July 23, 2015
The Neuroscience of Having a Positive State of Mind
One of the key factors to being consistently happy is having the ability to manage your own state of mind…
Have you ever noticed that when you are in good mood and having a great day, people will smile more at you and treat you more nicely. And when you are in a bad mood or having a difficult day, there is a tendency to attract negative experiences. This is because you have mirror neurons in your brain, and so people will literally mirror back to you whatever you are feeling. And of course, this is all taking place at an unconscious level.
According to the American Psychological Association, mirror neurons are a type of brain cell that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. This explains why when you see someone fall down, you might flinch in sympathy. Or if you see someone eating your favorite chocolate desert, you begin to salivate.
If you want to bring forth more positive life experiences, then be more positive. If you want to feel good about yourself and feel good about your life, then start monitoring your internal thoughts. Notice what thoughts you are running through your head and what attitudes you are projecting…
Keep in mind that negative thoughts are self-reinforcing, meaning that once you start thinking about them it is sometimes hard to stop thinking about them. This is because you have a structure in your brains called the reticular activating system (RAS). The reticular activating system is located at the base of your skull and acts as a filter, whose job is to focus on whatever is important to you in that moment. Whenever you are in a negative mood, you will then have the tendency to focus on the negative in your life– and thus bring forth negative life experiences.
Whenever you are in a positive state then you will feel more motivated to sort for the positive experiences in your life, because you are literally directing your RAS and your brain to sort for what is good in your life. Thus you will bringforth more more positive experiences, because that is how the brain works!
I had an funny experience recently, where I told a flight attendant on the airplane that I had intended to have a positive state of mind throughout the whole flight, and that I wanted the flight to be a good experience. I told her this because the plane had been delayed by three hours and everyone on the airplane was tired and grumpy. Interestingly, every time the flight attendant walked by me, she would look at me and say, “Oh it’s you, you are the happy one!”
I ended up having a wonderfully positive experience during my flight, despite being delayed by three hours. The flight attendant later gave me a glass of free wine, which certainly made for a nicer flight!
Kristine Hallbom is the co-developer of the WealthyMind Program, and has been actively involved in the field of NLP for over 25 years. She has been working as a Professional Coach since 1996, and has done thousands of hours of professional coaching with her clients and students throughout her career.