive emotion has remained around precisely because it is the creative source of ongoing evolution. Negativity and fight-flight is a warning system that has kept us protected, but it is the positive emotional states that are responsible for unfolding, ongoing creation.
Here is the short case for “positivity being.” You either live most of the time in an UpSpiral of positivity, in a DownSpiral of negativity, or, like most people, yo-yoing up and down. The goal here is very simple. It is to enable you to get you into an UpSpiral and its benefits, and to get you to keep you there, at a high level of “feeling good,” most of the time. Sound unrealistic? Then your idea of what is real will need to change! We aren’t aiming for bliss or ecstasy; just “feeling good” most all of the time. You will learn how to manage and have great agility over positivity in such a way that you will develop positive emotional muscle and have a mastery over the use of positive emotion. Do the work and the work will work for you. Simply put, you can be a happier person and your emotional set-point can grow and become constant in a higher level of positive emotions. Your neuro-positivity can increase as a reality in your own brain.