Leadership and Power

Brain Facts

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Is negative thinking bad for your brain?



Scientists seem to think that it is. Researchers at King's College London found that repetitive negative thinking may increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease (Journal of Alzheimer's Disease). Remember, at this time there is no cure for Alzheimer's, so this deserves your attention.

The study found that a habit of prolonged negative thinking diminishes your brain's ability to think, reason, and form memories, essentially draining your brain's resources.

Another study reported in the Journal of American Academy of Neurology found that cynical thinking also produces a greater dementia risk.

Remember, brains get good at what they do. Negative thoughts create "channels" in your brain. This way of thinking can become your default.

If you do a lot of negative thinking, your brain wires to be good at producing negative thoughts. Your brain also gets good at seeing things to think negatively about.

One of the byproducts of negative thinking is stress, which then leads to more negative thinking.

When negative thoughts come, and they will, don't just ignore them. Pay attention. Stop what you are doing. Close your eyes if you need to. Replace the negative thought with a positive thought. Hold the positive thought in your brain for a full minute, or more.

When you do this, neuroplasticity starts to work in your favour. The two keys are attention density, and holding the thought long enough for your brain to begin to create new "channels". Scientists refer to this as quantum zeno effect.

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