Author Archives: Don Joseph Goewey

Black Belt in Inner Peace 

Toward A Black Belt in Inner Peace 

from resisting to embracing life

What this page is about

What is abundantly clear from the new brain research is that inner peace is brain power. It wires our brain for health, success and happiness. Stress and anxiety do the exact opposite.  But cultivating inner peace doesn’t mean we’ll never be upset. Ironically, it often involves being at peace with not-being-at-peace. Peace is a mental martial art that embraces instead of resisting an upset for its power to quiet stress reactions and restore the skillfulness that succeeds with difficulties.  Given these facts, I have decided over the next 52 days or so to go for a black belt in inner peace by diligently embracing upsets as well as moments of joys more and resisting them less. Each day I’ll post 3 sentences to report my progress, so stay tuned.

Day 24: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Dodging the bullet

While traveling to Tulsa to conduct a workshop on the brain power we gain in making the shift from stress to inner peace, I experienced a moment of dread. The dread came out of nowhere, unrelated to anything immediate, so it had to have been the firing of a rogue brain cell that got wired into me way back in my past … probably from my stepfather pounding me with “You’re worthless.”  As soon as the dread arrived, I sent it packing. I practice everyday catching these brain disturbances before they take hold and darken the day.They rarely get their foot in my door anymore.

Day 23: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Spiritual

I am going to change my definition of success because the one I’ve been following lately oppresses me.  It’s measured in terms of the world bending to my goals, indicated by numbers going up or down … book sales #, evaluation #, # of clients … # of likes and followers … # of calories and the bathroom scale #, my next birthday #. So, as I go for goals today, success will be about … was I kind … did I stop to smell the roses … did I follow the light and look only on what it showed me … did I forgive … did I choose to be happy … was I grateful …was I at peace with myself.

 Day 22.2: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Loving admiration

Over the years, I have come to see my beloved through the lens of us, as in I am her and she is me and we are one together. Sometimes, the depth of our connection astonishes me, and yet today, right out of the blue, I saw her just as herself, distinct from me, as if I were seeing her for the first time.  And I was taken in all over again by who she is, along with who I know she has become and is becoming, and I was touched by the humble way she goes about simply being herself.

Day 22.1: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Getting clear

Today, when I stopped to relax and catch my breath, I was met by a murky worry that started with the troubling thought of failing at a goal, which my brain automatically believed, evidenced by the emotional jolt it set off making the thought feel real. There was no fact or logic to the worry, just a growing anxiety about to paint my mind into a tight corner. So I practiced sitting with the disturbance without believing a single thought it spun and gradually my mind cleared, the way a glass of cloudy water will clear on its own, and I was passed back to the strength of having faith.

Day 21: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Happiness

I awoke from what felt like an enlightening dream in which I climbed to the top of a high Mesa – like those in Arizona – and then walked across it for miles and miles to a point at the very edge overlooking a scary vertical drop into a deep canyon. Above me was a dark cloud formation with sunlight breaking through in streams like a Renaissance painting indicating God is present. So, assuming it was God, I asked, “Tell me, what am I supposed to be doing down here,” to which the clouds answered “Be happy.” I was a little bewildered by this … I was expecting something different, like “save the world” … but I said “OK, I will,” and then I woke up.

Day 20: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Pure grace

I’ve been working hard all week, getting ready for an upcoming gig, and this afternoon I took a badly needed break and sat by the bay window and watched the tall trees bend in a furious wind, waving their limbs like wild dancers, breaking up and scattering the bright afternoon light everywhere as if the light was cosmic paint … and for about 30 seconds I was filled with such unexpected happiness that was not of my own making but from some merciful grace that took me into its mystic beauty long enough to transform my fatigue to joy.

Day 19: The hard feeling I embraced today was: Judgments

There are days when I can’t help but love everybody, from strangers on the street to the people I work with to my friends and family.  Life doesn’t get better than a day like that. But today (oy vey) my ego got loose, and I seemed to be judging everyone … like the guy in my yoga class who never returns a hello … the “silly” clerk wearing that polka dot bow tie … the technical support representative who was “a waste of time” …  on and on, culminating in me judging me for judging them. 

