[superquote] Note (2/19/12): This Article Is Currently Undergoing Editing [/superquote]
[aside title=”Modern-Thought”] Due to recent “New Age” movements and ideals many of us have avoided one of the most useful tools we as humans possess… [/aside] After studying countless aspects of Psychology, from General, to Abnormal, to Positive, I have found countless examples, studies, theories and practices which are being ignored by most of the Manhattan population. When you hear someone speak of “Positive Thought” you associate it with The Secret or the Law of Attraction or any of the other motivational speakers. Then, after this associations is made, you dismiss the idea because of “abnormal” or non mainstream ideas.
Having studied almost all of these motivational books and self help theories I found many constants. In addition to these constants I found something else, some very intriguing that can help save New Agers money and help those who vomit at the idea of the Law of Attraction see a little bit of light.
Each and every one of these guides, theories, books, movies, speeches, all say the same thing, they all have the same underlying general messages – they just differ in some small minute ways. One being their method of delivery, or the creators marketing angle and target demographic. This then lead me to two conclusions one of which is true. (Granted, the other may be true also, but I am not here to bash or defame anyone and their business)…
They are either all copying each others work formulating their own spin-offs, as according to basic business theory, or that there is some truth to the matter that each of them are working off of. Let us examine the latter. If each of them have found or discovered some great truth to “Living Well” then the scientific method says that anyone should be able to replicate this and obtain the same results each and every time. This is what I did.
They each aren’t messengers of God,
[Time for an aside...] I am using the word “God” for one reason. Regardless of my own personal beliefs and religious affiliations I know that I must be sensitive to all of my readers. When I use the word God I am referring to what these Motivational Writers are referring to as a “Conscience Universe” an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient being. In my cross religious studies I have found that all religious in some form or another believe that their god is imbue with the three before said characteristics. Instead of using God, I may use the Universal, All Knowing, The Thinking Stuff, Universal Matter, Space, Allah, Jehovah, all of which refer to one religious faith’s father. When I say God, I mean everything that is in existence visible and not. Besides, it is easy to type three letters as opposed to some other word. So please, take no offense and read with a purely analytical and pragmatic mine conscience of others.
These speakers are not profits who received a special message. They had to have found it from somewhere, from some source. It wasn’t that hard to find it. Each of their teachings originates from several philosophical writings: William James, The Will To Believe, Hegel and Emmerson The Phenomenology of spirit, Wallace D. Wattles The Master Key System; and several more.
Let us branch off of the philosophical topic for a while and take a scientific approach. After reading virtually all of these works, I say virtually because Phenomenology of spirit is terribly long (631 Pages Long) and filled with complex comprehensive theories, I have discovered the basic underlying themes of the New Age theories. Each of them coincide perfectly is modern day Positive Psychological Thought. The field of Positive Psychology is a new one with most of its research and writings done by Dr. Marvin Segelman working closely with one of my professors Dr. David Sitt. It is amazing to see how these theories from some of the greatest minds on Earth are just today being proven by science – to think that they had it right all along, all people had to do was listen. Which is what the New Age people are trying to get you to do today, to listen. They are all right, but some are more money hungry than others. True “enlightenment” should be free, and if you believe in New Age and follow it, you should follow Karma as well (I shouldn’t have to connect the dots for you here).
What Does Positive Psychology Say?
It says exactly what you think it does . Let’s look at something as simple as a smile and break it down.
On a biological level it takes drastically less muscles to smile than frown. I would give numbers but no source seems to have the exact accurate number for a smile. The frown I have seen anywhere from 30-64 Muscles and the smile at 4-20. Regardless, it is easier to smile than to frown – that stupid old saying people say so often. (A forced smile takes two muscles, and most educated people can spot one)
On a neurological level a genuine smile will release dopamine into the brain (Checking facts – It may be a different neurobiological chemical, but the concept is the same). With the release of the chemical it triggers a “natural high” that makes each and every person, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or culture; it is universal. A frown actually releases a different chemical which suppresses/blocks the dopamine (Or other chemical I will check) simulating a depressed like state, even if only for a moment.
Take a second and make yourself frown, not forced, and actual frown and see how you feel. Moments later, form a natural smile and see the difference, it is noticeable.
On social psychological level a smile can be very powerful. If you are to place an artificially natural/not forced smile on and share it with a random stranger, someone nice, someone you see having a bad day, or someone you many fancy, you share this smile and it will bring them happiness. I know, a very loose statement and claim. Think back to when you had a bad day and someone smiled at you, a friend, relative, teacher, random stranger or anyone. That smile, that positive wave they transmit will shock you and bring you out of your current mindset for a brief moment. It will save you. Imagine their smile as a defibrillator. It actually will save you for that moment and make you smile back. It is like a handshake, someone puts out their hand and it is almost impossible not to shake it, its a sub conscience action. Now that you had to smile back the smile that was triggered to occur has released that neurological chemical putting you into a better mood. If it worked well enough, you may even decide to return the favor and smile at another person just because you are now having a good day. It then beings to spread.
