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Your behavior shapes your temperament


Eric Barker's neuroscience research delves into how we handle the little and the big things in life. Eric Barker's neuroscience research delves into how we handle the little and the big things in life.
As we go along in life, things do not always go well. I recently read an article that pointed out a fact we all know, but may not really look at. Life can in fact be quite messy. We make detailed plans for a beautiful event and something happens. The food is cold. You are excited about attending a concert of one of your favorite singers. The car breaks down on your way to the performance and you do not make it there. Life can be messy. How did you respond to the messiness? Did you become enraged or did you handle it with grace or were you somewhere in between? This may indeed be the real question here?

How much do you process about this matter? Eric Barker, a researcher at UCLA in the field of neuroscience, interprets how the research can improve our lives at home and at work. In a recent blog, he discusses the idea that it matters how we handle the little things in life.

If we can handle the little things, we can handle the larger things. Research has shown that more than 40 percent of what goes on in our lives is done automatically without real thought. As noted by Barker, you are what you do. Your temperament does not shape your behavior as much as your behavior shapes your temperament.

So, in that vein, it would be insightful to start the process of correcting those little habits that are in that 40 percent of your automatically controlled life. Get rid of the bad habits and cultivate the good habits. You have the power to decide what these habits are.

Dr. Alex Korb, a neuroscientist at UCLA, wrote about how establishing little rituals could affect happiness and depression. He states that everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps the loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you will exercise, be social and in turn will make you happier and healthy.

Be careful of what you say to yourself. Self-talk that is negative is a bad habit to form and can affect how you may react in your automatic life. Life is indeed messy. Be gentile with yourself. Correct bad habits and give yourself positive refrains that encourage good health and happiness. We all deserve that.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on North Carolina A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Email Dr. Bland at