Imaging Negative Visuals: I=E
By Dr. William K. Larkin on April 23, 2012
It’s a dangerous habit, and it is a learned habit...visualizing negatively what we fear in the future. We do it so subtly that we don’t realize we do until we are down the path of imagining the worst. Asking yourself “what is the worst that can happen?” is not a solution. It is a preparation for negative imaging. Always ask yourself, “what is the best that can happen?” and then work on imagining that.
Negative visuals from anxiety, fear, and resentment create division and dysynchrony in the brain. You are not using the whole brain. You are reducing the integrative, creative, large picture, problem solving capacity of the right brain. The more you do it, the less you can see the truth. Visuals hatched in negativity, fear, and anger do not solve problems. They waste precious psychic energy.
When was the last time you got into an idle, unnecessary negative conversation, and a little while later, your brain was racing across the terrain of one negative picture after another? What was your last toxic conversation? Are these conversations usually with the same people? Or do you start them?
Negative visualization kicks the brain in the flight/flight and all of the stress hormones are let loose. You can go through life on physiological high alert when there is really very little going onaround you except in what you have negatively created in your own brain.
One of the big effects of negative visuals is that you have difficult with clarity in knowing what you want. Is there a place for imagining negative scenarios to think through negative consequences? This has always been the argument for the necessity and importance of pessimism, and it’s bogus.
“Yes” is the answer, but not from fear, worry and dread. Not from using half your brain and not from a lack of brain integration. Not from accessing the larger picture of the creative, restorative, integrative functions of the right hemisphere. Facing drawbacks and limitations that suggest better alternatives are far better done from strengths and the desire for positive outcomes, not from fear. This is the thinking that draws upon the right hemisphere.
Fear always finds enemies that never existed in the first place and fights battles and wars that were never necessary. We have all fought a thousand battles that never happened, while 95% of what we visualized in our worries never occurred largely because we did not stop to get the right hemisphere “larger picture.” Negative imaging from fear and anxiety disengages the power of the right hemisphere.
When you imagine negative things you are decreasing the integration of the brain. Negative images are produced by the left brain drawing on negative information. Negative imaging, full of anxiety, fear, dread, and foreboding is not a right hemisphere activity. The work of the right hemisphere is to get the larger picture, the bigger picture, and the more creative picture. The right hemisphere integrates the negative processing of the left brain memories and impressions of truth.
Remember this formula: I=E. “I” is integration and “E” is emotion. The more negative the emotion, the less the integration of the brain. The more positive the emotion, the more whole, greater is the integration of the brain. A lack of brain integration, what we call dysynchrony, creates negative emotion and DownSpiraling. Solutions seem fewer and fewer, and imminent danger seems greater and greater in a DownSpiral. We imagine, both individually and collectively, enemies that just don’t exist.
Worry and anxiety will do it every time. Let worry and anxiety be a cue to go to feelings of “peace,” and from a higher more flourishing place in a more integrated brain, look at the situation that you’re wasting psychic energy on by worrying.
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES
1) “Negative visuals from anxiety, fear, and resentment create division and dysynchrony in the brain. You are not using the whole brain. You are reducing the integrative, creative, large picture, problem solving capacity of the right brain. The more you do it, the less you can see the truth.” Comment on this blog quote in light of your training with hemispheric memory and functionality. How would you coach a client to realize a more synchronous balance of right and left hemispheres? What tools would you use?
FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY
1) How have you used worry and anxiety as personal cues to go to feelings of peace. love, hope, joy, or gratitude? Tell us your story.
chivalry57 wrote on Tue Apr 24th, 9:09pm:
When I rise in the morning I tell myself “This is my morning to create the
kind of day I want!!”. No CNN. The positive armor I use to start my day are
reading my 5 five year goals aloud with visualization and my life mission statement.
To enhance my day even more, my Lady and I share each nite before
we slumber, 3 positive/ grateful things that happen to us that day…aaah
For us it is great therapy to bring more Up Spiral events into our lives.
