Audio for Day 4
Welcome to Day 4!
We continue today on the importance of positivity this time through a brain science perspective. With the variety of people in this group, I wanted to provide a diverse collection of reasons for choosing the positive lifestyle. From my studies, I’ve seen a scale of beliefs about positivity that range from biological /chemical science to spirituality and everything in between. By offering several viewpoints, hopefully you can find the one that resonate best with you.
One of the authorities on brain science is Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a leading Harvard neuroscientist. He collaborated with Dr. Deepak Chopra to author a fascinating book called “Superbrain”. One of the first things to grab my attention was the statement “you are not your brain” but the one who gets to lead it, teach it, care for it. This is a surprise to a lot of people who think they have no say in how their brain functions. But it’s not true.
I’ve heard it said by many that we only use a small percentage of our brains. According to “Superbrain”, once we know how to manage this amazing organ we can do so much more. More good news? The brain adapts to provide what we need and keeps growing throughout our lives through what’s called neuroplasticity. It even functions as we age. It is truly a remarkable tool we have at our disposal.
So how does that relate to positivity?
Your brain not only interprets the world, it creates it. Well actually you do - by what you tell your brain throughout the day. If we tell it the same things we’ve always told it – often some truly negative things – it will continue to focus on the same things. But start to ask it to do new, more empowering tasks, and it will gladly rise to the occasion.
You’re already doing that. You’ve asked your brain to remember to think of something positive every morning. You may or may not have remembered yet and that’s ok. The first few times are like trying to cross though the woods where there is no path. It’s challenging. Every time you go back to the path, (think your thought), it gets easier and easier. Why? Because every new thought directs the brain to lay down a layer of myelin connecting two neurons together. Think that thought again. More myelin until the path becomes smooth and easy. That’s why your old habits are so easy to slip into – they’re sliding along the merry myelin pathway. Your job is to help direct your brain to the path you most want. And you do that through repetition. You’re already doing that with the simple tasks from Days 1 to 3.
Let’s ask your brain for something new. Pick a time you want to get up tomorrow. Say you usually have to wake up for 6:30. Tell your brain that you want to get up at 6:31 or 6:27. Most likely it will wake you up at exactly that time. In fact, I bet you’ve woken up before the alarm before haven’t you?
I learned that strategy after a hurricane. I didn’t have power for 8 days!! I had gone to a seminar a few days after the storm and was wondering how I was going to know what time to wake up the next day (pre-cell phone). The presenter told me to pick a time and my brain would do the rest. It was spot on. It even works when I cross time zones! Somehow my brain knows that 6:30 am Eastern Time is different than 6:30 am Pacific! Now it’s your turn to try.
Here’s another brain fact. When you’re experiencing negative emotions like anger, fear, stress, and depression, the part of your brain responsible for decision making, correcting errors and assessing situations shuts down. It's part of the reason people have road rage. They ‘lose their mind’ or a least temporarily the function of the pre-frontal cortex that is responsible for them being civil. By being more positive, we take charge of our brains rather than letting the reptilian part (the most primitive part of our brain) take over.
These are only two examples of what the brain is capable of doing. According to the Doctors Tanzi and Chopra, the human brain can do much more than anyone ever thought. It’s only limited by what we ask of it.
So what are you saying to your brain? How much of it is positive?
I watched Jennifer Lopez interviewed on The Meredith Vieira Show. Even she, one of the most beautiful women in the world, was telling herself, her brain negative things. She had been doing that for most of her life. She said it was most likely why she’s had so many failed relationships. Here’s the link to the clip:
Let's get back to you. You’ve started monitoring your negative thoughts since Day 2. Now try to notice what exactly you’re negative about. Is it mostly about other people or is it directed more toward you? You might want to consider writing down what comes up as you start to pay attention to your negativity. You may be surprised what you’re telling your brain.
We’re going to spend more time on this later. One of the days focuses on the power of questions which are great for redirecting your brain. Let's do a little preview because I think it highlights one of the great benefits your brain will provide for you.
Quick story: When I taught in high school, my classroom was used for everything – driver’s ed, night school, detention. There were 3 shelves loaded with gear from all those classes leaving very little space for my 5 classes. I used to go into the room and gripe about the shelves. My brain heard it, knew there was nothing new to process and moved on. One day as I was learning about the power of questions, I asked myself (my brain), what I could do to make things better. My brain began pouring out suggestions like crazy! I was stunned. Such a simple shift. Statement – I still felt lousy about the shelves. Good question – my brain provided a slew of solutions!
Bottom line? Our brain is there to serve us. We’re the driver. Now is the time to learn more about how it works, how you can tap into its brilliance to create a more positive life because your brain is ready and able whenever you are.
Day 1: Start the day with a positive statement and gratitude
Day 2: Become aware of your own negativity with the Awareness Jar
Day 3: Collect things that make you happy (and Save the Peeps!)
Day 4: Tell your brain what time you want to wake up tomorrow, start to notice what you’re negative about
Have a positively wonderful day!
P.S. Now you can choose to continue to the next day or wait until tomorrow. Either way, here's a link to the next lesson