Day 18: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Creating the day from a blank canvas

Today has been magical, all because I started this morning trying to imagine what it would be like to feel free of every limitation, simply by being open to everything and attached to nothing … most of which meant detaching from my hopes of success and fears of failure. As I imagined this freer mindset, suddenly the day became like an enormous blank canvas on which I was invited to paint a masterpiece. Every hour since then I have taken a few minutes to accept this invitation and all day it has lit me up with creativity and made me happy.

Day 17 The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Wanderlust

As I write this, the sky is dark and tumultuous, brewing up a rainstorm, and I try becoming one with its power and beauty, so I can embrace all the fresh possibilities for creating success today. But my heart won’t cooperate; it doesn’t want to work today. It wants me to jump on an airplane and fly faraway to some wild unknown country and disappear into the wonders of this world … and I’m seduced and even think of quitting … until I hear Robert Frost whisper in my ear, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but you have promises to keep and miles to go before you sleep.”

Day 16: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: expansive

For a long time, I didn’t meditate … it felt tedious … but research on meditation is way too positive to ignore, so I committed to practice consistently, and WOW did it paid off. Now when I meditate, my mind and heart expand and a light in me comes on and I feel happy  … like I am on the road headed back home to the place where I am loved, after having been gone for a long time. Today as I closed my eyes to meditate I worried that I wouldn’t make it to the light this time but a voice inside said, “That’s just your old nonsense talking; come along now, this couldn’t be easier” … and sure enough it was.

Day 15: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Freedom

My intention this month has been to embrace difficult feelings by not resisting them and today a very old wound surfaced, which was a betrayal from long, long ago that I have never quite gotten over. So, I stepped up, bit the bullet, and embraced the heartbreak and rejection without indulging the devastating story I’ve told myself a thousand times, and to my great surprise and relief, the pain’s grip gradually loosened, then let go, and I was free. I thought, can it be that easy … yet it was.   

Day 14: The awesome feeling I embraced today was: a lighter happier heart

Today I committed myself to being mindful to bust small grievances during the day by forgiving them immediately …  and, of course, the world offered me a good number to work with … like the truck driver who tailgated me for half a mile, and the grocery clerk wasting time, chatting it up with a customer when I was in a hurry, and the woman who came late to yoga and squeezed into the tiny space between my mat and the wall.  I forgave them all, as well as a few other “trespassers,”and my reward … for real … was a lighter, happier heart and way better energy for my work.          

DAY-13

The hard feeling I embraced today was: STRESS

Yesterday, I made the mistake of going to my home office first thing, reading emails, checking my to-do list, and drinking another cup of coffee … instead of starting out meditating on the expansive, positive, enthusiastic attitude of self-worth that embraces a brand-new day and makes good on it.  Before I knew it, my mind was a rider flinging itself on a horse and riding madly off in all directions. By two o’clock, I was irritable and scattered, but at least it produced the resolve not to make the same mistake this morning.

DAY-12

The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Connection

This morning I have been remembering my younger brother with such gratitude. Four decades ago, he died of an overdose and at that time I thought I had failed as an older brother to save him, which added guilt to my grief making the loss unbearable. Then one day miraculously my brother came to me in a lucid vision looking vibrant and happy and we even talked, and afterwards my guilt was gone and my grief much lighter, because obviously, wherever he is, he is alive and well, and now I can embrace him and thank him for crossing the great divide to let me know all is well  

DAY-11

The hard feeling I embraced today was: My brain’s faulty wiring

I was taught growing up to stay clear of dogs because my uncle had been badly mauled by one.  I love to hike but when I come across a big dog, like today, my brain’s fear center goes on full alert  which takes effort to embrace the surge of fear to keep me from bolting. Today as I passed this big dog, I looked down at him and what I saw was a “happy to see ya” smile on his face, which his waging tail validated, and I wondered, how many unfounded knee-jerk fears like this are wired into my brain.    