Why do we even have to be happy in the first place? Can’t I just live the way I want stuck in my apartment with cheesy puffs and TV?
Ask yourself this question, Do you have any dreams or goals for life? If no, and you want to stay unhappy, become homeless. In order for you to enact the exact scientific nature of the Motivational Theories you 1st need to be happy. How can you learn, grow, advance in life, achieve your dreams while you are depressed and unhappy. It is impossible.
Everyone should read this next part closely: Negativity and depression causes stress or may even be caused by stress. Stress causes the release of adrenalin (Epinephrin – Natural Speed) from the adrenal gland. There are many types of stress but you only need to concern yourself for this example for the long term bad stress. [A later article I publish will address Stress, Stressors, Good/Bad Stress, Stress Management and More] Okay, you are depressed and it has caused some form of stress in your life, because of this adrenaline in now flowing through your veins, however you don’t feel energized because you have become conditioned to it by now. Long term effects of adrenaline are detrimental to your life, it will (not can cause, will cause) cause your body’s organs to stop working efficiently. Next, your less important organs like your kidneys and liver will begin to shut down. You may not even get this far, by this point White Blood Cell and Anti-Body formation will have ceased and you won’t be able to fight off colds, diseases and infections. Shorty after, stress itself has lead you toward your death bed. This isn’t speculation, this isn’t here-say, this is factual and very serious. So I ask again, Why should we lead a happy, positive, stress free life? You life pretty much depends on it.
Something as simple as a smile can combat the before said information on the detrimental effects of stress. If you were to choose, a life in depression leading to serious illness or just a try at positive psychology – I’d hope you’d choose the latter.
On Positive Psychology: The Crux of the Matter
By now we have established life with out positive behavior and thought. In addition we have looked at the simple exercise of “Smiling,” from a biological to a sociological perspective. It takes nearly 0% of mental effort to perform that task while still have a greatly significant impact. What happens when we actually apply our minds and a higher percentage of mental processing power? Simply put, we have progressive life. What is called Flow will occur. Imagine making a snow-ball on a mile high hill. The ball is about the size of my fist (I have Big Hands, so 7″, round about) and you roll the ball down the hill. It will then grow exponentially increasingly in size, mass, and power. The only problem is that this creation has a destructive path, it can not be controlled, it is free falling [rolling]. This is what makes us humans such great creative beings. We can snow-ball and increase in size, power, ability, theoretical mass and more. When we are in control of our lives we are in control of the direction of the falling snow-ball and what it does.
I feel this metaphor to give a strong mental image of the power of positive psychology. Now I will teach you how to begin to construct and build your snowball; starting with your hands.
Positive Psychology and Its Application:
One can not begin to build up his/her life with out one to start with. Yes, I know everyone have a life, but to command and take control of one’s life is to truly own it. Don’t live in it, Live on it; Command it. Have you ever been behind the 8-Ball with your so to say? You wake up each morning at the mercy of a mental construct known all to well as “Fate.” This concept and mental model is the result of the lack of constructive mental thinking. You may think and have thoughts throughout the day, but they are not constructive. You may disagree saying yes, they are constructive, I wrote an entire paper for my boss, and my teacher. Well yes, that is constructive thought, however, on a microcosmic level. You are operating and constructing within the realm of your life. Imagine a a circle around your physical body, that circle is your life and you are operating within it. You mentally are inside of your life – A perfectly normal way of living, but for those who seek more and to accomplish grandiose goals above themselves need to advance. How can you then engage in truly constructive thinking on a macrocosmic level that will gain you domineering domain over your own life? You must 1st understand the microcosmic and how you are functioning.
Positive Psychology: The Microcosmic Self (A View On Life)
A typical person operates and functions within their own realm of living. They rarely seek to grow their scope of reality to better themselves and their environment. They live perfectly content with what they have in their simple happy lives. This is perfectly fine! Do not think for one second that I am bashing or suggesting that those who are living happy in their lives are doing something wrong. As long as you are happy you are 100% perfect; you can be poor and on the streets of Manhattan but if you are happy and there is a smile on your face (Even from drugs), it is what you want, you have accomplished your dream, thus you are happy and I can say that you are a perfect person. However, and this is a big however, for those of us who wish to grow and progress we must 1st seek further enlightenment of knowledge that will help us see things in a new light.