I know that by making this decision and taking the time to do these positive choices that we will not be like so many people being in such a hurry to get where they don’t need to be. If we don’t let go of the things we don’t want, it will only create more bumps and roadblocks on our path to having our
need to be.
bcvalentine wrote on Thu Apr 26th, 11:59pm:
“It’s not about you” is a quote I adopted a few years ago. After reading Don Ruiz, Eckard Tolle, Marianne Williamson and countless others I learned to put my ego aside because ‘your’ drama or ‘your’ story has nothing to do with me. So now I find it quite easy to give people the benefit of the doubt. A stranger bumps into me on the street, they are probably having a bad day. A coworker gets pissy with me during a shift, they probably are stressed about making enough money to pay their rent. Whatever the case may be “It’s not about me” and I give them the benefit of the doubt. The times when I forget that, I feel heavy, the spiral of negative thoughts begins. Luckily I catch that pattern pretty quickly. I catch it even faster now having increased my positive ratio to a 5:1 or greater. I remember telling myself to give ‘them’ the benefit of the doubt and I would and I would feel better but not like I do now. If I am at a 95 and some drama came along that pulled me down to a 70, I probably bounced back up to an 85. Now I am right back where I started… 95. I no longer waste my time or energy with worry or anxiety, my psychic energy is rooted in the positive.
Chaotic attraction is new for me. I should say the term ‘chaotic attraction’ is new for me. I realize now that I have always had it and always used it. It is so clear to me now. With only a few weeks left in this program I have been thinking about my business. I didn’t go to college, I don’t have a business or marketing degree but I held steadfast to my vision of being a successful wellness coach and business owner. I started this journey sure of what I wanted and sure that it would happen for me but never knew for sure how it would happen. But that’s the beauty of VibeCore, you don’t need to. There have been people in my circle of acquaintances for a while now who have recently presented themselves to me as friends and allies. I have had lawyer offer free legal advice when I need it, an accountant offer free financial advice when I need it and a graphic designer offering to design my brand, all because they believe in me and my mission. Once upon a time I would have thought these coincidences to be ‘crazy’ but it’s not, is actually chaotic attraction. All of this is happening because my vibration has elevated to a higher level. Because my life has begun to flourish. Because I am in flow.
Dr.A wrote on Sat Apr 28th, 7:55pm:
Speaking of chaotic attraction!!! Sounds like the beginning of a stand up comedy act…but it is not comical…really, trust me. Seems that my month long trip to South America shook things up a bit. Yes, I was in Chile during two good sized earthquakes, but that’s not it. (smile) Although I was in flow for so much of my experience there, it rattled some ideas and feelings I have had deep inside for a while. I had felt glimpses of changes I really wanted, but due to fear, and some negative thoughts, it all got pushed back inside. Some of these changes have to do mostly with my professional life. For so long I have been doing my work which I love, mostly in a hospital setting. It is great to see that my holistic point of view and ideas help patients, and also teaches interns, residents and hopefully long term MD’s, the power of the mind and spirit, in conjunction with the importance of a holistic approach towards a healthy body. Yes, I love my work, but I have been feeling that I need to jump to the next level, to be completely on my own. Yes, in part it is due to politics and such at the hospital, but mostly because in the course of the month away, I re-evaluated my direction. There is so much for me to do, so many to help… I need the freedom to make it happen. It seems difficult to figure out how and when to make a change, but then again if I let go of fear and let VIbe Core take over, then I have nothing to worry about, and nothing to be negative about… the changes that are best for me WILL happen, when they happen. I am open to it. Emotional sobriety needs to be in place so that I can better deal with whatever comes my way. I will look to a greater place, to my higher self so that I can be clearly in VibeCore. “ I want you to move into this wider dimension where there’s greater and greater novelty, greater and greater differences and much more adaptability to change.” I can see some of what I am attracting. Chaotic attraction…yes… here I am, what novelties are you bringing to my life? I am here. I am ready!
Tracy wrote on Sun Apr 29th, 3:43am:
Giving the benefit of the doubt and going to the higher(est) place are practices that support emotional sobriety. Emotional sobriety is a neuropositive goal that can be achieved through these and other practices. Chaotic attraction and reciprocal causality are results of being in a nonlinear, positive state of mind. Being in the experience of chaotic attraction gives me the biggest “hit” of positivity. It appeals to my sense of fun and wackiness, and to my strength of Curiosity. What will happen next? How will my creativity express myself? What will come out of my mouth? Watch what happens! And laugh!