DAY-10

The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Freedom through forgiveness

There is an old grievance that I haven’t completely forgiven, and this morning it raised its angry head once again. Once more I had to recognize that the pain of not forgiving punishes me, not the other person, so I stopped what I was doing, practiced acknowledging the light in this person and not the lampshade that my anger has made of his mistake.  Then I listened to Mozart’s piano concerto #21 on my iPhone and let it all go.

DAY-9

The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Together side by side

My daughter, who lives an ocean away, just called to catch up and we talked about growing our businesses and growing ourselves, and about projects we are creating and books we are reading … and when we hung up I took a moment to embrace the gratitude I feel for the respect we extend to each other. We have walked a long way together to be able to walk side by side.  

DAY-8

The hard feeling I embraced today was: My heart clenching

I love to write articles and posts like this one and I love working with people in workshops and giving keynotes. But sometimes, like this morning, I feel vulnerable after speaking my truth or being honest about one of my imperfections. So this morning I had to embrace that fear to keep my heart from freezing up, because I know if I don’t, I’ll lose the courage to do what I love to do.

DAY-7

 The awesome I embraced feeling today was: Vibrating with a child’s heart

This morning I woke up smiling, with the attitude of a kid who can’t wait for the day to get going. It’s now a quarter to three and that sense of wonder is still vibrating in me. I even enjoyed doing my Saturday chores (if my mother was only still alive to have witnessed that).

DAY-6

The hard feeling I embraced today was: Losing

I’m competitive, I admit, the upside of which is I never give up on my mission, no matter what, but the downside is a stupid streak of petty jealousy I suffer under at times … like today when I learned a competitor is succeeding more than me.  So, to ease the pain, I am devoting my practice today to remembering this old saying my daughter hipped me to  that goes, “Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make mine burn brighter” (it just blows out the peace in me).

DAY-5

The awesome feeling I embraced today was: Being at peace with myself

During my morning meditation, I noticed I felt unhappy about something not being enough of this or that or whatever, which when I penetrated turned out to be my ego’s perennial opinion that I’m not enough … no surprise there.  So, I responded to its poor opinion of me by practicing 100% self-acceptance, simply by letting go of anything having to be different than the way it is today, including me.    

DAY-4

 The awesome I embraced feeling today was: Light joy and peace

I have been practicing stopping for 5 minutes every hour to embrace the idea that there is a light shining within me that radiates with joy and peace. I’ll admit I was annoyed by the interruption a couple of times when the reminder bell rang at the top of each hour, but even then I managed to embrace the idea long enough to experience, at very least, an improvement in my mood. I’ve been doing this simple exercise now for 8 straight hours and my mind is lighter, more creative, and happier, enabling me to cruise through my work.

DAY-3 

The hard feeling I embraced today was: You’re screwed

Today started with a discouraging thought about a goal I want to achieve which, unfortunately, I believed, and my mind began to stringing even more limiting thoughts into a story. I understood that I had to head it off at the pass, so I practiced what I teach which was to ask, What is the deep-down belief below this story that threw confidence and enthusiasm under the busThe answer came as a picture from the painful past and it was uncanny how liberating it was to connect the dots.

 DAY-2 

The hard feeling I embraced today was: My future is out to get me

Last night I awoke from a sound sleep  afraid and worried. Instead of resisting it I practiced embracing the fear and dropping the fretful story fear was making up. Gradually, my fear dissolved on its own and I feel back to sleep. This morning I woke up happy.

DAY-1

The hard feeling I embraced today was: I’m not good enough to write this book 

I’ve written three books, but today as I sat before the keyboard to start a new book I have been using every excuse not to begin, l sank into a feeling of inadequacy and was defeated by the thought, “I am not good enough to write this book.”
 
Instead of resisting the hard feeling I embraced it and gradually the self-defeat passed, and a better feeling replaced it that had me believing I could do it.  It worked.

 

The Simple Cure to Fatigue and Burnout

Believing we have drained our brain is what drains our brain. Yet most people think that the exhaustion they feel at day’s end is caused by a hard day at work. Yet, if we look at it closely, for most of us the only physically taxing thing we probably did at work that day was walk in and out of the building from the parking lot and type on our keyboards. The rest of our exertion was primarily mental.