[A brief aside: Watch how I just manipulated your thought process with the Religious language of "Enlightenment." Next, I am going to explain the information which will "enlighten" you. You will be amazing and love me and what I have to say. All I doing is giving you a new perspective of life; one which has been proven to be fact. One which many do not realize because they don't seek it, but it is there. After you realize this you will actually feel enlightened. I could have you eating out of the palms of my hands if I were to put a headset microphone around my chiseled cheek bones and stand up on stage with a beautiful backdrop and music while showing you a slide show of my penthouse apartment in NYC. It is that easy to take control when one has sufficient knowledge in the field of Psychology. My morals, ethics, and values are of a higher nature - which I why I have exposed this fact for you all. Don't ever get sucked into false, money hungry people again.]
Back onto our new perspective of the Microcosmic Self. There are two domineering concepts in our scope of self, the Internal and the External. The Internal being our mind and our thoughts, it is invisible and it is could be said to be conceptually inside of us. Then we have the External, our environment; the chair you are sitting on the floor, the air, even you actions are external. Simple enough, let us go in a little more into this. When one is said to live by “Fate” or by the “Will Of Fate” they are living in the external world. To rephrase this, they are living in their environment and their environment is telling them how to live their lives. You boss is telling you to write a paper; well he is external to your internal and you have to listen to him, he is commanding you (which is acceptable – he is your boss), the external is commanding you. Apply this thought process to your entire environment. It all commands you like your boss does to you also. The traffic light changes colors, your door bell rings, you stub your toe, you don’t set your alarm clock because you stubbed your toe, you wake up late and can’t shower because you missed you alarm and you are late to work, today is your presentation but you aren’t prepared because that perfect paper you wrote which kept you up all night is still in your printer because you stubbed your toe, you boss pulls you aside and reprimands you and you plead and tell him that if you hadn’t of stubbed your toe your schedule wouldn’t have been interrupted; but it’s no good, it wont work. Your entire environment has turned on you – so it may seem. This is a common occurrence for anyone who lives externally and at the mercy of their environment. But if you boss is external himself and apart of your environment, aren’t you apart of his? How is he able to command you, control you, if you are apart of the external environment to him? Simply put, he takes command. Now, he may be an ass hole, but that doesn’t change that fact that you can be a good or bad person. By living externally you are living in an extremely small realm and you are easily susceptible to control and manipulation.
Positive Psychology: The Internal World
Now it is time to gain control. We know that there is an Internal and External. The external is comprised of your environment, everyone you know and meet, where you live, all forms of physical matter, the circumstances with which you meet, and even you actions. That is your environment. To live by Fate and let life control you and tell you where to go is to live externally and let your environment tell you what to do, how to act, and where to go. In order to control and command your environment, or the External, one must live in the Internal. If the external is comprised of everything physical and outside of ourselves what is in the internal? Simple enough, our thoughts, ideas, concepts, desires, goals, motivations, visions, emotions,love, and memories. How can control of these things lead me to control the external world? Look at your boss, how does he control you? You are a factor, a component of his own external world. Instead of living inside of the external which would be to live under it and at its mercy (Your boss living at your mercy), he stands on top of it and creates his own environment. He was given the authority by his superior to manage that office. It is his job to make the office run efficiently, keep everyone in line, and most importantly make sure money is being made. He may buy new computers or throw office parties, bring in guest speakers, or even give vacation days – maybe take some away; he is creating his own environment so that the environment that he lives in under his superiors is happy. Let’s connect the dots…
Positive Psychology: What We Think Directly Influences and Creates the External World
Back to our Boss/Office Example. The Boss is tasked with the job to keep employees happy and working efficiently on friday. Over the weekend he realizes that his office isn’t preforming as good as it use to. He sits at his desk for the entire weekend and think about ways to fix this problem, to get his staff working better. He comes up with the idea to implement a new commissions based pay in addition to the salary. His thought of the “Commissions” idea was started at just that, a thought, and was, on monday, implemented into the office. Now you and all of the other employees become happy, your environment has just given you an opportunity to make more money. However, little do you know, your environment at that office is the direct product of your bosses mental constructive thinking. You are working inside of his internal world, made external. Your boss had an idea and he was able to manifest it into reality and impose it upon his environment, thus influencing and controlling you environment. Amazing isn’t it. Believe it or not, as simple and commonsensical it seems most people deny this truth. Gaining control of the external is just as simple as realizing this truth, all you have to do is want to. But you can’t if you aren’t happy and positive. You need to be happy and positive so that you can work inside of your Mental, Internal Office, Drawing Board, Musical Score Sheet (Which ever metaphor fits your fancy). With out Happiness and Positivity, you are working in a cluttered office with no desk and on the floor with PC running Windows 95 while trying to print from a Dot-Matrix. Good luck to you. It’s time for an upgrade.
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