How to Manipulate Your Brain to Shake Off Negativity That Keeps You From Performing
You get by every day having the inner satisfaction and peace of mind. No health problems, no lay-off to think of, no relationship issue to bother with and no agony of student loan or credit card debt to stress about.
You may not have the grand material things many wish to have, deep within, you’re very satisfied with all that you have. You are wrapped with positive energy and almost everyone around you can feel that. Your happy mood is very contagious.
It all seems perfect until life presents you with a sharp turn.
Health issues started to arise. Sudden relationship or money problems sprouted out of nowhere.
Your defenses start to collapse. First, loss of motivation to act toward your dreams. Then, comes the negative self-talks that sprout every day followed by lack of willingness to move.
Before you can steer into a different direction, you already lost your power to control your life. Depression kicks in and cripples your entire performance.
And the only thing you become very good at is being PASSIVE.
Negativity wraps around you and every direction that you go leads to a more depressing situation.
The harsh truth is:
Negativity will always attach itself to you if you don’t purposely lead it to the exit door.
Issues will always arise in life. It’s only a matter of time when you’ll experience it. It is meant to test your endurance to fight and survive in life.
However, too many people easily lose heart when issues arise.
Most people dwell on negativities for so long that eventually cripple their progress. They cower in their safe place waiting for the waves to subside before moving. Soon, before they can even recover, they are almost buried in the mud they have chosen to keep themselves in.
The most painful thing is:
I used to be one of them, and I’m hoping I’ll never be one again.
I know how hard it is to be wrapped by negativity. I lost a tremendous amount of opportunities by dwelling on the miseries I have. I attracted every deadly enemy of productivity because of my passivity.
The Number One Enemy of Productivity That Will Crush Any Goal You Have
Negative people are more prone to anxiety and depression.
When you’re depressed, you hardly produce anything. You rather lazy around instead of facing the circumstance you are in. You find every bit of excuse not to perform.
Little did you know that you are attracting the number one enemy of your productivity: PASSIVITY.
Passivity increases depression.
The brain processes passivity and can encourage depression if not treated right. The frontal lobe of the brain controls the cognitive skills. The left frontal lobe is responsible for movement and positive feelings while the right frontal lobe promotes non-verbal abilities and negative emotions.
Knowing how to activate your left frontal lobe can create a tremendous change in your mood and soon, in your performance.
The classic case of Phineas Gage shed light on the important functions of the frontal lobe. Gage was a well-respected supervisor that almost everyone claims to be caring, understanding and compassionate.
An accident at work completely changed his life. A steel rod pierced his brain and destroyed most of his left frontal lobe. He survived the accident and retained his cognitive abilities but lost control of his impulses and emotions.
Eventually, problems started to arise. The old Gage became erratic, rude and hard to deal with. His coworkers claimed he was totally a different Phineas Gage. He died twenty years after the injury and researchers studied his brain and skull.
The case of Gage proved that the performance of the brain can recover given the right intervention and rehabilitation.
Malcolm MacMillan, author of An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage, has said:
“He was the first case where you could say fairly definitely that injury to the brain produced some kind of change in personality. That personality change, which undoubtedly occurred, did not last much longer than about two to three years. Even in cases of massive brain damage and massive incapacity, rehabilitation is always possible.”
The point of the story is:
You can always rewire your brain to produce a behavior you want. Your brain is plastic and can be molded based on the behavior you want to master.
As Donald Hebb has said, “The neurons that fire together, wire together.”
If you want to be in control of your life, control the command center of your body.
When you know how the brain operates, you’ll find ways to direct your actions to something positive. You’ll be conscious of your behavior and shape it into what leads to your growth. You’ll initiate movements that shake off negativities and fight depression.
Five Ways on How to Control Your Brain to Fight Negativity
Recent neuroscience research shows the changing nature of the brain through neuroplasticity. The brain is plastic and can be reshaped based on the behaviors you feed it.
Too often, people unconsciously do things that trigger the neurons to attract negativity and depression.
With simple wisdom and information, you can tap your command center to reverse the effects of negative energy.
1. Act As If Everything is Under Control
When people are being attacked by negativity, the immediate reaction is to retreat and become passive. They choose to sleep rather than be productive. In turn, their goals become stale and their performance waver.
Negative people find it hard to change the scenario that plays in their minds. But in order to fight this energy, a conscious effort has to be exerted to change it.
Acting as though you are in a good mood may seem easy in theory but hard to practice. After all, how can you fake a smile when everything around you is going wrong?
But the brain interprets even the single behavior as important.
Behavioral Activation is one of the principal therapies used to fight depression.
When you smile, you are actually activating parts of your brain associated with positive emotions. There are neural pathways that link the facial muscles to the important parts of your brain. The movement that you exhibit on your face can affect the signals that you send to your brain.
Surprisingly, the brain performs contra-lateral functioning.
When you move the muscles on the right side of your face, you are activating your left hemisphere. Likewise, when you move the muscles on your left face, you’re activating your right hemisphere.
When you force a smile or frown, you are sending messages to your brain that activate the hemisphere involved. A simple smile can activate your left hemisphere which processes positive emotions and a frown can activate your right hemisphere which processes negative emotions.
2. Feel As If You Are In Other’s Situation
There’s so much going on in your mind right now and you feel how unfair life is. So instead of moving, you just lay down on the couch, sip some wine and let worries take care of their own.
