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Emotions - The Upward Spiral

According to the research, your brain might have some unhelpful ideas of its own on how to feel good. If you’re experiencing guilt or shame, it may be because your brain’s trying — ineffectively — to activate its reward center, says Alex Korb. Wait, what?


So how can you take positive control? In this short article, we will offer you four simple ways to re-activate the upward emotional spiral and stay in control.


1. When your mind starts worrying and emotions increase ask yourself; What am I grateful for? This simple act gives you an extra boost of serotonin and also shifts the brain activity from the limbic system to the 'rational' prefrontal cortex.


2. Try to get more specific and name the emotion you are experiencing; anger, sadness, loneliness. Describing the emotion in the word or two again activates the 'rational brain' and lowers the intensity of the emotion.


3. Worried or anxious? Making decision will not only help you to get more control, it will also activate your pre-frontal cortex, together with the release of dopamine (reward hormone) and calming down your limbic system.


4. The power of touch helps to activate your kinesthetic center together with the release of oxytocin. That is where the healing power of hugs come from. The value of touch shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re down. According to Korb: “In fact, as demonstrated in his experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain."


As any habit gets easier with practice the neurons responsible for these new pathways become more efficient and it gradually takes less effort to feel well naturally.


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