Is it possible that the two-pound wonder called the brain is able to expend most of our physical energy simply through thinking?

The answer is no. Sitting at your desk performing cognitive functions doesn’t take much energy. Our brain only needs 12 watts of energy to operate smoothly, which is one-fifth the energy it takes to light up your desk lamp. On top of that, the brain burns only 11 calories an hour, which is the equivalent of one minute of modest exertion on an exercise bike. Clearly, this is not enough to cause exhaustion.

Is it the difficulty of a mental task or the amount of time we concentrate on the task that leaves us exhausted?

Again, the answer is no. Mental fatigue is really not about the task. For example, millions of neurons connecting through a multitude of neural circuits are active when we follow a movie with a plot as complex as The Matrix, or read a book as intricate as War and Peace, or pondering our opponents next move in a chess or card game while planning our own. Yet we can focus on these complex activities for two hours straight and at the end feel stimulated by it.

So what exactly is causing the fatigue that can lead to burnout?

It’s our mental attitude. Research has found that if you believe a task is going to be difficult, it
will be. If you expect a meetingto drain your energy, it will. If the fear of failure overwhelms you, it’s likely to result in bad decisions that lead to failure. In short, we get what we expect to get. A chronically anxious, negative attitude repeatedly activates the stress response system. Stress hormones flood your system with adrenaline and cortisol, elevating heart rate, raising blood pressure, and debilitating the higher order brain function that generates the savvy, creative insight and optimism that solves problems. You’re more prone to emotional upsets, memory lapses, and mistakes. We human being generate all sorts of stress reactions purely in our heads, exciting wild emotions that send the mind and body into an uproar and leave us physically exhausted. More often than not, the driving force behind it isn’t our job or the task or even our boss. It is our attitude towards  people, tasks, and events.

Type A personalities, for example, are the highly competitive workaholics who tend to be overly-reactive and aggressive. Type-A’s face a much greater risk of cardiac death than the more peaceful Type-B’s. But it’s not hard work, a difficult challenge, or even long hours to blame for Type-A’s heart problems. It’s the stress from the hostile struggle their aggressive attitude generates.

Attitude is everything, even in those moments when you feel stressed and anxious. Shifting your perspective when you are afraid of failing to feeling excited in the challenge can make you less likely to burn out in a demanding job. A study in Germany found that professionals who were skilled at shifting their anxiety in this way were less likely to be  frustrated or drained by their work. In another study, students who viewed their stress as excitement reported less emotional exhaustion, did better on exams, and earned higher grades. A positive mindset provides an immunity to emotional exhaustion and predicts greater success with all our goals. A positive shift in attitude, when sustained over a few weeks, can literally rewire our brains for the Good Life.

The technical term for the way a change of mindset rewires our brain for greater success is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity has huge implications for business. Results of over 200 scientific studies on nearly 275,000 people (APA 2005) have found that every key business outcome improves when people are emotionally positive.

  • People are 31% more productive, three times more creative, and a positive mindset increases sales by 37% (Lyubomirsky, 2005).
  • We are ten times more engaged with work (Achor, 2012), and prosocial in ways that achieve superior customer service (George, 1991), and facilitate teamwork that is highly collaborative. (Barsade, 2002).
  • In addition, a positive mindset fosters supportive relationships, which in turn predicts a longer and healthier life (Danner,2001), and lowers health care costs for companies (APA,2002).

The brain scans on the right show the difference in brain function when we’re positive and well-adjusted compared to when we’re stressed and depressed. Multiply the difference by 1000 and you have the loss in brain power in a company doing nothing to alleviate stress.


A Kit to Jump Start Your Mindset

It takes a specific practice to change our mindset. But if you build a practice and every day apply the simple steps are proven to change our attitude, with 4 to 6 weeks your brain’s emotional set point will reset to positive. My book The End of Stress helps you build the practice.  In the mean, click here for a starter kit that helps move in this direction.

