Think of a time when you got really excited about something. Wasn’t your enthusiasm infectious? Didn’t it spill over to other people and stay with you for a while, leaving you feeling happy, calm, and centered? Enthusiasm tells your brain what’s important to you, causing your brain to try to recreate that feeling over and over again.
We usually think of enthusiasm as a reaction to something external to us, but enthusiasm is a skill you can learn. It might be worth taking the time to do that because whatever you focus on your brain perceives as a goal that it needs to meet. When you tell yourself that you’ve done a good job on something, your brain wants to reconstruct those feelings, opening up new possibilities.
Now, try to think back to when you were a small child. Remember when every leaf or twig was something to be excited about? Remember when trying to master new skills you’d try and try until you got it? At some point we outgrow that joy of discovery and the ability to reach our goals faster. If we can learn to rekindle joy, we can build strong, well-developed neural connections in the brain, which helps keep our brains strong and resilient well into the future.
When we’re enthusiastic about something, the brain responds to those triggers and cements that skill into the nervous system because:
- Different neural networks are involved in processing information depending on our moods. When we’re in a good mood, more brain regions are involved and what we’re learning is recalled for a longer period of time. Enthusiasm plays a significant role in memory and recall.
- If we face a challenge and master it with enthusiasm, core areas of the brain release the happiness hormone, dopamine, to flood the brain. This strengthens the synapses in the brain and neural connections are stimulated to grow stronger. That feeling of happiness causes our brain to want to repeat the actions making it easier to learn later on.
- Enthusiasm encourages neuroplasticity. We are constantly altering our brain structure, cell number, and chemistry by our actions for the good or not so good. When we’re enthusiastic, our brains are triggered in a good way to become more plastic and adapt to the positive goals we’re setting forth.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel enthusiastic. Life is stressful and we get bogged down in the details of everything we need to do to get through the day. Having and maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult but worth the effort.
“Enthusiasm is one of your greatest assets. It is better than money, power or influence–with enthusiasm you become the master of these. Combine enthusiasm with faith and initiative, and you can move mountains and achieve results unheard of.” -Earl Prevette, Master SalesmanWhatever goal you’re trying to reach, enthusiasm gives you the energy and the brain power to make it happen. Keep reading to find the best tips for harnessing the power of enthusiasm.
- Follow your bliss. We may not always feel like this is possible, but there is no better way to be enthusiastic than to do things that you’re passionate about. If your current job or hobby or pastime doesn’t fill you with bliss, start making a plan to change that.
- Set goals. Thinking about the things you want in life produces happiness. Being enthusiastic about the job you want, the trip you want to take, the house you’re dreaming of–regardless of where you are now–will train your brain to help you reach those goals. Don’t focus negatively on where you are as opposed to where you want to be. That creates a sense of lack. Instead, think of where you are now as your steppingstone to where you want to be.
- Make a plan. Creating a plan helps generate enthusiasm for your goals. It gives you a sense of purpose when you wake up every day and follow through. Otherwise you’re just wandering aimlessly in no particular direction and you will soon lose enthusiasm and motivation.
- Stop being a victim. Nothing can take enthusiasm away faster than being a victim. If you constantly tell yourself “I’m stuck here,” or “I’ll never get there,” that’s the goal your brain will seek to fulfill. Picture yourself as the creator of your journey. You can take any steps you need to get what you want, regardless of what life throws at you. Staying focused on a goal helps your brain stay focused on helping you achieve that goal.
- Check your tribe. Be friends with people who encourage you and challenge you. Enthusiasm is contagious. When you surround yourself with negative people, they will drag you down. If you surround yourself with people who are enthusiastically working to achieve their goals, that will rub off on you as well.
- Stimulate enthusiasm. Do things that generate enthusiasm in you. If art is your thing, go admire art in a museum or watch YouTube tutorials on how to create that art. If you love music, listen to some new tunes or discover new artists. Spend time in nature. Read books on what you’re interested in. People who are enthusiastic find ways to stimulate themselves to maintain their enthusiasm.
- Be attentive. When you pay full attention, you generate enthusiasm. It’s not just putting in hours to get a job done. It’s putting your enthusiasm into those hours that makes a winner. It’s hard to generate enthusiasm if you’re focused on other things instead of focusing on your goal.
- Lower your “bad” stress. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Setting deadlines and goals and meeting them by putting in effort creates good stress. Getting out of your comfort zone can help generate enthusiasm. Challenging yourself can also generate good stress. When you push yourself too hard, feel overwhelmed, or lose control you will zap your enthusiasm. Taking steps to keep bad stress under control is vital to maintaining enthusiasm. You can do yoga, or practice mindful meditation either on your own or with your BrainTap Pro App. With BrainTap you can achieve clarity of thought, focus, and lower stress levels. BrainTap also helps you focus on your goals with positivity and enthusiasm.
- Get started. Whatever it is, to get to the goal you have to start. Do the thing. Start learning. The more you know about something the more enthusiastic you will be about it. Set small goals and begin achieving them to keep your enthusiasm going.
Following the tips above can spark your enthusiasm and keep it burning while you create the life you’re dreaming of. Taking steps to live life with enthusiasm not only makes you happier and more pleasant but also makes your brain stronger, for years to come.