The I=E formula makes more sense to me when I think of it as E=I. I can access emotion and change my emotional state more easily than I know how to integrate my brain. To create greater brain integration I first need to stay in the emotional UpSpiral and practice emotional sobriety. Emotional sobriety is non-reactivity, which can be as easy as flicking away an annoying thought and also can be hard work moving negative events into finding a way to appreciate. Emotional sobriety doesn’t mean that I refrain from tailgating someone who cut me off in traffic while simultaneously holding back simmering anger, it means that I am can feel content or feel HAPPY that they cut me off. And I am happy because I can be happy, I don’t want to squander my emotional state or move into the down spiral over something as trivial as a traffic event. It doesn’t make sense to use my energy reserves and release cortisol in my body for a random happenstance. Being happy is preferable and I can choose it, and so I will and I do. The choice to stay emotionally sober isn’t always so simple. Recently I had a very tough and difficult disagreement during a phone call with my grown daughter. The disagreement became so emotionally difficult that I found myself ending the phone call because I no longer could tolerate it nor was it fruitful to continue. After hanging up the phone, I chose not to be reactive—I chose emotional sobriety. I wasn’t immediately able to “choose” to be happy, but I was able to hold myself steady, look around and appreciate where I was in that moment in time, and keep my thoughts above 3 to 1. I was able to experience sadness about our disagreement and acknowledge our conundrum without seeing it as a bad event – it just was. After sitting with that for some minutes, I was able to move myself back into a strong UpSpiral and work the emotional gym for reinforcement. I gave her more than the benefit of the doubt; I used my strength of Individualization to experience deep empathy for her thoughts and feelings. And from there I was able to affirm that I knew and I would work out this disagreement in time, and the love and respect we each have for each other would prevail. In the past I might have moaned and groaned to a family member about how “difficult” she was and described the conflict and garnered support for my position. But emotional sobriety isn’t served by that behavior and so I refrained, stayed sober and moved
Katherine wrote on Sun Apr 29th, 11:13am:
We are learning that in modern times negative thoughts serve only as a sign to proactively lean back to the positive. In GTPM, Dr. William Larkin emphasizes the benefits of positive thoughts by stating, “As the brain becomes more positive, we become more intelligent, diverse and creative in our thinking” (p. 43), as opposed to negative thinking that will close off these benefits and leave us emotionally hollow.
Have you ever made a judgment about another person and found out later you were wrong? Take the following scenario into consideration, “It’s like the woman who was upset at not being invited to her friend’s wedding, and held a grudge for 20 years… until the invitation finally arrived in the mail accompanied by an apology from the Post Office (http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/giving-the-benefit-of-the-doubt/).” How unfortunate that an unfounded (why would this person even think that her friend had not invited her) doubt caused an unhealthy grudge over so many years.
Reflecting back on the Larkin’s lecture, (14, p. 7) he uses the example to someone cutting you off in traffic. This is a great example since you would never have the ability to find out what was going on in the person’s life (unlike the friend who thought they did not receive a wedding invitation) who had cut you off. Giving the benefit of the doubt, in this case, is like receiving a gift. Only both the giver, and the beneficiary of this gift (not assuming negative motives), is YOU. Why think the worse when you will never know the full story. According to the writings of Buddha, “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills” which provides a good reason to develop the skill of anti-reactivity response. In other words, be careful about rushing to conclusions.
So how do you create an emotional environment conducive to giving the benefit of the doubt as opposed to jumping to faulty conclusions? One way is by going to the highest thinking and emotional state of mind possible. Larkin gives credit to this concept to Esther and Jerry Hicks who coined the term “Go to the Highest Place” (GHP), in their book, The Amazing Power of Positive Emotion. Simply put, it is the ability to think and feel the highest possible state at that moment in time.
Let’s go back to the example of someone cutting you off in traffic. What if you were able to use a skill like the Simple Elegant Solution (SES) in that brief moment of time to ensure you preserve the positive state of mind (SOM) that you had prior to the event. SES consists of pulsing a positive emotion (say Gratitude), Engage in a Strength (Forgiveness & Mercy as an example), and Make a Decision and take an action (benefit of the doubt as the offenders motives). By moving through the SES process you have the ability to “go to the highest place” (GHP).