Before you know it, you’re already in your “pity-party” mode and suddenly, you’ve transformed into the best “Debbie-downer” you can be.
Most people think they suffer the most in life when confronted with certain issues. They take inventory of every single bad thing that happens to them. They lose track of other good things that happen every day.
But when the mirror neurons come into play, a positive spin happens. Mirror neurons are brain cells that make us respond or feel an action that someone else performs.
When you see someone accidentally hit his head on the door, you feel how awful it is.
It is why your heart races while watching a sports match as though you’re actually in the field. It is why you cringe when you see someone taste an unfamiliar food and make a sour face. It is when you feel empathy toward others when you see them happy or sad.
You can shift your mood by activating your mirror neurons.
Neuroscientist Vittorio Galese has said:
“It seems we’re wired to see other people as similar to us, rather than different. At the root, as humans, we identify the person we’re facing as someone like ourselves.”
When you feel sorry for yourself, think of others who are enduring greater challenges than you.
Maybe they are children from poorly developed countries who hardly have anything to eat or drink. Maybe it’s the people who suffer from debilitating diseases who only wish to have an extra day to spend with loved ones. Maybe it’s the single mom in your block who manages to be happy despite not knowing where to get the next meal.
In any circumstance, there is always an opportunity to be positive provided you initiate the effort to see it.
3. Enjoy the Natural Light As If You’re On the Beach
Most people who get depressed prefer to lock themselves out of the world. They stay inside a room surrounded by heavy drapes where light cannot penetrate.
But low level of light changes the biochemistry of the brain.
The brain gets its signal from the retina to detect if it is dark or light outside. The retina will then send that information to the pineal gland which will trigger the appropriate action.
If it is dark, the pineal gland will secrete melatonin which triggers sleep. If it is light, the pineal gland will not secrete melatonin.
When there is too much melatonin, the serotonin level decreases. Serotonin is responsible for mood balance and low serotonin leads to depression.
It’s no wonder why people become more depressed during winter because of fewer hours of daylight.
I had to learn it the hard way. I came from a tropical country which is abundant in sunlight. When I moved to the USA, it was around winter time. I was locked down for several months in the house while watching the snow falls. I now realized why people in my country are always happy despite the economic situation there.
When you maximize your natural light exposure, your brain chemistry promotes positive feelings.
Your brain triggers the right hormone that will help you sustain your positive attitude. You understand that a good artificial light which mimics the sunlight can also help you fight depression.
4. Change the Narratives You Play In Your Head
People who keep playing the negative story in their heads hardly get to do anything. They constantly feel sorry for themselves and dwell on everything that they don’t have.
When you want to jump on something but you condition your mind you can never do it, you already lost half of the battle.
Your neurons are wired to accept the statements that you tell yourself.
Your left hemisphere processes language and the narratives you feed it interprets them as positive or negative. Since the left hemisphere processes positive emotions, shifting your narratives from negative to positive can rewire your neurons with a positive perspective.
The right hemisphere, however, sees the whole picture. It always works together with your left hemisphere.
When you put a positive spin on your narratives, your left hemisphere passes those input to the right hemisphere which will interpret those into a whole picture.
You become what you think because your thoughts shape your actions.
Your brain interprets your thoughts as directives or commands. Your body responds to the thoughts that run through your mind.
When you know how powerful your brain is in interpreting narratives, you’ll make a conscious effort to have a positive spin on your stories.
You adopt a mindset that improves your creativity.
You consciously choose your responses to every event.
You purposely produce life-energizing thoughts.
You highlight what is good in every essential aspect of your life.
5. Become Extra Active Than You Currently Are
A simple movement can actually create a tremendous difference in your mood.
When you exercise, you are promoting the oxygenation of the blood. Your heart is actively pumping blood which promotes great blood flow to your brain to make you feel alert and calm.
Exercise can also increase the performance of norepinephrine which increases heart rate and brain function. A higher level of this can boost your mood.
In addition to enhancing your mood, aerobic exercises can also improve your cognitive abilities.
It enables you to respond more quickly to challenges with a better result in performance.
Research shows that active individuals are able to process information more quickly.
Studies show that the positive mood effects of exercise involvement suggest that the focus should be on the frequency of exercise rather than duration or intensity until the behavior has been well established.
A simple walk in the park or a circle run in your block can alleviate your moods into positive. When you move your body, you actually feel lighter.
You lift yourself from a depressing situation.
You reduce the stress level in your brain.
You improve your mental well-being.
You increase your energy and positive engagement.
You enhance your self-esteem and body image.
On the flip side, not being physically active can cause your body and mind to deplete.
You Become In Control When You Leverage Brain’s Power
When negativities wrap around you, shift focus and look for ways to fend it off from the start. Commit yourself to training your brain on how to use it to your advantage.
The brain is a magnificent organ but only a few leverage its power.
When you take the conditions that your brain prefer, you become in control of your life.
You increase your productivity instead of dwelling on your miseries. You improve your performance that leads you closer to your goals. You become efficient in every aspect of your life.
Now that you’re on your journey of personal growth, there’s no stopping you.
You’ll evolve into the person you used to wish you be. You’ll get to choose from opportunities that arise. You’ll leave your old self who simply likes to dabble.
Not even negative energy can stop you from evolving.
It’s because you are now in control of your brain.
Want to Fuel Your Performance?
I’ve created a checklist to help you find out if you are operating based on your inner drives. If you are driven inside, your performance and life become better.