Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best Exercise To Increase Optimism - Automatically, Rapidly, Re-Program Your Brainwave Activity

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Best Exercise To Increase Optimism - You Will Easily, Automatically, Rapidly, Re-Program Your Brainwave Activity.

Friends and followers of The Braintenance Blog are familiar with the various notions of the subconscious, the ubermind, de-personalization, meditation, neuroplasticity, entrainment, cross-hemispheric intelligence, the electromagnetic and chemical properties of the brain and thought, intersynaptic neurotransmitters and their effects, pheromones, nature, nurture, changing synaptic chemistry, nootropic protocols and a host of other technical details and interesting theories relating to brain, mind, learning and feeling.

What I want to do today, and during the course of these next several weeks, is to pass on to you the gift of increased optimism, based upon a three-step approach developed at McGill University.

What you will need to do is:

This will give you an indication of how you compare to other people in your general level of optimism or pessimism. Then, if you want to continue you can:

This task measures bias in attention and it is important to follow the instructions and keep your eyes focused on the centre of the screen as best you can. This test is much shorter than the one we gave Michael and less well controlled, but should give you a reasonable indication of whether you have a tendency to orient towards the positive or towards the negative.

Remember to take a note of your optimism and cognitive bias test results so that you can compare with your scores at the end of your positivity training.

Finally, you can undergo attentional re-training or a CBM* that is designed to enhance a positive bias in attention – we can call this “positivity training”. The task we used was developed by Dr Mark Baldwin at McGill University in Canada ( and Dr Stephane Dandeneau ( They kindly gave us access to their attentional training game as well as permission to give you the opportunity to try it for yourself here.

[Please Note: The Attentional Training Game will not work on devices without Adobe Flash. Users with mobile devices may wish to install the MindHabits Psych Me Up! app as an alternative.]

The idea is to do this task at least 3 times a week over a 6 to 8 week period. You also need to do mindfulness meditation for around 10 minutes per day, 3 days a week, over the same period.

At the end of the 7 to 8 week period, you can take the optimism test again as well as take the attention bias test to see whether there has been any change. The mere fact of change, at least anecdotally indicates (with all other things being held equal) that this simple exercise set has changed the electromagnetic 'firing patterns' in your mind.The cause and effect possibilities notwithstanding, it would seem that by changing the manner in which your mind processes or analyzes things (i.e., the "mechanics of mind"), you can change the emotional aspect of your mind... i.e., your feelings about yourself and about life.

Try this, please. You'll truly enjoy it. At worst, you'll feel a slight improvement, but in the more common scenario, you'll feel significantly better. And optimism is a match that tends to ignite the magic of any positive self-fulfilling prophesy.

As the success coaches who are always touting the Laws Of Attraction and Affinity, "If you are optimistic, better things will just naturally come to you." To a large extent, I believe them -- and that belief, in and of itself, more favorably inclines my mind toward optimism.

NOTE: Cyclically and recursively, this expectation of better results and subsequent obtaining of better results, serves to exponentialize the ultimate beneficial effect.

*More About CBM:
Another newer technique is called cognitive bias modification, or CBM (see link here: The idea of CBM is to directly tackle negative cognitive biases by means of a simple computerized programme. By presenting two images side by side very rapidly, for instance, and asking people to respond to small targets that appear in either location, we can subtly re-train the brain to shift attention away from nasty images and towards more pleasant images. A growing body of research shows that shifting negative biases is surprisingly easy and has effects on how well people cope in a stressful situation. This is still a very new technique, however, and we still need to learn a lot more about how CBM effects the pathways in the brain and whether the benefits can last for the long term.

Thank you all for reading me, for experimenting and exploring along with me, and for sharing my articles with your contacts, connections and colleagues (alliteration!) through your social media sharing tools.


Douglas E. Castle  

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