We say that people who do amazing feats (like ice-climbing) are brave and courageous. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. uses the phrase “a mighty heart.”
When you experience the sensation of an upspiral—that sense of optimism, possibility, hope, strength—you create a chemical cocktail within your brains and body that floods you with “positive” neurochemicals. You become more calm, creative, resilient, and strategic. You shift from “fight-flight” into “flow-flourish.”
You can easily change your internal chemistry by simply focusing on what you want. If you want to feel more hopeful, pause for 60 seconds to stretch slowly, take a deep belly breath, close your eyes, and—to the deepest degree you can—feel a specific positive emotion (e.g., hope, gratitude, love, peace, etc.).
Doing so will slow your heart rate, release a concoction of “happy” neurochemicals (such as dopamine or serotonin), increase blood flow to the “smart” parts of your brain, and cause you to both think and feel better (and even live longer).
May the days of your 2016 be met with a mighty heart!