Finally, in Lecture 15, Larkin demonstrates another process that will take us to GHP and that is through a meditative process of pulsing Love, Peace, Joy and Gratitude. Larkin instructs you to pulse the positive emotions as they relate to our chakras. Love is surrounding, peace is coming up through the pelvic area, joy is located around the chest and Gratitude springs up through our scalp. When I first did this exercise I also saw colors for each emotion. Love is white, peace – purple, joy – orange and gratitude is yellow.
jlongo wrote on Sun Apr 29th, 4:36pm:
Negative visualization is indeed a dangerous habit; it literally disintegrates your system. When you’re in the mists of disintegration one would think it would be difficult or perhaps even impossible to give someone the benefit of the doubt. This puts us on high alert and brings us to a level of high agitation. I know from experience that when I’m disconnected I’m affected emotionally as well as physically. When I’m not living in an optimal state, I’m disconnected from myself and others, making benefit of the doubt a difficult thing to do.
At the same time, if giving the benefit of the doubt can be used as a conscious exercise when I realize I am in a negative state, then it will be a quick and powerful way into a positive state of being. Giving the benefit of the doubt immediately starts integrating the two sides of the brain. It requires empathy, understanding, gratitude, and many other positive emotions and strengths. One could say that giving the benefit of the doubt is like stepping into someone else’s shoes for a moment and practicing the art of compassion. Positive feelings and the negative feelings cannot exist at the same time, and the positive always prove to be more powerful than the negative; once again pulling us into a state of integration.
Chaotic attraction happens when we shed our inhibitions and allow ourselves to live spontaneously. This can only occur in the state of flow. It’s impossible to be in flow when we are disintegrated. Negative thoughts and feelings create a microscopic view of our reality. The manifestation that happens with chaos is a bigger picture occurrence. In lecture 15 Dr. Larkin gives us the example of struggle. He noted that it was only when we cease to struggle that the answer occurs. I feel that this moment is an example of chaotic attraction. At the moment of release of struggle integration occurs and pulls us back into flow, allowing the possibility of chaotic attraction. A great example of this is my journey into Esthetics. I was wondering what to do with my life; I had no clear direction and was worried about my future. Then I had my distinct moment. I had a single conversation with my sister in law that changed my life. I’ll never forget what she said. “I think you’d be really good at this.” It was the positive support that integrated me enough that the spark of chaotic attraction happened. I decided right then and there, with very little knowledge of what Esthetics was and never receiving an Esthetic treatment that that’s what I was going to do. If I hadn’t gone into that positive state I may have never been inspired to be her today.
Negative visualization and what we have learned in this class are diametrically opposed. One creates harmony, peace, love, hope, and gratitude bringing us to that state of optimal living. The other creates depression, anxiety and insignificance. Connection is the key to the universe.
Chelle wrote on Sun Apr 29th, 5:39pm:
Once again, the context of this ANI work and specifically this blog brings to mind the life my mother lived well and still lives consistently giving every one she knows, without exception, the benefit of doubt.
For 50 + years I’ve witnessed her graciously leave a group or simply remain pleasantly quiet when the conversation turned negative or mean spirited in gossip. Attempts to goad her into agreeing that someone deserved no benefit, or to participate in negative conversations, she remained steadfast and would simply say, “There is always something we can find good about this person or situation.” or her favorite phrase “I wonder what good we can find in this”? Even when presented with ‘proof positive’ that someone had said or done something less than kind to or about her, she remained steadfast to ‘giving the benefit and refused to be drawn into the ‘drama’. In all my years, I’ve never heard my mother say a negative statement about anyone, but often she will say, “I’m sure they must be hurting inside to( act, say, be) that way” “I’ll pray for their hurt” and she does! I wonder how many people have suddenly felt better without knowing why, simply by my mother’s reciprocal causality!
Mother’s persistent positivity, refusal to participate in gossip or even appear ‘down’, used to either embarrass or irritate my siblings and me to no end, and we’ve all had our regrets remembering times of our outright derision for what we deemed her ‘inability to face reality”.
