How to Exercise Your Brain And Change Your Life
In his new book The Emotional Life of Your Brain, Richard Davidson, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, lays out his explanation for why meditation and other “neurally inspired behavioral interventions” can help people tweak their own emotions in search of happier, more productive lives. In his book, he lays out six empirically based “emotional styles” that define our emotional makeup. New research on brain plasticity suggests that interventions like meditation can allow people to change their emotional styles by changing the very brain circuits that govern them. Six emotional styles emerged over the course of 30 years of neuroscientific research.
The first emotional style is resilience. It refers to how slowly or quickly you recover from adversity. Some people take a long time to come back to baseline. They’re thrown off kilter by some adverse event, while other people are able to recover very, very quickly.
The second emotional style I call outlook. This refers to how long positive emotion persists. It’s associated with your propensity to see the world through rosy-colored glasses — or not.
The third style I call social intuition. This refers to how accurate you are at decoding others’ nonverbal signals of emotion.
The fourth dimension I call self-awareness, which translates to the accuracy with which one decodes the internal bodily cues in oneself that are associated with emotion, such as heart rate, sweating and muscle tension. Some people are acutely sensitive to what’s going on inside themselves, while others are quite opaque about that ability.
The fifth dimension I call context. What I mean here is sensitivity to context. Some people modulate their emotional responses in context-appropriate ways, so that the way they talk to their spouse, for example, would be very different than how they talk to their boss. Other people make less of a distinction among contexts.
The last emotional style is attention, which is not typically thought of as an emotional constituent. But attention and emotion are intimately linked. Emotional stimuli are stimuli toward which we are naturally pulled. Someone who is scattered is pulled by emotional stimuli in the environment, and someone who is more focused is able to resist those attractions and focus his or her attention voluntarily.
One of the key conclusions from Davidson’s research is that the emotional styles are indeed based upon specific brain circuits. And since we know that the brain exhibits plasticity, our styles in fact can be changed through a concept called neurally inspired behavioral interventions. There are actually interventions today that were developed thousands of years ago that turn out to be very good facilitators for re-patterning these brain circuits, and they come from the meditative traditions.
SoulTranSync Meditation with brain technology produces the same emotional style improvements as it stimulates plasticity, but with the added benefit of the Ho’oponopono.