“Hey, hows it going?
How many times a day do you have this interaction? It’s an average, beige, mediocre exchange with another human. For just one day pick a new adjective. An easy one to start would be “really, really good” (ok, not strictly a new adjective), better would be “fantastic”, or “wonderful” or “marvelous”. Insert this into the above conversation.
“Hey, hows it going?”
Did this small amount of effort change the interaction from a non-event into something positive. Even if it just amuses the other person, see how easy it is to bring a smile to another human. If its really this easy why are we all so miserable?
This post is a little off my normal subject matter but is dedicated to some pretty inspirational people I’ve spent time with over the last couple of weeks. I’m not stating outright that there’s a scientifically proven direct link between being in a happy, positive mood and performing better, but I don’t think there’s many people on the planet that would disagree. And as John Kiely (fascinating guy posting really good research @simplysportssci) said to me on Twitter recently
“Perhaps an artefact of us wanting to understand ‘life’ in simple ‘cause & effect’ terms: But the beauty is in the complexity”
Distress and Eustress
I think one of the main benefits of a positive mindset comes from your ability to “frame” a problem. Framing just refers to how you perceive a situation in your brain. A similar event can occur to two people and depending on how they frame the situation, can lead to different outcomes. A stressful event occurs, you can view it as negative and succumb to distress, a negative stressor, or you can see it as eustress, a stressor which helps us get better or improve.
This perception is the difference between seeing something as a negative threat or a positive challenge, and it is this perception, which is entirely under your control.
Mind and Body
There is evidence emerging of things like meditation changing the architecture of your brain, so why can’t positivity have a similar effect on our neuroplasticity. How long till these bran changes are backed up by evidence of changes in epigenetic expression. Maybe they have already if you believe this article and paper.
To make a massive extrapolatory leap, is the current epidemic of depression in the western world a result of too much negativity for way too long, actually leading to plastic changes in the brain structure and a further negative default position. A vicious circle to the point where you can no longer generate internal positivity. A mindset that causes physiological change leading to a different gene expression? Do we therefore have control over whether this has a positive or negative effect on our lives?
And I guess, the appropriate way to end this rather fractured blog-post would be to thank my parents, its their genetics which started me off on this road, the nature, and their upbringing which formed the person that I am, the nurture. So for those that didn’t get lost in a big old google search on epigenetics:
Nature + Nurture = epigenetic expression
Thanks for reading