Cimmerianism to Pollyannaism: A Shift from Gloominess to Cheerfulness
It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts. -Robert H. Schuller
Thinking is considered to be s higher mental ability. Human beings as beings are more cognitively advanced and have progressed more than other species, making use of most of the resources. “Survival of the Fittest” as per Darwinian Theory in “Origin of Species”, it is the natural selection leading to changes and development of few skills and traits to get better adjusted to the surrounding.
Evolutionary psychology also describes that most of our psychological skills are determined by neural circulatory system, which gives a clear idea regarding the strong connection between Mind and Brain. Brain functioning affects the thought –process and vice versa.
But being cognitively advanced is really a boon or curse in itself?
Human beings have the capability to create any stressor in their minds even before its physical manifestation in the real life, which of course prepares us for the upcoming challenges, but what if we keep working on emergency mode and emergency does not exist in reality?
Negative thinking just doesn’t have connection to the brain functioning also but has an impact on entire body. As demonstrated by Robert M. Sapolsky, an American Neuroendocrinologist in his book “Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress related Diseases and Coping”- “A large percentage of what we think of when we talk about stress-related diseases are disorders of excessive stress-responses.”
Today we have enough research evidence to believe that ‘Cortisol’ the “Stress Hormone’ impacts every system of the body from Immune system, Cardiovascular system or even Gastrointestinal system, making a person prone not only to various infections and Coronary heart diseases as well as to the problems like Ulcers and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
As per the recent research conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, USA in 2017 (published in The Lancet), Resting metabolic activity within Amygdala, which is a key component of the brain’s salience network involved in the stress, significantly predicts the development of cardiovascular disease through an association with increased haemopoietic activity and increased arterial inflammation.
Keeping all the facts in Mind, it becomes quite a significant task to have a track on the thought-process and to cogitate rather than ruminate.
Today in psychology, no matter which therapy or approach we talk about, it has reported the relevance of changing the thought-process to bring desirable changes. The way to change may be different as per the approach, as every different technique has a different strategy, like behavioral approach focuses on changing the behavior, which leads to further change in thinking and psychological health, while cognitive approaches like cognitive behavioral approach and Rational Emotive approach target the change in thought-process and resultant change in the behavior.
Positive Psychology also has three pillars of positivity, named as Pleasant life, Engaged Life and Meaningful life, which clearly encompasses the positive way of life.
Even the Psychiatrist turned author Dr. Brian Weiss emphasizes significantly on spiritual positive thinking through the techniques like Past life regression.
Reiki healing also mainly focuses on positive thinking in the form of Affirmations, while purifying the aura as well as all the seven chakras. It also demonstrates the connection of conscious to super-conscious through the medium of Intuitive thinking.
Protagonists of Positive thinking very well believe that we create our own reality through our thinking. When we send positive thoughts, having a faith that good things will come our way, we create our positive reality. Now a days we have enough evidences that Positive thinking attracts positive events.
As Rhonda Byrne, an Australian author of various self-help books like Secret, Power, Magic and Hero has mentioned the ‘Law of Attraction”, as a key factor working behind the process. Law of Attraction says that:
“What you think, you attract in your life.”
When we are worried regarding something and keep thinking about it, we attract more reasons to be worried about. So the negative thinking attracts more negative events in life. In the same way, if we are grateful about the good things we have in your life, we get more reasons to be grateful for, as more good things come our way. It works like a magnetic force, attracting the same energy.
Neurologically, neuronal firing is accompanied by every single thought and action. So whenever we think or do something, a synapse is formed between two neurons which in turn lead to the development of a neural pathway in the brain. Activation of the same neural pathway again and again, makes it permanent, so even the slightest of stimulation results in its activation.
So when we shift our attention towards positivity rather than negativity consciously or intentionally, a new synapse is formed, a neural pathway is created and with time and repeated activation, it becomes an automatic response of the brain to look at the brighter side of the picture, thus bringing more positive experiences as compared to the negative ones. That is how our attention is shifted from negativity to positivity neurologically.
Now arises a very relevant question
“is it really possible to control your thoughts? Or to shift our attention from gloominess (Cimmerianism) to Cheerfulness (Pollyannaism)."
If we look at the basic human nature, a shift from Cimmerianism to Pollyannaism is the most natural thing to happen, because, the positivity lies at the very core of Humanity. There are various positive traits, like Compassion, Gratitude, Kindness and Forgiveness, practice of which can result in making the life completely blissful.These are not the traits which are alien to humanity, but the traits which create the very basic existence of humanity.
Humanity is the value, respected in every culture; it goes beyond the limitations of caste, creed, religion and gender. So it is human to be kind and compassionate to others, to forgive and to be grateful for the good things. And more we practice it, more we are going to receive it; as what we give, we receive it back like a Boomerang effect.
When we do well to people, good things are returned to us, if we send such thoughts to the universe, which contain forgiveness, being compassionate and grateful for the people, events and situations in life, we send a very strong message to the Universe that this is what we want ourselves to be surrounded by. Thus send a powerful positive thought in the form of an Affirmation with overall determination, and create
YOUR OWN REALITY.
In the process, Positive Self-talk is a very significant step towards developing an optimistic attitude. As the beautiful saying goes-
“If you won’t say it to your friend, don’t say it to yourself”
Being Mindful or savoring the present also goes hand in hand with the positivity, as “being in the present” saves us from future-oriented anxious thoughts as well as past-oriented depressive thoughts. Last but not the least, converting our failures in to learning. Being on the learning curve gives us strength to handle the setback of life more positively.
We can conclude with the beautiful though of Matt Kemp-
“When you think positive, good things happen”