Are you at war with your brain?
When it comes to mental health and addiction issues, it is easy for us to blame and want to be at war with our brain. We become somewhat of a victim to it and ‘wish’ that we could think or act in a different way.
We are taught to blame our brain for our actions, because of our chemical imbalance or addictive ‘personality’. Although this is common advice from the mainstream system, we view this as dis-empowering and a way to trap someone into thinking that this is how they are and that things will never change. They become a victim not only to themselves, but to life in general and those around them.
Not all is lost though. There is a better way to relate to our brains, which can then in-turn manifest into a better relationship with ourselves which naturally creates a healthier relationships with others and our reality in general.
Think of your brain like a tool, for example like a robot or AI which can learn and is programmed to serve us.
It remembers and takes notes of thoughts when we are happy and pleased, when we are enjoying something, or paradoxically it memorises when we are feeling low and the resonating thoughts with those low scared, hurt or sad feelings associated.
Now remember, as it is always trying to serve us, protect us and work towards assisting you to obtain the more positive emotions and thoughts - it will try to avoid the lows by reminding you emotionally and with what will seem automatic thoughts.
Had a bad experience in school having to get up in front of everyone for a presentation at school? What if I was to tell you that at the end of this week you need to present in front of an audience of 50? Feel those thoughts, the fear, the mind's excuses as to why you can’t?
With the above example, we can easily look at that and think, “see, my mind is working against my potential and limiting me!” Well in this case yes it is - well in actual fact it is trying to protect you from the pain you went through all those years ago.
The mind could be our enemy if we allow it to, or continue to hold that perception of it. Or, just like a computer we can upload and download new information, just like changing certain elements of files and folder. Your brain wants to help you, but if its hindering you and causing you to make negative life decisions or hold you back - then it’s time to give it some new instructions.
How can we go about changing the instructions, chemically embedded memories and the neurological paths in our brain and fear responses in our nervous system? There are many ways but we will list a few key ones that you can try out starting today;
1. Meditation - creating space in our day, bringing awareness to our breath and being aware of our thoughts going by just like clouds has been proved to start shifting our awareness towards what we are actually thinking and starting to be able able to rewire.
2. Trauma Healing - trauma passed down in our DNA, from our childhood and even from later years can create strong patterns in our brains. They can cause a ‘re-experiencing’ or triggering with different people and a tendency to keep recreating circumstances with overwhelming emotions, thought patterns and can cause the need for coping mechanisms because of this emotional pain, such as substance abuse and other behavior addictions.
3. Physical movement - Movement and exercise can release certain positive chemicals such as endorphins and self love due to looking after ourselves. If we think about current or past issues while in the state after physical exertion - then this can temporarily change or perception, reduce stress which enables us to have more resources to work out or find solutions to these issues or stressors.
4. Gratitude - it is easy to slip into negativity, and we can even create a lifestyle and friendship group and identity around it. Life can be a lot brighter, happier and easier if we are to just actually be thankful for what it does allow us to do; think, cook, move our body, solve, see and create. If you start feeling grateful within and focusing your energy on the good as well as noticing what is bad and what needs to be worked on will catapult you into having the power to shift your perception and can change your life for the better!
5. Reprogramme - with the assistance of certain therapies and mindfulness, you can start to thank your brain when it was trying to warn you and start to talk it into feeling safer or changing a thought pattern or behavior that is no longer serving you. This can take a lot of mental energy and determination though, so if you are finding it hard then you can try certain therapies and programs which work on a deeper level.
Learning to love your brain isn’t an easy feat, but certainly worth it. Sometimes we need assistance from another to work through this important relationship.
If you or someone you know needs help with their mental health or addiction recovery, then please contact us for advice - book in your Free Initial Consultation today.
Written by Melissa Hiemann, Co-Founder and Therapist at The Centre for Healing.