Happy? Positive? Many of us when asked what positive and happy means to them, would tell you that happiness is achieved when everything is working out well, or when he or she has a day off, or goes out on a date. Happiness and positivity must be when a person rides high on positive emotions right? Not exactly. Happiness and positivity have more to do with your state of mind, than always riding high.
Yet the human brain loves positive emotions. Positive emotions expand and build the brain. Negative emotions depress the system, and prolonged negative emotions can seriously hurt your body over time. Consistent intense reactive negative emotions, such as extreme fear, narrow your brain, namely your cognitive processes, and diverts attention to your body’s autonomic or involuntary responses.
Once a person perceives an event, even a noise or smell as a threat, the limbic system sounds the alarm, and begins to direct the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) into emergency procedures, to battle stations…the SNS rousts the body to the point where epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol run through the body so that it has more energy. The heart races through the body so it can fully react to the perceived danger.
The integrated system helps a person achieve four possible options-Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn. Any one of the four trauma responses work to keep the person safe at the immediate level. Frequent trauma responses eventually compromise the individual, and instead of actions that might keep the person safe, the perceived danger can produce shock, dissociation, and many other kinds of involuntary responses while the scary, or traumatic event happens. For instance, fawning means we may compromise our self-respect, or our power, and fighting could get us badly hurt.
Stress, high stress, and trauma-related emotions means that a person is always on guard, like a lion standing next to the tiger’s den. It only means that the hormones needed for immediate protection, including cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, remain present even when their’s no danger. A body cannot stand for that too long…eventually the body will shut down. Others, including your most important relationships won’t enjoy it either.
Positive emotions on the other hand open us up to creativity. Our bodies aren’t relegated to mere protection, therefore the individual’s cognitive capability increases greatly. Positive expressions produce Serotonin and dopamine that bathe our brains, and make us feel good…but also allows our brains function to it’s potential. When positivity becomes part of our psyche, we’re comfy amongst people, we’re able to engage with others, are better at solving problems, and considering solutions. The natural process running through the body even allows relaxation in the process.
Happiness makes sense. But being positive is the goal. You’ll experience human emotion, from sadness, to anger, to fear, and happiness…I wouldn’t want it any other way! I’m simply stating that negativity as a way of life…well, wouldn’t you rather draw a bath of serotonin and dopamine for yourself? I would. After a nice bath, we can all sit around the Real Connections Fire, and have a creative chat.