“The brain is designed for one purpose: to get whatever it needs from the environment to grow stronger and bigger. And that is not a definition of happiness, it is a definition of wealth.” Mark Waldman
Mark is a neuroscientist, researching all the time to find out how our brains work and why that is important. Information that we were given 10-20 years ago is being re-written. We have much better tools for testing, including functional MRI. We can see in real time what is lighting up in different areas of the brain when certain emotions are felt or when certain words are said. Years ago I had an aversion to the word ‘faith’ because of its connection to organised religion. And I have spoken to others who feel the same way. We all have choices to decide how we are going to handle that discomfort we feel when others use a word that has such deep connections. Last week I was talking in a group who were on the same training as I was as we worked towards certification in Conversational Intelligence coaching. At the moment I’m hearing the word ‘hope’ a lot so I asked the group what their take was in the difference between hope and faith. We all agreed that hope was more like wishing whereas faith gave more of a sense of certainty.
One of the other women has also had an aversion to the word faith. I had worked through my discomfort by accepting that the word faith didn’t really have anything to do with religion as such and I was reminded of a quote, “faith is the sound that the song bird makes before the dawn.” The other women has virtually taken the word faith out of her vocabulary and replaced it with trust. We know from our training that trust is experienced in the front part of the brain where we can see the big picture, where we make decisions, where there are mirror neurons that cause us to feel empathy for others and where the hormone oxytocin is produced. However distrust is in the part of the brain that has the stress response and it puts out cortisol that shuts down the part of the brain that houses TRUST.
Why is this important? I feel our new world is about connection more than ever and most of us have felt the truth of that while ‘hiding’ in our bubbles. We have had to get creative to find ways to make those connections we feel are worth continuing. And this trust part of the brain needs to be firing for us to make meaningful connections, the hugging hormone oxytocin needs to be flowing, for some more than others depending on the type of person we have biologically been born into this world to be. No 2 people have the same reasons to find happiness or wealth – and this doesn’t have to mean money, there are so many ways to feel wealthy. Let’s acknowledge that, be grateful for that and shore up those connections that make us feel happy and wealthy with TRUST!
Enjoy the choices you are making as the world turns on its head!