Thanks to my neuroplastic brain, life feels much better.
I have come a long way. The pain, confusion, and utter despair have given way to feeling hopeful about the future. It is not something that has happened overnight. Rather it has been a long journey into the unknown. Like a drunken fool, I struggled to keep my balance. I fell so many times but faith gave me the courage to pick myself up again and again.
My determination to keep going was fueled by incredible survivors’ stories. Louise Hay was the first mind-body healer whose life-story inspired me to not give up. I clung to the hope that things will get better.
However, simply hoping that things will get better without intentional effort will not change your brain. Inertly expecting your mental or physical or financial health to miraculously improve is wishful thinking. You have to act. Do something positive every day to change the way the neurons (brain cells) fire.
Those faulty brain connections of our traumatic past have to be disconnected and one has to create new connections – that’s the science of brain neuroplasticity.
Neuroplastic brain changes occur through repetitive intentional effort
Like many who struggled with mental health issues, I held on to the hope that things will improve. I devoured books on mind-body. But I had no clue where or how to begin. Then serendipitously I discovered sound healing. Those chaotic thoughts petered out. I was slowly able to experience periods of mental calm. Since then, I included sound healing in my daily diet. Those brief periods of centeredness changed my mindset. I truly began to believe that it is possible to get better.
Neuroplasticity And Belief
According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief changing our thoughts changes the biochemistry of our mind and body. However, change can be slow, it takes an average of 66 days – around 2 months to change a habit.
Neuroplasticity involves novel repetitive practice for new neuronal connections to form. We have to consistently do things differently again and again while holding on to the belief that this will lead to the changes we desire. Keeping sight of the big picture while taking those tiny steps to dismantle the old paradigms.
Making It Happen
It takes work and persistence. You have to put intent into action and no one can do that for you. Ultimately, as an adult, you have to take responsibility for your life. Yes, we all need support but finally, each one of us has to do our own washing. We have to do new things, think differently, and get moving physically. Action is the key to transforming our brain.
Additionally, we have to learn how to deal with our negative feelings. We have to let go of the old way of bottling up or repressing them which only causes brain damage and illness. By-passing them or medicating them away does not help in the long run.
Feelings/emotions are our guideposts telling us about ourselves and our environment. We must listen to them and honor them, express them. Changing the way how we deal with negative emotions alters our neural connection. Emotions are energy and when we allow our emotions to flow freely our brain can grow and blossom.
Changing the Faulty Belief System
Like most abused children I had this faulty belief system – I don’t matter, others come first. After all, that’s what being a good Christian was about. I have since learned that is codependency. It is damaging both psychologically and physically.
I have changed my aspirations from wanting to go to heaven to wanting to be free of resentment. What a difference being selfish has made to my mental health since I began putting myself first.
Moreover, I no longer feel the need to people please. If people treat me disrespectfully I have no qualms about walking away. Maintaining my boundaries without guilt or stressing about what will people think. I no longer feel the shame of not being good enough or shameful for my past and present choices.
Being emotionally regulated is about being comfortable in one’s skin. Being free of having to wear the good girl, the nice person crown gives our brain the space to expand.
Indulgence – Prioritizing Self-Care
No one is going to put you first if you consistently put your needs last. Prioritizing self-care is not selfishness. Believing that you are important changes what we tolerate and how we respond.
According to the Law of Attraction in order to manifest things in our life, we must believe it has already happened. Indulge your desires regularly, don’t keep denying yourself or your mind will keep believing lack, not abundance. It does not have to be expensive things. Give yourself little treats – making time every other day for a relaxing bath is a great way to indulge yourself. Unfulfilled desires to keep your brain stuck in that mental loop of lack.
Nonetheless, a little indulgence is good, it gets our dopamine flowing. Dopamine increases neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) vital for brain neuroplasticity.
This Is How Powerful Love Can Be – Bruce Lipton
Hope, Faith, and Love
No matter how much hope and faith we have, we also need that magic ingredient of love. Overnight it can transform our lives. Love does heal our traumatized brain. During my tumultuous journey struggling to survive, I have been fortunate to meet some truly loving people. People who were not family – just neighbors, acquaintances colleagues. whose loving acts of kindness bolstered my faith.
I will never forget that time after my partner died and I was totally bereft with my 2-year-old son. My kindly Hindu neighbor Mr. M who helped me move to a smaller more affordable place came over with food. Saying that ‘Mrs. M (his wife) said that ‘I was not in a state to cook.‘ After bringing out the food items, he took out an old painting of Jesus and said ‘have faith.’ My heart leaped, a bolt of energy surged through my body. I felt hopeful and vitalized. The moment is forever etched in my brain. That memory has sustained me whenever I felt like giving up.
Kindness Promotes Neuroplasticity!!
Today, I am fortunate to have the support of my loving son. I feel grateful for all my blessings during this challenging time.
I pray all those out there struggling don’t give up hope. Have faith that things will get better.
Be kind, be loving to yourself and others who desperately need it. Small acts of kindness can change someone’s life and maybe yours too. Studies have shown acts of kindness create neural pathways that enhance feelings of well-being thus creating newer brain connections for lasting change.
Here’s Wishing All My Dear Readers a Kind, Loving Xmas.
Image Source: Pixabay
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism — Martin Seligman