How excited we allow ourselves to become can determine how much success we will allow into our lives. When was the last time you got really excited and actually showed it to the world?
Maybe you jumped up and down on the spot with your hands held up high in the air or perhaps you shouted like a lunatic or even squealed with delight? Can you remember the last time you did that? Most people cannot and some definitely will not. Though research tells us that this can be one of the most critical decisions we can make in determining our success!
Our excitement levels predicate our neurological chemistry and a gush of chemicals can completely change our behaviours and so our lives, if we allow them. Researchers have long suspected that the chemistry of the brain largely influences personality and emotions. Now, a Cornell clinical psychologist has shown for the first time how the neurotransmitter dopamine affects one type of happiness and a successful personality trait.
“From a series of experiments with humans and based on what was already known from animal studies, Richard Depue, professor of human development and family studies and director of the Laboratory of Neurobiology of Personality and Emotion at Cornell, has concluded that dopamine is strongly related to the trait some researchers call extraversion, but Depue and his colleagues prefer to refer to it as ‘positive emotionality.’”
“One personality trait in humans is how sensitive and responsive we are to incentives and rewards,” said Depue.”1
We are either extravert in expressing our emotions or introverted. Numerous studies of successful individuals leads us to believe that ‘positive emotionality’ opens the doors of opportunity while recessive natures tend to shy away from open doors. “This of course doesn’t mean that if you are more introverted in your behaviour that success is not possible, it just means that a person is more likely to contain themselves and so become, metaphorically invisible”, says Rik Schnabel, director of education and training with Life Beyond Limits.
One glance at the forlorn faces that exit offices all around the world tells a tale of woe. Most people don’t have a WOW! life. Over the years of adjusting their lives to a conditioned response that is taught in most tense-filled offices, most people have learned to curtail their feelings and supress their emotions. Yet if we released our inner child, at the primal core of our being, we would allow ourselves to get excited, take more risks and most likely enjoy a more adventurously driven life of success. However there is nothing more certain than humans’ propensity to fall into boring and limited patterns.
Only 23% of a hamsters DNA is exactly like ours, yet our behaviours are not so different. Hamsters easily entertain themselves by running a hamster wheel and humans call it a ‘job.’ Now jobs can be won and just as easily lost. So we humans will do everything in our power to avoid being noticed by getting too easily excited or emotional. Soon we become boring and get bored. Though boring has a price.
“According to a survey, researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die young, and that those who experienced ‘high levels’ of tedium are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease or stroke than those satisfied with their lot.”
“More than 7,000 civil servants were studied over 25 years – and those who said they were bored were nearly 40 per cent more likely to have died by the end of study than those who did not.”2
So how do we get off that treadmill of mundane misery and live a life of WOW!? Just changing three things can get you there.
- Get yourself artificially excited!
Move your intellectualism aside. While it might sound a little contrived or childish, jumping up and down on the spot or punching the air will actually release a gush of happy chemicals such as dopamine. Dopamine is the ‘reward molecule’ and is responsible for reward-driven behaviour and pleasure seeking. Every type of reward seeking behaviour that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain. If you want to get a hit of dopamine, set a goal and achieve it.Equally a good bout of exercise will alter your state, but it is important think excited thoughts to let yourself get excited. Just remember exciting things you have achieved in your life as you jog or run will do it. Then run a mantra such as, “I am so amazingly awesome!” over and over and over again through your mind and notice how exciting life starts to feel. When we feel it, our unconscious mind actually believes something great is going on and releases that all important dopamine.
- Raise your sternum and raise your confidence!
Your sternum is that nobbly bone structure above your heart at the very top of your chest where your ribs meet. Go ahead and raise it right now and notice how much more confident you feel the moment you lift your sternum even an inch or two.Raising your sternum releases seratonin and will bolster self-esteem, increase feelings of worthiness and create a sense of belonging. Did you know that by challenging yourself regularly also increases serotonin? Being able to say ‘I did it!’ will produce a feedback loop that will reinforce behaviours that build self-esteem and bring more WOW! Into your life. It creates an upward spiral of more and more serotonin.
- Play the ‘positive memory game’!
In our Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) program, which is the science of positive psychology and includes some of the best tools for Life Coaches, we play the ‘positive memory game.’ It’s a technique to teach people to access powerful resources in their brains. It’s what we call ‘associative behaviour.’All you have to do is take a moment to recall a time in your life when your life was really ‘WOW!’ and be sure to see it in your mind’s eye, remember what it sounded like and allow yourself to feel it again, then perhaps clap your hands above your head or make a move that reflects a ‘WOW!’ feeling. Do that at least three times recalling three different ‘WOW!’ events in your history and the clapping of your hands will create an associative trigger or what we call an ‘anchor.’ Then before you start your day slap those hands together and notice how quickly it enhances your state.Remember this; we don’t do what we think, we do what we feel. Change your feelings and you change your life!
2. You really can be bored to death, scientists discover, Jonathan Petre, (Daily Mail, Australia, 7 February 2010), https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1249073/You-really-bored-death-scientists-discover.html