Whether you generally identify as someone who is able to always look on the bright side of life or as someone who lives life waiting for the proverbial axe to fall
, the way we respond to external stimuli, both positive and negative, in our day-to-day life is due in large part to a combination of genetics and personality traits
established early on in life. As it would seem, to most people the glass really is either half empty or half full. It’s all in how you look at it—And part of what goes into that is how you are genetically pre-disposed to look at things and how you were formatively taught to look at things at a very young age.
Food for thought: According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
in 1978, researchers found that a group of lottery winners were not significantly happier or more emotionally well off than a control-group of non-winning participants. In that same study, a group of patients who had suffered traumatic spinal-cord injuries at one point in their able-bodied lives were likewise not significantly unhappier or less emotionally well off than the control group of non-injured participants. Based on this study alone, researchers supposed that every individual is born with and to some extent nurtures a certain “happiness set point” or “behavioral baseline”
that the body tends to maintain or revert back to—Like an emotional survival instinct. What goes up must come down, but what goes down must come up. It’s similar to the way our bodies chemically self-regulate after periods of great stress or great joy.
The good news is, you are not actually stuck with the behavioral baseline your biology or early formative years have dealt you. Your natural baseline for happiness can be “reset” or transformed
with a little diligence and hard work. It’s just a matter of knowing in what direction your spirit tends to go and training yourself up in a new perspective. If you’ve been tracking with us at all throughout this blog, you already know the deal: Change is possible!
I know that when I personally am experiencing a period of extreme spiritual or emotional adversity, I sometimes have to consciously stop the cycle and ask myself, “What is disturbing you this much? What assumptions are you making about yourself or the world that is not sitting right with you?” This is a reality check moment that allows me to honor what I am experiencing while still beginning to make change around what I am experiencing—Or at least the way I am experiencing it.
Why make change? Because especially when it comes to our emotions, we go back to what we know. And what we know, especially what we’ve learned in early childhood or what is deep within our DNA, can be so powerful as to control us—But only if we let it. Behavioral baselines have a lot of inertia in that way. It can take a lot for a positive person to move to a negative baseline (we see this happen most often through traumatic events or repeated, habitual stressors) and it can take a lot for a negative person to move (or return) to a positive baseline.
Consider, for a moment, how you tend to view your world. Which of these seems most like you? “Great! We’re already halfway to our goal!” or “Great, we’re only half way to our goal.”
In most cases, it all boils down to gratitude. You can be a more positive person today by simply working on the gratitude you show your world on a day-to-day basis. If that sounds overly prescriptive or like some “count your blessings” tripe, think of it this way: Gratitude is the difference between what you feel the universe gives you compared to what you feel the universe owes you. Being honest with yourself about both can help you identify unacknowledged pain while also moving toward a place of spiritual reconciliation within yourself. Begin any meditation practice today by taking some time away to intentionally set a mindset based on gratitude and love, one wherein you move from a place of entitlement and disappointment to one of abundance and joy
. Like any practice, this takes time. The Alpha Hearts Lifework Method® is here to help you along the way.
Make no mistake: Our concern here is primarily with general outlook or worldview, not with very serious mental health disorders, which should be diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional. Rather, what we are arguing for here is awareness. Know your baseline. Know yourself. Know your triggers and your pleasures, your passion and your pain. Embrace what you love about you and then never let it go—Because in the times that you feel lost, it can be hard to find yourself again if you don’t know who you are to begin with.
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