The psychologist Richard Davidson has conducted research demonstrating the relationship between acitivity in particular brain structures and a person’s emotional state. His research showed that :
1) Individuals with left frontal lobe (LFL) dominance tend to be :
– willing to take on challenges
whereas, conversely :
2) Individuals with overactive right frontal lobes (RFL) tend to be more :
– prone to depression
Let’s look at individuals in category one, above (high LFL activity), in a little more detail – in relation to stress, those in this category were found to much better at neutralizing the negative emotions which accompany it.
As well as having high LFL activity, research has shown that this neutralizing ability is also connected to an ability to inhibit activity in another brain region called the amygdala, which I have written about in detail in other articles; for those not familiar with this brain structure, however, it is an area intimately involved in the generation of feelings of fear and anxiety.
With both high activity in the LFL, coupled with the ability to inhibit the amygdala, individuals in category one are much better at tolerating stress and are much more able to stay calm and positive in difficult and testing circumstances.
In relation to the above, there is very good news for those of us who currently do not have high activity in the LFL. I explain this below :
HOW WE CAN INCREASE OUR LFL ACTIVITY TO DEVELOP EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESILIENCE :
Davidson conducted research looking at what happens when people PRACTISE positive moods, positive attitudes and optimism.
Two ways to practice these are :
1) by the use of self-hypnosis
2) by the use of mindfulness meditation.
By using self-hypnosis,( by repeatedly listening to self-hypnosis CDs/MP3s etc ) related to positive thinking, overcoming anxiety, mood enhancement and so on, or, alternatively, by practicing mindfulness meditation, studies have shown that LFL activity can be gradually increased, which, in turn, leads to the development of psychological and emotional resilience.
BY TRAINING THE BRAIN WE CAN ‘REWIRE’ IT TO OUR BENEFIT :
By training the brain through activities such as self-hypnosis or mindfulness meditation the LFL becomes more active, and so, over time, the individuals state of mind becomes increasingly positive and calm – the more often a calm and positive state is induced by techniques such as self-hypnosis and mindfulness meditation, the more likely it is that the individual will come to find that calmness and positivity become a permanent psychological characteristic (or ‘trait’, as this is referred to by psychologists). This can occur due to a feature of the brain called neuroplasticity (click here to read one of my articles on this).
DEVELOP POWERFUL RESILIENCE : CLICK HERE
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).