 

The Fountain of Youth Is Real

Science may have discovered the proverbial fountain of youth, but before I described it, I want to orient you to its polar opposite, which is stress. It is well established that there is no greater threat to our health, happiness and success than stress. Stress is serious; it can shorten life span by a decade or more. It is not something we should someday do something about. We need to attend to it today. Yet nearly 80 percent of Americans are doing little to alleviate their daily stress, and corporations and health plans do little to teach people how to transcend stress.

Here’s the central issue: Stress dumps toxic hormones into our system that can damage our DNA, kill brain cells, cause heart disease and cancer, dampen our immune system, switch our emotional set-point to negative, and age us prematurely. We see the premature aging in the stressed faces of every president as they leave office.

Premature aging starts with your chromosomes. Chromosomes contain your DNA and at the end of each chromosome are caps called Telomeres that protect your DNA, keeping everything intact and functioning properly. Imagine that the shoelace in the image is a chromosome containing strands of DNA. When the protective tip is gone, the lace unravels.

Similarly, when stress hormones fray telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and generate abnormal cells that age your body and brain prematurely. Our immune system is highly sensitive to shortening of telomeres, which means we are more susceptible to acute and chronic disease. Stress also physically changes our brain and can make us more susceptible to dementia and alzheimer’s later in life.

Brain scans can show a physical difference in a healthy brain verses a stressed brain. You can see that the scan on the left is not as lit up as the scan on right. The scan on the left represents a person living a stressful life. The scan on the right is from a person who is not stressed and as a result has the optimal brain function to be successful, healthy and happy.

On top of all this, stressed employees are less engaged, which thwarts an organization’s efforts to succeed. Research shows that nearly 60 percent of employees who are highly stress are disengaged, while other research shows that companies that achieve high employee engagement outperform their competition by as much as 400 percent. People with a distracted wandering mind tend to be stressed. They disconnect and disengage, which shortens their telomeres. On the other hand, people whose minds are present, engaged in the moment, tend to feel positive, connected and happy, preserving telomere length. The icing on the cake is that the more positive and peaceful you are, the more your brain generates the intelligence, creativity, and emotional strength needed to excel. Make no mistake, state of mind maps to the bottom-line.

The Good News

The good news is that the damage stress does to your body, brain and pursuit of excellence is reversible. How is this reversal achieved?  Through a shift in mindset.

Scientists from a range of fields have been uncovering evidence that the mind plays a crucial role in how healthy you are and how well you perform. Forty years of research in cognitive therapy have established that all our moods are created by the thoughts we believe, determining what we expect will happen. The signals that your cells listen to are shaped by your mental state.[i] Our beliefs and expectations can cause or ease pain, heal or inflame wounds, fend off infection or promote it, reverse heart disease or cause it, slow the progression of cancers or accelerate it. Telomere length determines all of this and its length is driven by our mental state. Pessimism is associated with shortened frayed telomeres and a shorter life span; optimism is associated with healthy telomeres promoting a longer healthier, more youthful life.

Here is a case in point: Nobel Prize laureate Elizabeth Blackburn studied mothers caring for severely disabled children. The daily demands on these women are extremely stressful and the study found that a large percentage of them had shortened telomeres and an excess of 10 years of extra aging in their blood cells. Stress was killing them. But not all the mothers exhibited accelerated aging. The telomeres of mothers who’d cultivated a positive, peaceful attitude were still intact. One women said if she hadn’t fostered a good attitude, her friends would have left her, and she would have to face life alone.

Mind matters. There is nothing that generates greater health, well-being and success than your state of mind. When you stop thinking primarily about yourself and your problems, fearing failure and worrying that you’re not good enough, you undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness. As your mind changes, all the world changes accordingly. Our state of mind creates the life we live. The difference we make in the world depends on the way we choose to live, and the biggest difference comes from allowing love, joy and inner peace to be the statement our life makes every day. Mother Teresa once said that she used to believe prayer changed things, but found that prayer changes us, and we change things.