What we didn’t notice in the self absorption of being children and even young adults, is that everyone becomes the best version of themselves in my mother’s presence. It’s as if her giving them the benefit of doubt allows a person to believe and be the best of themselves. People often say, “I feel so good after I’m around your mother” I’ve observed with interest that we all laugh more, hug more, smile more, are kinder and more gentle with ourselves and with each other after being around mother. A halo effect of sorts?
At mother’s 90th birthday celebration two years ago, relatives and friends traveled from many states to pay her honor. I remember one cousin drew laughs and nods of recognition when he said, “Even people who can’t stand each other, somehow get along just fine, in Aunt Bertie’s presence”
I’d like to say that I have been as consistent in giving benefit of doubt and always able to reach for the highest, best feeling as mother is, but I’m not. However, her example is the most powerful confirmation I have of the amazing effects of a life well lived,consistently giving the benefit of doubt and by continually reaching for the highest and best feeling possible in any situation life presents.
After all, nearing the age of 92, mother still lives on her own, spends two hours a day or more on the phone with friends, drives to her ‘work’ volunteering to help ‘the old people who need me”, only takes one medication, rarely is ill, produces intricate, hand stitched tapestries that are works of art, reads voraciously,can beat most anyone in Scrabble, and is always willing to learn something new and does!
Proof enough for me!
Medman wrote on Mon Apr 30th, 6:34am:
One can of gasoline and one match is needed. Pour the gasoline on your castle light the match and watch it burn. Disco Inferno. There it is. Is that what you really wanted? No, well why are you focusing on all that could go wrong? You know there is another street called all that could go right. Where do you live? The negatives of life. Causing people to give up their wonderful upspiral and proceed down hill. The dark side of the day. The thoughts just came out of nowhere and I just kept going and going and going until I arrived here in this out of control moment. Doubt has taken me to the other side of town. How do I get back? Change your focus. Focus on the positives. Look at the situation and walk right into the positive outcome with a big smile on your face. You cant be in an upspiral and a downspiral at the same time. Pick One. The choice is yours. You can recover look at your scores and go from there. Reach up and grab that gratitude and peace, hope, joy and love move that mountain. You have the power it is inside of you. Learn how to make your worst day your best day. Let go of past events and stop predicting a future that you do not want. Look inside the time machine and create the future you want. What are you attracting? What experience are you pulling closer to you? Keep focusing on it and you know its coming.
jillangeldavis wrote on Mon Apr 30th, 10:09am:
In this lecture, Dr. Larkin shares his observation of the concept of emotional sobriety from various twelve step programs. Lack of emotional sobriety is a symptom of all mal adaptive coping mechanisms that result in addiction, like over eating, drinking, and self medicating with various drugs. Dr. Larkin defines emotional sobriety as a state in which people must ”get sober with their emotions and draw those emotions in to a positive state that is a psychologically normal positive state.” This means that an emotionally sober person can move their emotions to a positive state by using the negative emotion as a cue to go to a positive emotion. This is an UpScale and emotionally healthy form of gratification. When we are in the emotional gym and consciously pulsing the tools of peace, gratitude, love and joy, we are enhancing our biochemical brain state and maximizing our well being. We are emotionally sober. One benefit of emotional sobriety is that we are less reactive, when we have fewer negative reactions, we minimize the opportunity to bio chemically impact our emotional, intellectual and spiritual well being by keeping ourselves from taking a plunge into the down spiral. By minimizing our opportunities to down spiral, we set our selves up to be in an Up Spiral. While in this Up Spiral, we can better plan how to flourish by consciously arranging the ratio of our positive experiences by 5 to 1 or 3 to 1.
Ancient wisdom revisits us as a useful tool when we do what our grandmother’s call ‘giving people the benefit of the doubt.’ I love what Michelle wrote about her mother and her positive outlook. Dr. Amen spoke the same way of his mother, only he was able to SPECT scan her brain, and he said it was indeed a model brain of full function.
