4 min read
This is your brain

This is your brain.

This is your brain on toxic thoughts.

This is your brain on toxic thoughts.

 

 

Did you know that 75% to 95% of your illnesses come from your thought process?

In Alexander Technique, I first learned that what you think  can produce mental tension that influences physical tension.  Well, Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist with a Ph.D in communication pathology, confirms that what you think can leave physical toxicity in your neural network with negative thoughts. The good news is that neuroplasticity can be altered through changing your thoughts in just 21 days.

Neural Hi-jacking

Isaiah 41:10: ” So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

According to Dr. Leaf, our brain is a brain wired for love.  Since we are made in God’s Image, we are wired to have positive thoughts from passion, happiness, joy, peace, excitement, truth, etc.  Our brains don’t have specific chemicals to secrete negative thoughts on. So when we have negative thoughts like fear, our brains do not know what to do and take the closest positive chemical it can think of to secrete more and more.  This brings our neural networks out of disorder, which can generate emotions like depression, anxiety, etc.  This also generates inflammation and brings the immune system into all kinds of disorder.

 The Good News…

Romans: 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It is definitely possible to retrain the brain to learn new habits.  All of us have probably have had negative memories of events that make us emotionally drained, things that give us negative emotions when we ruminate over them.  However, there is a simple 4 step process to help reverse that.  This is something I want to do definitely to embrace my freedom in being a child of God.

 1. Realize that there is an actual anatomy behind your thoughts.

Realize everything you think about can create structure and occupy space.  One pastor at my former church talked about how being on the wheel of “unforgiveness” toward his father generated a cumbersome burden for him personally.  Thus, the more we spend time occupied on bad thoughts, the more likely we are spending time on processes that cause our brain not to fire right or takes resources away from other areas.

I took a class called Motivation and Emotion last semester where I read a research paper on how often times our emotions reflect the amount of available energy and resources to tackle the stresses of our daily lives.  So when we focus on negative thoughts about ourselves or others, that actually creates less resources to embrace the challenges that are present in our lives anyways.

2. Increase awareness of your thoughts and feelings.

The Alexander Technique Freedom directions can help with this.

Make sure to not let thoughts that are not healthy go unsupervised.  Sometimes, that requires some probing.  I can give an example. For example, previously when I approached people for help, I would think, “Oh, I may not be good enough for this person’s time.” While I do not think this as much like this consciously anymore, I still notice that it subconsciously affects my body language and thoughts.

 John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

3. Take action once you have analyzed the thought.

I mentioned in a previous article that my Alexander Technique class, taught by Jennifer Roig-Francoli, that we had to discuss judgment thoughts that we tell ourselves before a performance.  Our teacher had us write down thoughts to counteract judgment thoughts after we confessed our judgment thoughts.

4. Build new memories over the old.

While this may be challenging to do, take an experience that represented something negative and try to remember a different component that was positive.  For example, maybe you had a relationship that didn’t progress the way you hoped it would, but maybe there was at least something positive that came from it.

Here are a few thoughts that I am working on changing.

Dr. Caroline Leaf discusses a lot about how people have the choice to choose to reject a negative thought that someone has directed toward them.  This is crucial because the part of your brain vulnerable to stress will most likely shrink and lose cells. Thus, my goal is to work on eradicating the stress and even inaccuracies the following thoughts have had on me throughout my life.

1. I won’t make a difference here.

2. I may not be good at applying what I learn in school and make it relevant in the real world.

3. Someone feels I am imposing on their time or increasing their workload.  They are just being very polite about it.

What is your thought that you want to eradicate? Write about it below.

In the meantime, check out Gateway Church in Texas where Dr. Caroline Leaf attends.  Also worship with us at the Inbound Church <-Click!