So I'm touting positivity all the time, I'm the positivity shrink. Negativity actually affects our brain in real ways and we have a choice to be positive or negative. Where is your thinking? The first video I released on my YouTube Channel, Live On Purpose TV, talked about how to stay positive no matter what. I will link to the video at the end of the post.
Our mind is constantly evaluating and creating depending on our current situation. We generate either a positive or a negative emotion or feeling. That emotion or feeling sets us up for what we are going to do in creation mode, where and how we move forward. Review the video and you'll get a good sense of what the model is all about.
Here is the short version, is my life good or is my life bad? Now that's oversimplified and nobody really thinks in those simplistic terms. Sometimes. Either way, it's going to create some kind of a feeling. The reason for this has to do with chemistry, pure and simple, it's brain chemistry. My buddy, Scott Halford, who is an amazing speaker and trainer and who wrote the book, Activate Your Brain. Scott drilled it down to two basic chemicals that symbolize what is going on in our brain. Now there's more than two, okay, and he had acknowledged that, but think of these two, it'll help you to remember it.
Negative thinking triggers a little bump of cortisol into your central nervous system and your bloodstream. Now cortisol is a stress chemical, cortisol is what is released to help prepare your body for the fight-or-flight response and then there's other things too like adrenaline and other chemicals that contribute but cortisol gets triggered by our thoughts.
What does negative thinking have to do with our brain health? Well, everything because if we are triggering cortisol into our central nervous system, we are going to have a very different experience than if we trigger a different chemical. Cortisol has the effect of shutting down some of the higher cognitive parts of our brain like our prefrontal cortex which is in charge of thinking, logic, problem-solving, also some cool things like empathy, compassion, forgiveness, it just shuts all of that down. It's not even available to us, we are deactivating that part of our brain.
Because we've got to redirect our resources down to a more primitive part of our brain that we might call the survival brain, the limbic system, the fight-or-flight part of our brain that basically just empowers us to do one of those two things, either put up our dukes and fight or get the heck out of there because we're not safe. So, notice that you can trigger those chemicals by your thoughts, that's pretty important.
What if we were to think something positive about your life? I gave you the extreme example of my life as bad cortisol, fight-or-flight, or my life is good. That feels different, right?
Why does it feel different?
Going back to the brain, Scott pointed out, when you think in those terms, you get a little bump of dopamine. Now dopamine is a totally different chemical, it tends to give you feelings of peace and contentment and good feelings. Pleasant feelings, but it also has an effect on your brain and the effect is that it redirects the blood flow from those lower primitive areas of your brain up to the prefrontal or higher cortical areas of your brain the dopamine that we are talking about now is a completely different chemical from cortisol, it has a completely different effect in addition to all those pleasant feelings that it gives you.
It also activates the higher cortical areas of your brain allowing you to do some of those really awesome things like problem solving and conflict resolution and compassion and empathy and all of that great stuff that you need the higher parts of your brain to accomplish. You can trigger and activate that by your thoughts.
This is powerful, so powerful.
The chemistry in your brain and your central nervous system in your body can be triggered and affected by your very thoughts. It matters what you think. Here's a little experiment that you can do and I love this one because it gives you a quick experience with either the cortisol or the dopamine that we were talking about.
What if you were to ask yourself, am I on schedule? You know, with your life, with your relationships, with your business, with whatever it is that you are in. Am I on schedule? Now do you know? I mean, do you know for sure whether you are or aren't? Do you have some cosmic connection to the grand calendar of all things? No, you don't. You have to pick a position about that. What you choose to think is going to make a difference. Now experiment with this, think for just a moment, I'm behind, I'm behind, I'm not up-to-date here, I'm not on schedule. Oh, I don't even like this part of the experience because it makes me feel nervous and upset and kind of like something's wrong Notice that, those feelings are because of chemistry, the chemistry is because of the thought that I'm not on schedule and I don't know so that's a position that I can choose.
Now switch it over in fact, just do this, okay. Humor me. Get a little smile on your face, okay, goofy little smile like I do. Raise your eyebrows, just to touch. A little lilt to your voice as you say, I'm right on schedule. Just try that. How was that? I'm right on schedule.
It's a totally different feeling, isn't it? How would it feel if you really believed it? Nice. See, now we have just activated the brain with a whole different chemical. It's not like it solves anything, what it does is put you in position to solve anything. Do your thoughts matter? Oh yeah, and you get to choose what they are, negative thinking has a very different effect on your brain chemistry than positive thinking does. Notice that, experiment with it, have some fun with it and let's see if we can activate your brain to work for us instead of against us. Big shout-out to my buddy, Scott Halford, who helped us to learn how to activate our brain. Activate your brain, then share this with somebody.