©Arlene R. Taylor PhD
There is more than one way to protect your brain. What you protect your brain from mentally may be equally important to protecting it physically. Your inner thoughts, feelings, and impressions directly impact your energy level. You are composed of many energy systems that encompass thoughts, feelings, and emotions. According to Wayne Dyer, every thought you think could be energetically calibrated for its impact on your body and environment.
According to Childre, your habitual attitudes form neural circuits in the brain. When you choose to maintain a specific attitude, the brain can literally rewire itself to facilitate that attitude. You can choose to maintain an attitude of positive hopefulness or one of negativity.
Kenneth Guiffre, MD, stated that the way in which you view life is directly related to the way in which your brain ages. Negative feelings and a negative mindset can trigger high levels of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol and adrenaline) to flood the brain. Over time this can result in reduced brain mass and cognitive ability.
The phenomenon of emotional contagion, as explained by Richard Restak, MD, means that negative emotions tend to exert a more powerful effect in social situations than positive ones. Limit time you spend with people given to pessimism and expressions of futility. If you want to accomplish something that demands determination and endurance, surround yourself with others who possess these qualities.
Visual images can be more intense than some other types of sensory stimuli. According to Benson, images and scripts from moving images can actually become part of your brain (e.g., physically materialized), changing its biological structure and impacting your health positively or negatively.
When you listen to radio, iPod, or CDs, you don’t receive the type of exposure to images that you may subsequently re-see repeatedly in your mind’s eye. To the extent that the input is negative, you may reduce the level of serotonin in your brain and find it more difficult to maintain and live a positive mind-set.
The brain works best in balance. In the book The Brain and the Fighter Pilot the author argues for the importance of balance in life among art, music, business, manual skills, and sciences. Avoid becoming unbalanced and overspecialized. This includes monitoring and controlling, to the extent possible, what you take in for sensory data.
For example, you may want to limit your exposure to the vivid portrayal of distressing news. Studies in quantum physics have shown that when you see or hear something on television that impacts your thoughts and moods, you remain connected to that information.
According to Dr. Amen, your thoughts affect every cell in your body. Negativity can lower immune system function and alter your neurochemistry. Changing your behavior can change your brain patterns. Avoid accepting every thought that comes into your mind. Take control of your thoughts.
- If a negative thought surfaces, acknowledge it and evaluate for its reality and for anything you can learn from it; quickly replace it with a positive thought
- If a sad thought surfaces (e.g., you have experienced a loss), acknowledge it and immediately think of something you gained from the experience. Replace the sad thought with a positive or thankful thought.
- If any angry thought surfaces, evaluate whether or not your personal boundaries have been breached and whether or not you need to take action or just acknowledge the information; quickly replace it with a positive thought.