According to one of the world’s leading neuroscience researcher, someone I learned so much from, Mark Waldman, we live not from what we see in the world, but rather in the realities we invent in our frontal lobes. We live from our imaginings.
And in our brains, the positive and negative beliefs we hold are both active all the time. However we are programmed with a primal survival bias to pay more attention to the negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
Unfortunately, a negative belief system that might have helped you live longer in more primitive times actually harms you both neurologically and physically.
Whereas, a positive belief system helps your brain grow new dendrites and neuroconnections that improve your memory and adds 2 years to your life.
Yeah, you read that right, a positive belief system adds 2 years to your life!
Makes brain retraining even more worth the effort, right?
Mark has detailed some ways to quickly and easily organise the frontal lobe part of the brain to serve you better, and I’ll share some of them below.
Interestingly, the amygdala which is the primitive fear causing part of the brain that gives us the fun (not really!) Fight/Flight/Freeze response can be surgically removed, but when that’s done, you lose your emotional response.
It seems the fear sensors are what gives us personality even though they can wipe out that gift by leaving us crippled with anxiety.
The reward centre of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, releases the feel good basic pleasure chemical, dopamine.
This is what wakes us up, this makes us conscious and give us our interests, food, love of learning new things.
But when we get into something new and get excited about it, the amygdala kicks in and shuts down the forward movement.
I think this must be where the old saying comes from, ‘one step forward and two steps back.’ And I know I always hated that feeling.
When you feel fear, whether real or imagined, within less than 1 second, 25 different fear chemicals get released, the most dangerous of which is cortisol. These neurochemicals flood throughout the brain and the body.
Stay with a negative thought and within minutes, you have released enough chemicals to damage the memory and the learning parts of the brain.
We need to learn how to turn down the right frontal lobe, and turn up the volume on the left. Don’t say, ‘This is just how I am,’ commit yourself to change and you can train yourself to be optimistic by increasing your sense of pleasure throughout the day with a few simple things like:
- having some pretty flowers or a beautiful picture by your desk to look at every 15 minutes or so
- stretching and yawning every 15 minutes or so
- thinking of a word or mantra that instantly calms you and makes you feel good, again every 15 minutes or so
You want to bring yourself back to consciousness and to introduce pleasure into your experience as frequently as possible, every 15 minutes or so.
Learning to think differently is possible, even chronic depression can be retrained out of your brain through mindfulness, meditation, and acceptance based therapy. RWID is my fabulous tool created from my research on neuroscience and brain optimisation.
Improved frontal lobe stimulation expands your sense of self, and your social and spiritual awareness.
The most effective ways to change your mental state is through chanting and a breathing meditation. Set a meditation bell sound to ring every 10-15 minutes to remind you to return to a conscious state, to stay in touch with the present moment. Then chant your RWID mantra while you breathe in for teh count of 6 and out for the count of 6.
Keep stretching in new directions and pushing yourself to learn, be and do more. This stimulates your nucleus accumbens, which then releases more dopamine. New stuff in your life, new ideas, new knowledge all stimulate the frontal lobe, increasing the neuroconnections in your brain.
Caring for yourself, for others, for animals releases oxytocin and that helps us bond and that sense of connection makes us feel good too.
Taking the time and making the effort to retrain your brain will improve your brain infrastructure, will make your feel better physically, emotionally and mentally and you’ll live longer.
You can choose to think about your life in either a positive or a negative way. As I said at the top, retraining for an optimistic outlook in every moment takes effort.
I happen to think its worth it. I hope you do too. Start with RWID. Its simple, fast, effective and it makes you feel goo.
When will you start your brain retraining?
Why not today?
Change how you think and you’ll change your life.
Change it for the better by choosing what to think about.
PS. Its ready, I so love this and I know you will too.