Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Change in Perspective

Life changes. We change. All human beings are built with the capacity to change their perspective. A change in your perspective can mean a change in life experience and interpretation as well as life goals.

In my Kinesiology class we spent the first few lectures and homework assignments learning about the brain, imagery, and neuro-pathways. Can I just say that I never appreciated the brain until these lectures. It is an incredible organ in the body and we can use it to change how we perceive and approach our daily life or even movement.

I'd like to spend this post just mentioning that attitude is a powerful thing. Just like our body retains 'muscle memory' and actual memories, it can also retain what I can only think to refer to as 'thought habits' or 'attitude memory'. Now, I'm no neuro-scientist, and I only just learned this last week, but I thought it was so incredible that I had to share my thoughts. It has already changed how I approach everything and I hope this knowledge will help you accomplish whatever it is that you desire to accomplish.

Brain Science as Understood by Me (You should do your own research before quoting me on any of this): Each brain contains different sections of matter that delegate or manage different functions that are necessary to daily life. Apparently research involving the Hippocampus and the Amygdala have shown that you can 'exercise' different parts of the brain. Well, duh, Kathryn. But for real, your brain will create more dendritic pathways and other such neuron related highways for your functions and thoughts to follow where you use them most. This is why it isn't practice that makes perfect, but perfect practice that makes perfect. This is where bad habits come from, or other habitual practices like defaulting to a specific posture when you aren't thinking about actively lifting through your core and cervical vertebrae. Doing a specific action with the wrong technique even though you know it is bad technique, or going into 'auto-pilot' so to speak. The hippocampus apparently is a section of the brain that you will want to exercise from here on out. It handles some of the feelings of empowerment and positivity; while the Amygdala handles more of the anxious, fearful and 'tired' feelings that we habitually turn to. Supposedly you can literally exercise one or the other. If you are faced with a choice to react positively and react negatively then you just formed a pathway. If you repeat that reaction to another circumstance you just solidified that pathway even more or created a new one with a similar result. The same should also apply for the positive emotions and attitudes. If you are faced with the choice to be optimistic or depressed and choose optimistic then your brain remembers this and creates that pathway. Do it again and it can become a habit.

I have also found an article that discusses the result of 'positive affect' on creativity and perspective. Or in other words flexibility in thought processes and having a more positive perspective. Here is a quote that I liked from this article: "This research suggests that positive affect increases a person's ability to organize ideas in multiple ways and to access alternative cognitive perspectives." (Ashby, Turken, Isen, pg. 2)

What I gather from this information is that we have the power to change our outlook, creativity level, and perspective in order to help us to achieve our goals and have a more positive life experience regardless of our situation.

Here are some fun articles to get you started if you are interested in researching more on this topic:
"A Neuropsychological Theory of Positive Affect and its Influence on Cognition" by F. Gregory Ashby, Alice M. Isen, and U. Turken

"Neuroimaging Studies of Amygdala Function in Anxiety Disorders" by Scott L. Rauch, Lisa M. Shin, and Christopher I. Wright

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and happy thinking. :)