Focus on the Positive - a Neuroscientific Approach

Studies show that positive emotions (and, by extension, happiness) benefit people more than promoting welfare. The cultivation of positive emotions, such as joy, optimism, and hope, promotes an expansive, tolerant and creative mindset. This leaves us open to new ideas and experiences.

Neuroscience and psychology consider this essential to improving our performance, achieving our goals, and increasing our happiness. It's the difference between our brains working with us or sabotaging us. In this view, when our mind works in a positive way, the result is that we are in control of our lives, using it in a beneficial way.

According to Neuroscience, the brain's right-hand side helps in perceiving physical and emotional sensations. The left-hand side of the brain focuses more on logical and linear thinking. When we are children, there is a better balance in the use of both sides. But, as we get older, our left brain focuses on our survival, continuously strengthened by day-to-day pressures. This stunts the right side.

The good news is that the brain is placid, and can be trained to respond well in a short period of time. Studies suggest that focusing on being positive leads to greater success across various areas of our lives. Examples include work, relationships, finances, and health. This is because our right brain helps us to be more open-minded, creative, innovative, and empathic.

Promoting a positive attitude means we need to start being positive thinkers. This may seem simple, but it is not. Since childhood, we learned not to question those who sabotaged our positive development. This, in turn, forms a set of negative mental patterns, which works against us. The question is not whether you have saboteurs, but the intensity that they remain in your mind, feelings and actions. These are negative thoughts that say all the time that you are not able and that the circumstances in your life keep you where you are. These experiences and thoughts remain in regions of the brain that concentrate on physical and emotional survival. The most dangerous are those who are "critical" of us, who only find fault in us and in others. This generates negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, anger, disappointment, shame and guilt.

To win, it is necessary to weaken these silent voices. This happens by strengthening the right side of the brain responsible for positive thinking. Why is this important? Because it helps us identify thoughts and feelings that keep us from exploring our potential and achieving self-fulfillment. 

Aside from being aware of the above, there are other things we can do to help develop our "positive brains". Reading, physical activity, walking, listening to music, meditating, and being more social are examples. While these activities may seem simple, they're proven to strengthen the brain's muscles.

Paulo Coelho wrote in The Fifth Mountain that if you "have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want.”

Wise words.

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