Being Positive Physically Changes Your Brain
Written by: Kirsten Cowart
When you have a positive lifestyle or positive behavioral traits, you are likely to have a particular set of connections in your brain, according to researchers from Oxford University.
Scientists from the University’s Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain investigated the brain connections of 461 people, which they compared with 280 different demographic and behavioural measures.
Brain Patterns And Lifestyle
The researchers found that there was a correlation between a person’s brain connections and their personal traits. People with positive behaviors and lifestyles had different brain connections than those with negative traits.
Where The Data Comes From
The research team used data that was found in the Human Connectome Project (HCP), which was a $30 million NIH-funded brain study. The Minnesota, Washington and Oxford University study showed MRI scans from 1,200 healthy people with in-depth data from tests and questionnaires.
“The quality of the imaging data is really unprecedented,” explains lead study author, Professor Stephen Smith. “Not only is the number of subjects we get to study large, but the spatial and temporal resolution of the fMRI data is way ahead of previous large datasets.” The completed data from 500 people has been released for analysis so far.
Brain Map Created From 461 People
The Oxford team created a brain map of the average person from 461 participants. “You can think of it as a population-average map of 200 regions across the brain that are functionally distinct from each other,” explained Professor Smith. “Then, we looked at how much all of those regions communicated with each other, in every participant.”
What they made was a connectome for each of the subjects who participated, which showed detailed information about how 200 separate brain regions communicate with one another (it is basically a map of the strongest connections in the brain).
Negative Vs. Positive Behavior
The team took 280 different factors such as behavior and demographics and compared the brain maps of the positive behavior to the negative behavior.
One type of brain pattern was common in those who were more positive. These positive people performed higher in memory, vocabulary, life satisfaction, years of education and income.
People who were on the other end of the brain pattern scale were found to score high in negative traits such as rule-breaking, anger, poor sleep quality and excess substance use.
Practicing Being Grateful And Positive Can Help Rewire Your Brain
Now science has started to uncover the physical differences between those who are negative and those who are positive. Through this understanding, you are more able to see why it is important that you practice living a positive life.
Your mindset, positive or negative, can physically change your brain and affect all areas of your life. Practice positivity and gratitude to start remapping your brain. If you do this every day for a month, you will be shocked at how you ever lived without being positive and grateful.
What do you do to stay positive? Let us know in the comments below.
University of Oxford. “Particular brain connections linked to positive human traits: Those with classically positive lifestyles, behaviors had different brain connections to those with classically negative ones.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150928122548.htm>.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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