We’ve been enjoying the books of neuro-scientist Andrew Newberg and business and personal development coach, Mark Robert Wladman recently, in particular, “Words Can Change your Brain”.
An astonishing discovery is that even a single negative statement increases brain activity by releasing dozens of stress producing hormones and neurotransmitters. The functioning of the brain is consequently interrupted especially with regard to logic, reason and language.
Conversely, positive words and thought drive the motivational centres of the brain into action and they help us to have greater control over our emotions. Research shows that if you practise staying relaxed and repetitively focus on positive words and images, anxiety and depression will decrease.
The authors claim that to have the most loving relationships, the most thriving businesses and the greatest sense of well-being, we need to generate the 5 – 1 positivity ratio. Their research shows that if you have less than 3 positive thoughts for every negative thought or feeling, you’ll end up becoming angry, irritated and over time clinically depressed.
Why the conscious bias in terms of the positive? Scientists have known for a long time that the brain is hard-wired to respond to the negative more quickly and with more force than the positive because fear-based negativity is interpreted in the brain as a threat to our well-being and survival.
Newberg and Waldman’s conclusions are correlated by the studies of Positive Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson who found that college students with a positivity ratio above 3:1 were significantly more likely to have high mental and social health. The relationship guru John Gottman, over the course of dozens of studies can predict whether a couple will divorce with over 90% accuracy. A key factor of that prediction is the ratio of positive statements to negative statements the couples express during interview.
Psychologist, Marcial Losada works on developing high performance business teams. During his research he observed teams of eight whilst they developed strategic plans. Once again, the ratio of positive expressions to negative expressions was highly predictive of team success.
Negative thinking is self-perpetuating and it takes a conscious effort to break the cycle and develop a ratio of positive words, expressions, statements and feelings to negative ones which will benefit our health and well-being. It has been shown that just seeing a list of negative words, even for a few seconds, will make a highly anxious or depressed person feel worse. The more these words are ruminated upon the more the individual can actually damage the structures that regulate memory, feelings and emotions; sleep and appetite are disrupted and the ability to experience long time happiness and satisfaction.
It’s 2015 – let’s be conscious of the words we are using and the messages they convey – and if you notice that one negative thought has led to another to another to another – break the pattern by consciously relaxing and having a mantra of 4 or 5 positive words ready to intercede, and stay with it until you feel a bit better.
We wish you Peace, Joy, Health and Happiness for the coming year. Peace, Joy, Health, Happiness, Peace, Joy, Health, Happiness……………………………………….
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed