Transforming Our Internal Universe: Changing our brains with the power of thoughts, emotions, and the body.

When we achieve congruence in speech, thought and action, we function at our peak, because our whole being is fully engaged, with all parts of ourselves working harmoniously and co-operatively toward a goal or a state of being.

However, how do we synchronise these three parts for peak functioning?

This comes through the integration of feelings, senses, and thoughts.

Such integration involves understanding and managing our inner world, which includes the rational mind (the thoughts) and our capacity to have and identify certain emotions. It also involves understanding the relationship between our environment and our body, through its ability to sense and self regulate. In this sense, all aspects are interconnected.

Once a thought exists in our mind, masses of physiological reactions occur in the body and emotions are felt.

Lets put it to the test: notice the sensations you feel when you recall a cherished event, or a person you love.  Then after a short break, do the same,but this time recall an intense moment, one of anger, frustration, fear, or sadness.

The  sensations are different and produce either well-being and relaxation or tension. These sensations are only the surface sensing of much deeper processes at play within your body.

The thoughts create a cascade of bodily reactions that in turn produce what and how we feel, and naturally how we act.  Each time we direct our attention or awareness to a given thought, feeling, event or situation, we set in motion subtle neurological processes that alter our blood flow, activate several glands and produce a chemical cocktail that is released in various organs and changes our physiological systems such as the respiratory or cardio-vascular systems, accelerating or slowing them down.  They also modify electrical impulses in various parts of the brain, and create new combinations and sequences in the neurological pathways.

All these processes remain unnoticed unless by our brain’s unconscious.  However, what we put our attention on, ultimately defines us on a neurological level: we become what we think and our body’s health is related to how and what we think.

Our habitual thinking trains our body to react to  certain habitual chemical processes.  Whatever the chemical releases, they become regular and reach a state of normality over time.  Some however become abnormal. For instance, increased arousal levels caused by adrenalin production, perhaps the result of a stressful life,  can over time lead to cardiac issues.  Yet we do not notice, because these conditions are our level of normal, that is usual and functioning.

Think of similar events occurring over time, such as the daily rush to work, and the way we think and react to this.  Chances are, we think and act in the same manner, time after time, without even noticing, and this in turn creates the same chemical processes that run repeatedly through our body.  Depending on the processes, rushing to work every day can be a fun and relaxing experience that can be nurturing to the body, or detrimental to our health. All depends on the feelings and thoughts associated with ‘going to work’ and the chemicals thus released internally.

Sometimes, we become aware of how we think and how we do things similarly and perhaps, how it may affect our body and our health.  Because we are versatile beings and are capable of thought, we can  then choose to keep our attention on the thoughts, feelings and actions that serve us,as opposed to those that, though once useful to us, we now recognize are detrimental to us.

For instance, placing your attention on pain in the body is beneficial: it tells you that you need to pay attention to an injury or illness, and take appropriate steps to heal.  However, if the pain becomes chronic, or if you worry about it , or get frustrated because the pain impedes your daily life, your focus makes the pain exist even more.  At that point, if you place your attention on something else, the part of the brain that processes body sensations switches off, and the pain goes away or its intensity reduces significantly.  If you pay attention to pain consistently, you wire your neurons strongly toward the pain, and you develop a more acute perception of it. Like a finely-tuned instrument, your body and thoughts are now able to feel the pain even more acutely.

Our attention brings anything to life.  We mold ourselves by the repeated attention we give to something: we are a work in progress, and through experiences, memories, fantasies, all information inputs alter our brain cells by neurologically rearranging and rewiring neural pathways through the various stimuli we get.

In essence, we become what we spend our time mentally attending to.  Hence, the thought that we have the ability to reshape our brain, and thus, reshape our destiny holds true.

Yet, can we unlock the means to manage our thoughts, feelings, and reactions to move from stress and pains toward regeneration and change?

The answer is yes and a stark contrast to older beliefs that the mind is static. 21st Century research shows us otherwise.

We have the neuro-plasticity to “break the habit of being my usual me.”  Our brain can and does evolve and it does so limitlessly.We are able to achieve congruence of thought, feeling, and action, as we move away from a state of stress and reactivity to a state of alert mindfulness.

Through our own stress, we exist in a primitive state of survival, one that limits our evolution.  We experience life, but do not reach our peak. Realising our potential demands alertness, flexibility and health.

Sometimes, we choose to remain in a situation that creates stress: a less than satisfying job, an unhealthy relationship or location, and so on…  Why is it so? Why do we stay in a situation we dislike? Why don’t we change what makes us suffer? We know intuitively that “this is not good for us”, yet we feel unable to change anything about it and “put up with it”.

The response is simple: because not only have we become accustomed to whatever conditions we live in, but we also have mentally become addicted to the emotional states they produce, and our bodies have come to assimilate that the chemical reactions that arouse from that state of being are normal and are to be expected.

As we become stuck in one mindset or attitude, genetics are partially responsible, but we have hardwired a part of our brain through repeated thoughts and actions. And these are difficult to change.

To consider changing is to accept becoming different: we are no longer who we used to be.

We first have to experience something that makes us feel uncomfortable enough to want things to be different, and we sense that to overcome our life conditions, we have to change something in ourselves.

So, how do we overcome this challenge of redefining ourselves? How do we change something in ourselves to create new connections in our brains, new habits, or new approaches to similar events? How do we create the principles upon which, from timid we become bold, from helpless with finances we become confident we can take care of our financial future? How do we move from feeling dissatisfied with our relationship or job, towards a stage where we can change their dynamics, or simply make a decision we may now still fear, that of leaving them?

Overcoming a challenge requires first that we demonstrate a will greater than our circumstances,and second that we adopt new habits, by initially breaking old habits, through the release of encoded memories of past similar experiences that are outdated and no longer apply to, nor serve us in, our present circumstances.

My next article will describe some of the methods we can use to build up will, release old habits and how to rewire our minds for greater efficiency and happiness by achieving congruence of thought, feeling and senses as we learn to integrate senses, thoughts and body responses.

Coaching and counseling can help and support you in this work. How about contacting me for obligation-free information and for assistance in devising a three to ten week plan to help you get there?

MBB (Mind Body Bridging) is the method we will use as you journey to transform your mind. It is a 21st Century modality, used in various medical, psychological and coaching practices, with techniques drawn from the latest findings in neurological science and psychology, and thoroughly tested in clinical settings.

Author: Pascale Aline

Psychotherapist & Performance Coach, I specialize working with tools for self enhancement, growth, productivity and healing (Biofeedback, EMDR, Mindfulness training)

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