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Are We Getting Spoiled?

So often at the onset of our day we start off getting annoyed if any of our modern convinces don’t function the way WE THINK THEY SHOULD. Not to mention our tendency to quickly dismiss these advancements. We complain when it takes an extra twenty seconds to send an e-mail. Twenty seconds to send our thoughts, which may or may not be of any importance to anyone but us, to the other side of the world! When I was growing up, it blew my mind to hear another voice on the other end of my new walkie-talkies that I got for Christmas. What about Facebook’s occasional changes? OMG, everyone starts flipping out as if it will stop the world as we know it, and the “I am leaving Facebook forever” chant begins. This program allows us to find in mere minutes a second grade crush! And for free! Our storming off is pretty much irrelevant to Facebook, yet our overinflated perception of our own influence is staggering!

How about an IPad or other tablet? I admit I have flipped out when it takes too long to get on YouTube. I’ve gotten indignant at how it is interrupting my workout on the stationary bike because I have no use for the twelve TV channels that the gym offers. It is all because I want what I want when I want it. And what I want is to be watching lectures from UCLA while I exercise!

Starting today, make sure a positive experience or modern marvel is never wasted again. Right now, look around and notice five things that are there for you in any way. These are your good facts. They may be from the past, present, or future. They could be people, surroundings, or technology, but either way these are things that can shift our perspective and thereby lift our mood.

The key is to find things to feel good about and never take another thing for granted.

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Why We Love to Bitch

Bosses often make the big mistake of allowing employees to feel that their jobs are not secure, assuming this insecurity will motivate them to work harder. When in fact, it makes them much less productive because they live in fear and crisis mode.

When uncertainty has you rattled, you may engage in any of the following behaviors to increase some brain chemicals, but the benefits are short-lived. If you complain to other coworkers about how bad your company or boss is, those who agree with you will make you feel safer and more connected because of serotonin and oxytocin. If you put the government or world leaders down, predicting doom and gloom, you make the world feel predictable, releasing some serotonin. Even making false predictions about the future will make you feel superior. If you like to get fired up and debate or argue about life events, you will release dopamine.

Misery doesn’t just love company; it needs it! It allows us to crawl on our knees, bleeding and bruised, side by side, and feel that it’s us against them…whoever “them” is at the time. Next time you are waiting in line in a public place, see how long it takes for someone to make eye contact with you and roll their eyes, as if to say, “Do you believe this?”Eventually someone else might either speak up with sarcasm or make some kind of disgruntled noise, and then for a moment or two you will all feel better.

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Why Are You In A Bad Mood?

8-bad-moodYesterday I left off explaining what a mood is now I will explain where they can can from. When you find you are in “mood”  you may be able to rattle off a list of problems as to why, but it is actually the thoughts/beliefs about those problems that lead your mood down the dark tunnel. Unaware, you might suddenly snap at someone who asks a benign question or fly into a rage when the driver in front of you can’t make up their mind. But the real reason you get angry may be that you were still thinking about the argument you had with your spouse that morning.

Yesterday I found myself battling a mood. I tried to blow it off and move on but I should know better by now. I needed to do some investigating. What was stirring the pot for me was I had received my credit card bill. A whopper of over $1600! What did I buy? ….AIR apparently because I could see no luxury item, no fun new toy, no new clothes, as I looked around my house and I guess air was going at a premium last month! UHG! I had no plans of this. But it was life stuff the kind of things that nickel and dime you into poverty. By not addressing this on a conscious level from the “front office” I was stuck in the “back office” being chewed out for not paying more attention, and not knowing where I would pull those funds from to pay the bill. Once I wrote down my pan the berating stopped and I was ready to move forward.

The amygdala is evaluating all thoughts and situations throughout the day, triggering both big and small warnings. We have learned throughout the years to dismiss the small warnings by simply pushing them away, like I was trying to do not taking the time to shine the light of reality on them. So over the course of a day, these small ones gang up on us leaving us in a really crappy mood by the time dinner rolls around. Everything from feeling ignored in a meeting to having someone talk to you abruptly or having your boss give you less than his usual big smile can have your amygdala sounding the sirens.

The muddy waters of emotions

Emotional moments are always a thought away. Like I have been saying, real or imagined, any thought can cause an emotional upheaval and during that time, your thoughts do not represent an accurate picture of the truth, the past or future. There are two ways an emotion is triggered. A thought may trigger an emotion, and the emotion makes us believe the thought was a fact. The second way is without words or thoughts; your limbic system (emotional area of your brain) evaluates a situation that does not seem favorable to you. In either case, the stress hormone cortisol is released, you feel bad, and then you try to find reasons that validate your emotion. We feel better when we know why something happens, even if we have to conjure up some plausible reason, and those reasons, are always are determined by our perspective. Feeling bad is your “check reality light.” It means a thought is being allowed to stand as a fact. You can’t allow that without confirming its reality first.

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The Thrill of Potential Threats

Not only is our brain obsessed with finding negativity around us but it has varied ways of dealing with it as well. Like when a bad storm in predicted. It is obvious how people suddenly seem more connected, looking to talk to complete strangers about the latest update. Very seldom will you see people disinterested, although you may hear someone play the whole event down as they take shots at the weathermen. There is no denying that people seem buzzed. We are driven to this place of excitement due to our dopamine levels surging to help us better prepare. We may refer to it as feeling pumped up. This is the drive behind running to the store and stock piling water, bread, milk and snow shovels as if the ones we have at home some how won’t be enough. When we get home we get a wonderful blast of serotonin which tells us we are safe and secure. We know it makes little sense but we are like little druggies chasing those feel good brain chemicals.

If you have experienced this you may have wondered if you have been a sociopath in hiding all this time, secretly enjoying the thrill of possible danger. Have you ever prepared for a 6 foot blizzard only to wake up and see only 6 inches? Even if you hate snow there is a weird sense of let down. Well you aren’t crazy or a statist it is because your dopamine levels dropped back because there was nothing to prepare you for and that feels crummy. The other reason is we human beings find solace in feeling like we know our future. Good or bad, it gives our life a sense of predictability, making us feel somewhat more secure and stable, and that releases serotonin. The next time a storm if predicted know that even if people are complaining that deep inside we are all filled with excitement and buzz although we try to hide it.

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