The Positive perspective
The reality we come to accept as our life is made up of several elements. Some are perceived as good, some bad, and some neutral.
What we don’t realize is that the way we perceive life situations through our five senses actually sculpts our brain which is the ultimate master of our body.
This is a simplified view of a complex process known as neuroplasticity, which is the ability of our brain to re-organize itself— chemically, physically, and structurally— in order for us to change the way our body and ourselves respond to life situations.
The use of imaging techniques in the field of neuroscience has lent us much knowledge on the way our brain behaves in the face of negative and positive experiences. We now know that when we focus on the negative aspects of an experience, our brain engages our resources to confront a threat. For example, a tiger is approaching. This in turn draws all of our metabolic energy from the executive function part of our brain and from our vital functions and processes, and directs that energy to our large muscle groups. Now we can run from the tiger. But this energy shift places us in a temporary state of cognitive and emotional impairment.
On the contrary, when we focus on positive aspects of any experience, we operate from the space of a balanced nervous system, which has been proven to provide many benefits. We feel better, find more creative solutions to problems, experience less cardiovascular diseases, improve our immune function, and reduce anxiety, depression and overall symptoms of stress.
Our brain evolved with a strong negative bias that has kept us alive and ahead of the tigers for millions of years. Now, that negative bias is more harmful than helpful.
What can we do, little by little, to change the neural pathways of our brain, so that we can use it to tap into our most valuable resources and experience life from our best self?