The Fountain of Youth

More and more, research is revealing that everything for a human being depends on mindset. Being more peaceful and positive in the way you live literally activates an enzyme called telomerase that can repair the damage prolonged stress has caused, not only reversing the ageing process, but making aged cells younger. A number of scientists have called the telomerase enzyme “the fountain of youth.”

If you have a problem with stress, as most do, it’s not entirely your fault. Fifty percent(50%) is due to the way genetics and past traumas wired your brain for stress, dragging your mind and your day into self-defeating bouts of anxiety, worry, and an exaggerated sense of threat. The fact is that 85 percent of what we worry about never happens, and with the 15 percent that does, 79 percent of the time we handle the matter better than our worried mind predicted.

It is common for people to think that a change of circumstances will solve a stressful life, but circumstances are only 10% to blame for a stressful life, which means changing circumstances does not make a big difference.

The change that makes the biggest difference is a change in mindset, a change in attitude. It accounts for 40 percent of whether you live a life of stress or a happier, healthier, more successful life. And now there is growing evidence that a shift to the positive can down-regulate the stress gene. There are only two mindsets you need to understand.

  • One mindset is negative generating an inner experience of contraction that feels like the walls are closing in on you. It is built on the fearful thinking that activates the brain’s stress response system, dumping toxic stress hormones into your system that makes you over-react and worry.
  • The other mindset is positive, generating an inner experience of expansion that makes you feel like the sky is the limit. It is built on inner peace, love and optimism and makes you believe you are larger than circumstances. This amplifies higher brain function and stimulates the growth of new connections within the higher brain to increase your potential to reach even greater heights.

So, the prescription for a good life is simple: accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. There is a set of short videos (mostly 1 to 2 minutes), provided free of charge, that can help you take the first, preliminary step toward empowering a positive mindset: You can access it at https://theendofstressbook.com/end-of-stress-video-series/

Making miracles #1 in my business plan; It’s not as strange as it might sound.

Last week, I had dinner with a friend, who is a successful business man, and he wanted to know what my business strategy was for 2018. I told him that this year, my #1 strategy is to devote each day to creating miracles. “Really,” he said, perplexed. He knows that I endeavor to work as hard and as smart as the next person trying to succeed, but he didn’t know what to make of this.

Here is how the dictionary defines miracle.

Who doesn’t want to have that happen. Honestly, the older I get the more I have learned that I require miracles to bend the world in my favor. After all is said and done, it is the only way I know to catch a break in my quest to reach the heights I am determined to reach. And my experience has proven to me that the miracle I need is always there. So how do we empower it?

Empowering a miracle is simple, although not always easy. It requires a change of mind that shifts my experience from confused and blocked to clear and open to receiving, which is another way of saying from a dark mind to spiritual light, which is what occurs when I make the shift from fear to love. My fear of failing can become a strange room where I grope around in the dark, imagining scary things that are not even there. Making the shift to spiritual light happens when I let go of my fear. Letting it go is like the glow of light that fills a room when the glass chimney of a kerosene lamp is placed over the lit wick. In that light I am powered with optimism and vision, which is a miracle all its own. Eventually the miraculous arrives from out the blue, moving my aims forward. It always astounds me when it happens. 

I sometimes think that making miracles is like winning at solitaire. At first there is this haphazard arrangement of cards set out in front of me, representing the chaos I am challenged to put in perfect order. There usually comes a discouraging moment in the game when I feel stumped and think there is no solution to the cards fate dealt me. But then I notice the one card hidden in plain sight that if freed will allow everything to fall into place. Botta Bing Botta Boom. I just need to step back from the effort and the solution arrives like light.

Maximizing Brain Power: Five Facts You Need to Know

We human beings are called the crown of creation because of our brain. Yet for far too many people, the brain does not seem to crown their lives with health, wealth, and love. Quite the contrary, it seems to malfunction in self-defeating patterns of stress, anxiety and depression. We now know that this means the brain’s fear center (the amygdala) is taking charge of our experience reducing us to fight or flight stress reactions that dump toxic stress hormones into our system.

Fact #1: Stress is Serious!