Giving the benefit of the doubt may not be a resource readily available if you are functioning from a down spiral. At the end of the day, making the choice to have emotional sobriety and give people the benefit of the doubt increases our time in the UpSpiral, which increases the amount of time we spend growing the positive brain. When we give people the benefit of the doubt, we are increasing our well being as well as theirs. When we are compassionate with ourselves, we are also giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt and continuing to lean our brain to the positive. Being in your UpSpiral puts you in more of a position to give people the benefit of the doubt and goes hand in hand with emotional sobriety. When you are in an UpSpiral, you are less reactive. You have created a buffer of positivity. In Applied Positive Neuro Psychology, cultivating an awareness of emotional sobriety and giving the benefit of the doubt are practices that will enable you to stay in the UpSpiral and engage in life in a way which enables you to flourish.
Dr.A wrote on Thu May 3rd, 2:42pm:
Gale STEWART wrote on Sat May 5th, 12:52pm:
1) “Negative visuals from anxiety, fear, and resentment create division and dysynchrony in the brain. You are not using the whole brain. You are reducing the integrative, creative, large picture, problem solving capacity of the right brain. The more you do it, the less you can see the truth.”
Half my life ago I read that very few people use less than 10% of our minds. I set out on a course of studies to discover why…I wanted to use as much of my mind as possible and I wanted to find out how to do that. I also wanted to know why we don’t use 100% of our minds.
Then I discovered that not only do we not use 100% of our minds, but only half our brains! Katherine says she asks herself why wouldn’t she want an UpSpiral of 100? Why wouldn’t anyone, if we know what being in an UpSpiral means? Why wouldn’t we want to use 100% of our minds, and 100% of our brains?
Most of us are not aware that negative thinking utilizes only half our brains. We are not aware that the negative thoughts we have, the negativity we read and hear about…in the desire to be “informed citizens”...have such a dramatic impact on how we feel, how our health is affected. Nor do we realize how negativity affects our lives. I’ve become so sensitive to negativity that just a raised voice affects my nervous system. And I’m also come to realize that I can befriend that negativity by letting it tell me what I need to do to get back on target. No longer content with an UpSpiral of 85 or 90, I’m with Katherine…why wouldn’t I want to be at 100 every day? Since I’ve made that decision, I am recording in my Plans…book, more and more answers! The Universe is surprising me with so many responses I can’t help but be at 100! I realize I am building a buffer of positivity by getting into the UpSpiral and staying there. I am becoming emotionally sober… I am aware of my feelings and know I have a choice….I choose to be happy! And I’ve discovered why so few of us use only 10% of our minds…we only use half of our brains, because we dwell in the land of negativity! By moving up the UpSpiral, by becoming more positive, we are building neural pathways that utilize our entire brain, showing us the bigger picture, enabling us to solve problems in a more creative way. By integrating our brains, we are using our entire brain, our entire mind, which enables us to live more creative, productive, happy lives.
Mary Garvey Horst wrote on Wed May 16th, 4:17pm:
Comment on this blog quote in light of your training with Hemispheric memory and functionality. How would you coach a client to realize a more synchronous balance of right and left hemispheres? What tools would you use?
To begin with, it is important to note that integration is the mind’s natural state. However, the right hemisphere of the brain develops earliest and is most active in the first year of life. The right hemisphere is more holistic, nonverbal, associated with images and metaphors, as well as linked to raw emotion. Autobiographical memories and a whole body sense of experience are located in this hemisphere that is considered an interior specialist. In contrast, the left hemisphere of the brain starts to come online during the second year of life and is more outwardly focused. The left is associated with the letter “l” - later developing, linear, linguistic, logical, literal, and having to do with lists and labels. There is a natural shifting between the two hemispheres as a secure child develops, particularly during adolescence. Challenges may arise when past memories have some negative charge. However, the ability to integrate the negative emotions that may be associated with former memories can be achieved through the focus of attention on the more holistic capacities found in the right hemisphere of the brain.
As a coach, I would be aware that being in a synchronous balance is the mind’s natural state. I would choose to focus on that which is effectively working in the client’s life, as well as to highlight the individual’s strengths. I would work with the client to place a “xeno” focus on his or her capacity to thrive despite life challenges. I would go to the Emotional Gym as a tool to grow the positive emotions of peace, love, gratitude, joy, and hope that would create greater resilience in the right hemisphere of the brain. I would assist the client in the greater development of these emotions as the ambient soundtrack of his brain, as well as to increase his or her capacity to be “strength-smart”.
In light of this perspective, the charge of the past memories do not have the same impact because the individual is more able to live in the present moment.
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