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Karen Salmansohn

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What Goes Down Bounces Back Even Higher

Posted: 10/03/08 11:02 AM ET

Obstacles to happiness often appear larger than they truly are during a crisis. So if right now you're in crisis mode, due to the financial meltdown, please keep in mind that you're seeing things through a temporarily darker, blurrier lens. Nothing is ever as "fabulously good" or as "crisis bad" as it first appears.

More good news: What goes down often bounces back higher -- when it comes to bad moods. And you can actually be in charge of speeding up that bounce back process.

It's like this: Psychological studies show that often the happy get happier and the sad get sadder -- because of simmering brain temperatures -- also known as "resonance."

Happy thoughts all share the same resonance in the brain -- and are shown to naturally attract the memory of other happy thoughts -- also simmering at the same happy "resonance."

Chances are you've witnessed this theory of resonance with guitars. You know if you pluck the G string on one guitar, the G string on any nearby guitar will have "sympathetic resonance" and start to vibrate as well! If you haven't experienced this, check it out! It's very cool.

Well, memories are "tuned in" at specific frequencies, based on the information they're encoded with--like "This is high-level happy stuff" or "this is low-level miserable stuff."

Whatever resonance your present thoughts are simmering at ("high-level happy" or "low-level miserable"), they'll attract memories of similar information.

The result: When you're happy, a stream of positive thoughts ensues. Ditto on simmering negative thoughts.

Yet more good news: Over time, negative brain resonances eventually simmer back up to their normal, daily, even-keeled midlevel set zones. When they do, that's when the feeling of "rebounding" kicks in.

So if lately you've been worried that you're never going to feel like your normal self again, don't. You're biologically wired to return to your normal midlevel mood.

Professor Richard Lucas, at Michigan State University, researched the effects of bad and good times on mood permanence. He focused on a wide range of people: from folks who won huge amounts of money to those who experienced debilitating injuries. His research showed all people initially reacted strongly to the good or bad in their lives. However, eventually nearly everyone returned to their former general happiness level.

Even more good news: His studies showed that post-distressing (as opposed to traumatic) times, many people actually reported rebounding to a higher-than-usual good mood. He attributes this bounce-back-higher effect to people appreciating the good in their life after suffering the bad.

The result: Your renewed focus on appreciating all the good things in your life retrieves even more simmering positive thought memories . . . and upward your mood does go!

Your Bounce Back Assignment: Create a Gratitude Journal. Record: Who do you love? What do you love? What do you love to do? Psychologists find that people who keep weekly gratitude journals end up feeling happier, more energetic, and more optimistic than those who don't. So write down those people, things, and experiences that bring you joy, and keep your brain resonating at a happy temperature.


For more bounce back tips visit: and check out best selling author Karen Salmansohn's BOUNCE BACK BOOK by clicking here...


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