“The advances in functional MRI and SPECT scans of the brain are leading to better correlations between personality, mood and mental disorders with anatomic sections fo the brain. The SPECT scan shows hypoperfusion and hyperperfusion of areas of the brain. Depression, bipolar disorder and similar dysfunctions are associated with hypoperfusion is brain areas. The Cleveland Clinic advice has more science behind it now than ten years ago. The proof is in the pudding. Try it and you will see that your brain assumptions and reflex reactions change.” Bill Chesnut, MD
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|April 26, 2016 Cleveland Clinic Wellness Newsletter http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/|
Pollyanna gets a bad rap. What if it turns out that her relentless optimism wasn’t naiveté, but wisdom? Considering that negative thinking contributes to chronic stress and a host of health problems, Polly may have known exactly what she was doing. Advances in neuropsychology have shown that returning to the same thought over and over creates a real neural pathway in the brain, just like taking the same path through a field day after day creates a visible trail. Once the “thought pathway” is there, you’re more likely to follow it. Take these three steps to set yourself up for good health by increasing positive thinking and interrupting negative thinking before it gets entrenched. Happy trails!
Get perspective. If you notice that you’re having a negative thought, step outside yourself (figuratively!) and take stock. This probably isn’t the worst day ever, and everyone is not, in fact, out to get you. Your brain is just in a mental rut. Really. It’s that simple.
Sit and be still. A regular meditation practice can help steer you away from negative thought pathways and lead to lasting, beneficial changes in your brain. Sitting quietly, paying attention to your breath, and noticing your thoughts and emotions without judging them (all hallmarks of meditation) will help you to cultivate a more positive frame of mind.
Revel in the good stuff. Reinforce positive pathways by basking in enjoyable experiences, like the scent of fresh lilacs, a laughing fit with your best friend, or the natural high you feel after a bike ride. Keep a “joy journal” or a “gratitude register” to record the high points. And if people start calling you Polly, take it as a compliment!