Beware: Cynics and Pessimists

November 2013 Newsletter

Dr. gloria wright

We have mind chatter going on all the time. Pay careful attention to what goes through your mind for a couple of days. You may be amazed.

I’m taking an on-line graduate class on Neuro Positivity. Shoot fire, it’s kicking my hind side. They talk about an Up Spiral and an Emotional Spiral. 1-100; 50-100 (positive thoughts) is the Up Spiral and 49 down (negative thoughts) is the Down Spiral. 50-100 is also theUp Spiral for Emotions and is positive; 49 down is for negative emotions. The goal is to stay in the Up Spiral with both thoughts and emotions. See if you can do it.

Don’t be surprised if your mind seems to be working against you. A woman named Zeigarnik studied why people followed Stalin. What is now known as the Zeigarnik Effect says basically that we are inclined to go to the negative nine times more than towards the positive.  It is a 9 to 1 ratio. We’re more likely to remember, to relate to, the negative than the positive 9 to 1.

Where’s the good news in all of this? We can change (or train) the neuropathways in our brain. It is common in stroke victims to immobilize the good side of the body so the weakened side has to do the work. Amazing that the neuropathways will eventually build to strengthen the weakened side.

Well, we can exercise the neuropathways in our brain in a positive way. It’s called pulsing. When you have a negative thought or emotion you can chant, feel or focus on gratitude, love, joy and peace. Therapists are having some major breakthroughs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders with this premise. Instead of clients wondering if they turned off the stove or have germs on their hands, they now program their brain and emotions to focus on gratitude, love, joy and peace. Focus and discipline are major components of this exercise. I’ve been meditating for years and I find this exercise to be challenging to do for a length of time.

Another nugget in this material is to focus on your strengths. Tom Rath used the Gallup Polls research to identify 24 strengths in his book Strengthsfinder 2.0. You can take the inventory on line when you purchase the book. Then you use your top 5 strengths to face any crisis or challenge. There is a major change going on in psychology, called Positive Psychology, that encourages you to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Instead of looking at what’s not working in your life or the weaknesses you have; focus on the strengths and use them to navigate your way to the Up Spiral.

Another piece of research was done on short-term memory after 55. They found that young people were better at memorizing non-essential words, but the seniors had better short-term memory when the content had meaning and was part of a bigger picture. Focus on what has meaning and purpose and you are more likely to remember it.

Punch line: manage your thoughts, moods and emotions. Pulse gratitude, love, joy and peace.

Og Mandino says to make good habits and become slaves to them. I would add, “Watch the company you keep.” It is a lot easier to stay in the Up Spiral when your companions are there.