Thursday, 10 October 2013

Retraining Unhappy Brains

Oh wow - don't you love the internet? A LinkedIn colleague of mine - Martin Ellis - wrote a blog piece about optimism and pessimism which has sparked off a whole new line of thought on happiness and acts of leadership.

Martin recommended a BBC Horizon doco which I have watched on YouTube (man, there's that "doncha love the internet" moment again!). Basically, Michael Mosley found that he is anxious and sleeps poorly. So he set out to see if he could do something about it.

Long story short, Michael found that he focused on the negative, so needed to reprogramme his brain. He did a few things. Firstly, he did a base line test. Then he did seven weeks of positivity rewiring exercises on the PC, and he learned to meditate.

Michael spent 10 minutes three times a week doing the PC-based exercises, and 20 minutes a day meditating, for seven weeks.

At the end of the seven weeks, Michael had some post-tests. He had moved from being a largely negative thinker to a much more positive thinker.

However, this story doesn't end here. Neuroscientists are using identical twins to study tiny DNA differences between postitive and negative thinkers. It looks like we might learn negative thinking which throws some genetic switches and changes our DNA. The positive side of this is that we must then be able to throw those switches back again.

So when your Mother told you not to dwell on the negative, you should have listened. At least you know enough to listen now :-D 



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