The human brain is remarkably malleable. It can be shaped very much like a ball of Play-Doh, just with a bit more time and effort.
Within the last 20 years, thanks to rapid development in the spheres of brain imaging and neuroscience, we can now say for sure that the brain is capable of re-engineering. In fact, you could say that we can facilitate these changes.
In many ways, neuroplasticity – an umbrella term describing the lasting change to the brain throughout a person’s life – is a beautiful thing.
We can change our brain for the positive, so we don’t have to feel “stuck”. We can increase our intelligence (our “I.Q.”). And, we can learn new, life-changing skills. In some instances, a person can recover from brain damage. Finally, we can choose to become more emotionally intelligent by “unlearning” harmful behaviors, beliefs, and habits.
But, there’s another side of the coin, we can redesign our brain for the worse! Fortunately, thanks to our ability to unlearn harmful behaviors, beliefs, and habits, we can right the ship again!
Negative habits change your brain for the worse. Positive practices change your brain for the better. Negative people are almost always complainers without fail. Worse, complainers are not satisfied in keeping their thoughts and feelings to themselves; instead, they’ll seek out some unwilling participant and vent.
Of course, we all complain from time-to-time. In fact, researchers from Clemson University empirically demonstrated that everyone grumbles on occasion. Some just do so much more often than others.
So Is The Brain To Blame?
The answer is (mostly) “Yes.” You see, most negative people don’t want to feel this way. Who truly would? Truth be told, it may not consciously be their fault.
Harmful behaviors such as complaining, if allowed to loop within the brain continually, will inevitably alter thought processes. Altered thoughts lead to altered beliefs, which leads to a change in behavior.
Additionally, our brain possesses something called the negativity bias. In simple terms, negativity bias is the brain’s tendency to focus more on adverse circumstances than positive.
Repetition is the mother of all learning. When we repeatedly focus on the negative by complaining, we’re firing and re-firing the neurons responsible for the negativity bias. We’re creating our negative behavior through repetition.
It’s not possible to be “happy-go-lucky” all of the time – and we shouldn’t try. It’s crucial to process feelings naturally as they come in. We should, however, take concrete steps to counteract negative thinking.
Research has repeatedly shown that positive affirmations, prayer, and mindfulness are perhaps the most powerful tools for combating negativity.
Isn’t it also funny when science catches up with the Bible? Paul in Philippians 4:8 tells us to:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
We’re definitely not suggesting that life won’t have negative moments and we certainly not telling you that every situation has a silver lining because they don’t. Sometimes we’re called to mourn and weep and that’s totally fine. What this is suggesting is that our default setting should always be on positive side of things as we live in light of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Think about what’s true about God and what He promises us and watch your brain revert to positive thought patterns and healthy thinking over time.
A portion of this article was originally published by Power of Positivity and if you want to read the full article, you can click here!