Pain, Productivity, and Happiness

Understanding your brain and how it operates can impact your health on multiple levels. The video below talks about how our mindset should match how the brain operates. Watch it! It's comical and you'll thank yourself for listening to it. http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work

In case you are lazy, here are some quotes.....

“90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.”

“25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, 75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

“If I work harder, I'll be more successful. And if I'm more successful, then I'll be happier.” “Every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we're going to change it. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.” “But our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage. Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.”

My Two Cents.....

We know from pain science that our brain is naturally attracted to negatives or threats, this is a primal/survival mechanism that humans have developed. All inputs that the brain receive are either positive inputs or negative inputs. From a survival standpoint, positive inputs are seemingly useless to the brain. For example: Let’s say I’m camping in a tent in the middle of the jungle. I look around and I don’t see a tiger (positive input from visual system). I’m happy, I feel safe, there is no tiger.  However, if I listen to my previous knowledge (negative inputs). Which are telling me hey dummy, your in the jungle, there is probably a tiger around somewhere. This negative input then becomes a survival mechanism because I can now prepare for the life threatening scenario of meeting a tiger face to face.

As a protective mechanism your brain prioritizes negative inputs over positive inputs. When your body is in pain, the brain feels threatened from one or more likely a series of negative inputs. The body then becomes sensitive or highly altered of other potentially negative inputs.  The only way to reduce the sensitivity and break the cycle is to apply a positive input for the body. However because a positive input is not as significant as a negative input, this means we must bombard the body and brain with positive messages so the system no longer feels the need to prioritize all the painful experiences of the past.  If this is not accomplished, it can often be the reason why pain lingers around much longer than it takes for tissue to physiologically heal.