Chronic stress means the stress response system is turned on nearly full time and a build-up of stress hormones:

  • sinks higher brain networks involved in memory, learning, and decision-making, and conversely causing the amygdala to expand, producing higher levels of anxiety,
  • switches the brain’s emotional set point to negative, predisposing us to anger, aggression, insecurity, and depression,
  • deletes our energy and disrupts our sleep,
  • temporarily lowers IQ by as much as 40%,
  • causes marriage and family dysfunction,
  • dampens the immune system making us susceptible to acute illnesses that can later become chronic, and
  • damages chromosomes, causing chromosomes to produce abnormal cells that can lead to premature aging and life-threatening illness.

Stress is serious. It is life-threatening serious. It is not something we should someday do something about. We need to shift stress whenever it raises its ugly head, and we can.

Fact #2: The 50-10-40 Factor

This leads to the second fact to keep in mind, which is if we have a problem with stress, it is not necessarily our fault, but it is our responsibility to change and science says we can. Fifty percent (50%) of what causes a predisposition to stress is an up-regulating stress gene you inherited which was probably reinforced by your family of origin, wiring your brain for a hyperactive stress response system. This is going to drag your mind and your day into self-defeating bouts of anxiety, engendering a nebulous sense of threat when none exists.

It is common for a beleaguered mind to think that a change of circumstances will solve a stressful life, but research shows that circumstances are only 10% to blame for a stressful life, which means changing circumstances does not make a big difference.

The change that makes the biggest difference is a change of mindset. It accounts for 40% of whether you live a life of stress or the good life. And there is growing evidence that a shift to the positive can down-regulate the stress gene, placing you fully in charge of your quality of life.

Fact #3: Everything is Mindset

New research has established that your brain takes its direction from your state of mind. So, here is the third fact to consider: Everything for a human being is mindset. This is a conclusion reached by some of our best scientists. And, there are only two mindsets you need to understand.

One mindset is negative generating an inner experience of contraction that feels like the walls are closing in on you. It is built on the fearful thinking that makes you believe you are a victim of circumstances. The stress hormones that a negative mindset produce shrinks higher brain networks.

The other mindset is positive, generating an inner experience of expansion that makes you feel like the sky is the limit. It is built on inner peace, love and optimism and makes you believe you are larger than circumstances. A positive mindset not only amplifies higher brain function, it also stimulates the growth of new connections within the higher brain to increase your potential to reach even greater heights.

Fact #4: Success is Inner Peace, Succeeding is Letting Go of Fear

This leads to the fourth fact, which is that stress is psychological fear and peace is neurological power. To say it another way: Success is inner peace, succeeding is letting go of fear. This basic shift in mindsets promotes neural integration, which:

  • improves executive function increasing your proficiency at planning, strategic thinking and decision-making as well as improving memory, learning, reasoning, cognitive flexibility, error detection, and goal directed action.
  • supports emotional regulation so that you feel vibrant and inspired, but not so emotionally charged that you become manic, chaotic, or rigid.
  • promotes response flexibility by activating neurons that signal you to pause before acting, inhibiting rash impulses and allowing you to reflect on options.
  • achieves attuned communication facilitating the interpersonal resonance that promotes better communication, harmony, and the capacity to transcend a limited self-interest in favor of a greater good.
  • increases empathy, generating the capacity to enter another’s world so completely that you lose all desire to judge them.
  • makes you tolerant of differences and enlightens you with self-knowing awareness and foresight directing you forward.
  • fosters innovative thinking, integrating the creative insights produced by the brain’s right hemisphere with higher brain function to become more imaginative, able to think out of the box when a new approach is needed.
  • generates holism, quieting shame-based, self-defeating thought processes to achieve the level of self-confidence and self-worth that allow you to maximize your inherent strengths and talents.

Who does not want their brain functioning like that.

Fact #5: It is Simpler Than You Might Think

The fifth and final fact to remember is, as far as I am concerned, the best news of all. The daily mindful practice that generates the change that changes everything is quite simple adding little to your to-do list. It is about learning to function from an empowering to-be list. And better still, brain change occurs faster than you might imagine, in as little as 4 weeks with practice.