Week Twelve / Day Five – The physical element to changing your thinking

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

By far, the most powerful information that I ever learnt (apart from a true understanding of my self-worth, that is) was the knowledge about how my brain functioned.

I found that it was so liberating to understand that there was a physical component to my depression that was beyond just a chemical imbalance in my brain that made me feel like I was broken somehow. Furthermore this physical component was something that I could reverse.

Knowing the process that my conditioning, my childhood environment was largely responsible for my current thinking, immediately helped me to detach my abilities from my thinking. I stopped feeling like I was to blame for my ‘stupid’ thinking (which was my assessment at the time).

Mind you, I didn’t start blaming my childhood either, but it made so much sense that I could think that way I did, when I looked back at all that had been going on as a child.

I naively witnessed events in my childhood that made me perceive myself in a self-critical way. Not all of this was a direct result of my parent’s behaviour, but a lot about my perception on what was happening. I didn’t know any different, I was just a child.

But it made perfect sense that through consistent exposure to the repetitive beliefs, situations and conversations with the influential people around me, I could adopt specific thinking and that this thinking was grown in my brain in the form of physical neural pathways, like in the video you watched.

It wasn’t all destructive thinking though. I also adopted some pretty empowering beliefs from both of my parents on how to get what you want. I just hadn’t adopted the self-worth component that I now know.

I hope that by explaining a little bit of how the brain works and helping you to understand the association between what you think and how you feel helps you to detach from your emotions a little more.

I hope that by being able to look back at your own childhood (especially now you are raising your own child and can see how innocent and naive they are) that you can understand that it is not your fault that you feel the way that you do, nor is it the fault of anyone else’s.

Every human being on this planet is a product of the experiences they had as a child. Every child adopts beliefs about life from the environment they grew up in and unless they go through the process of deliberately changing those beliefs over time, which is essentially what we have been teaching you to do in this program, then they will inevitably take these beliefs with them for the rest of their life.

So if you grew up with criticism, whether it was to you or you just witnessed it, conflict, sadness, looking at the glass half empty, viewing everything you are missing out on and feeling like a victim, not having experienced much love and affection, or anything else (good or bad) from your childhood, you have likely adopted these beliefs and are re-living these experiences to some degree in your own life.

What you’ll also find, if you choose to investigate, is that the people that taught you to this very lens on life, was taught to them by their parents. So it can be very interesting sometimes to go back and look at your parents’ or your key influencers in your life and understand how they came to teach you the very things that have assisted you to do depression.

It continues to amaze me when I coach people, and when I reflect on my own thinking, how critical those first zero to seven years of a child’s life is. Sometimes I can even get overly conscious of that when I’m raising my own boys.

But all is not lost though. You can correct and change those physical pathways in the brain through the process of synapses pruning.

By repetitively feeding your brain new information and supporting this information with new experiences that convince your brain of a new way of thinking, you will begin to literally grow new physical connections in the brain.

Keep doing this deliberately and stop yourself as often as possible from thinking in the old habitual way, and the brain starts to sift through the unused thinking and essentially ‘prunes’ these connections. They no longer exist!!!!

Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds and there is a lot of consistent, repetitive work that you need to do for it to happen but this explanation gives you a visual of what is going on in your brain everytime you feel down or negatively about something.

I found this visual so crucial in understanding my emotions and stopping myself from feeling like a complete failure for living my life the way I did.

It become so much more do-able that all I needed to do was keep applying a new mindset and the old one would disappear. Whenever I found myself sinking into despair, anger, self-criticism, guilt or any other emotion, I would quickly remind myself that this line of thinking was not going to make me happy. It was not going to help me to my goal of being happy and it was not going to help me to teach my children not to think this way either.

Remembering the physical process of how the brain works was often enough incentive for me to keep looking for another way to think and perceive the situation and apply the reality thinking model.

It seems so logical to me now, whenever I’m feeling an emotion to associate it with my thinking. I mean if you wanted to move your arm, how do you do that? You first think about moving your arm. If you want to walk over to the tap to get a drink, you first think about being thirsty, then look for how you are going to stop that and get up and get a drink from the tap.

Everything you do and feel first comes from a thought. There is even extensive research these days that looks at using your mindset to overcome diseases like cancer and other terminal illnesses. If you started to look you would see amazing results that people have with their health because they have worked on their mind. What do you think we are doing with your depression?

Depression has the chemical imbalance in the brain component to it, but how do you think it got there? You had specific beliefs in your brain that have been there for a long time that because of an experience, triggered these beliefs and created that physical chemical imbalance.

Medication can correct the imbalance, hence why you may feel good, but it doesn’t correct the beliefs that caused the depression to occur in the first place. If you want to live depression free and come off your medication you must work on changing your mindset. Then you won’t need medication.

It is possible, just knowing this information and having followed this program that you don’t feel like you need medication now, but that would, of course, be something that you would discuss with your doctor. Never come off your medication without a medical plan of attack (set your goal, resource information and create a plan) because this can actually send you back into depression again.

At the end of the day, it’s nobody’s fault that you do depression, stress or anxiety. It is simply the journey your life has taken because of the events that you have experienced. This is because of the people you happened to have come across who hold particular beliefs from their experience in life and because of the way you have perceived those experiences through your limited knowledge at the time.

Whenever you find yourself thinking in a way that doesn’t align with your bigger picture aims, it is merely an alarm bell to wake you up and get you to start looking for what is needed to realign your life to you want, by changing your thinking and learning what needs to be done to get you there.

The concept is simple. Keep applying the Mind TRACK to Happiness process and your life will become simple too.

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