Archive for the ‘Neuroplasticity’ Tag

Sowing Seeds of Happiness   Leave a comment

Preamble

I wrote the original version of this post back in August 2013. Amazing how time flies! Since then I’ve learned a lot more about the power of the brain and how it’s conditioned to tilt toward the negative based on our ancestors’ needs for survival; something that kept them on constant alert for oncoming threats and danger. Their need for protection was prominent, and therefore the reaction to potential danger to fight or flee was hardwired into the brain for the purpose of keeping them safe; something the brain continues to do today even when theres’s no real threat of danger. It’s no wonder that many of us struggle in pursuit of our dreams and goals, or are afraid to make changes because we’re conditioned to think the worst. This is known as the brain’s “negativity bias.”

I am so grateful for the HEAL process, developed by Dr. Rick Hansen, and the growth I’m seeing in myself, and others, based on the principles of experience dependent neuroplasticity (also known as Positive Neuroplasticity); a simple, yet powerful process that helps us grow inner resources for safety, satisfaction and connection so we can better meet life’s challenges and enjoy greater health, happiness and fulfillment.

SOWING SEEDS OF HAPPINESS

“All that I am is the result of all that I have thought.” – Buddha

It’s amazing how fast time flies, and how our dreams and goals, and the changes we wish to make often get sidetracked by the thoughts we think, the beliefs we hold, and the rationale that we’ll get to them someday. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t let your thoughts and beliefs hijack you!

Every word we speak, and every thought we think, has a powerful and corresponding effect. Whether we know it or not, we are constantly creating our own reality through our thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. Moreover, when we react to conditions and situations in our lives, the brain behaves as though we are in danger and strives to keep us safe.

For instance, let’s say you want to learn how to dance, but your mind tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t do it: “You won’t know anyone in the class, ” “you’ll  make a fool of yourself,” “you’ve got nothing to wear,” and “it’s too expensive,” etc. In this way, the amygdala, the part of the brain whose job it is to keep us safe, reacts and prompts us to flee, by staying at home and watching a movie by ourselves instead. And so rather than risk trying something new, we may feel lonely and unsatisfied as our dreams and goals are thwarted.

Alternatively, we can respond to life’s challenges by learning how to calm the nervous system and help the brain learn from positive facts and experiences. As we do, we create new neural pathways within the circuitry of the brain, which lead to a greater sense of well-being, joy and contentment.

Let’s redo our dance scenario. Let’s say, once again, you want to learn to dance. You still feel anxious and nervous about talking the class, but this time you recognize the brain’s bias toward negativity and its function to protect and  keep you from what it perceives as danger. Instead of reacting to the situation and staying at home to watch a movie, you respond by drawing on the inner resources you’ve developed for safety, satisfaction and connection. In this case, growing resources of calmness, confidence and feelings of belonging may have helped you feel more relaxed and comfortable about about taking the dance class. As neurons that fire together wire together, over time, you would be helping the brain learn from the new experience.

A final note: Please note that the practice isn’t about denying what’s happening within or around us. It’s about becoming mindful of our needs and growing inner resources that help us better meet life’s challenges. In doing so we create greater happiness for ourselves, for others, and for the world.

THIS WEEK’S TIP ‘N TOOL:

 SOWING SEEDS OF HAPPINESS

Change starts with mindfulness…

This week, without judging your thoughts, or yourself, simply notice the thoughts you’re thinking and the feelings they elicit. Be mindful of what they’re telling you. Ask yourself if they’re really true.

Next…

Try calming your nervous system by putting your right hand on your heart and taking several deep breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. Repeat this exercise until you feel a little calmer.

Choose a Resource…

Ask yourself what resource would be helpful to meet the challenge you’re experiencing.

Try this…

For example, let’s say you’ve been feeling insecure, afraid and timid. To match the resource to the situation, you might choose to grow confidence.

Begin by taking a few breaths, and relax as you let go and feel supported by the chair beneath you. As you breathe, and feel yourself relax, let go of any remaining tension. Then, as you’re ready, visualize or think of a time, or times, you felt confident.

Notice the sensations in your body, and any thoughts you may have in support of your feeling confident as you watch the experience play out in your minds eye. If opposite emotions or thoughts come up, know that’s natural and bring your attention back to the experience of feeling confident.

If you’re not visual, or have trouble visualizing, think of a time you felt confident and what that feels like in your body.

Enrich the experience by making it bigger. For instance, notice the details – where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, how the air feels on your skin, etc.

Then, let the sensations you’re experiencing as you visualize or think about the situation flow down into your body, like a sponge soaking in water. Stay with the sensations for 5 to 20 seconds or longer. Let yourself absorb and enjoy the experience.

When you’re ready, open your eyes.

Then, as you go through the course of your day, be aware times you feel encouraged, hopeful and assured, and once again, let the good feelings of the positive experience flow down into your body.

 When done consistently, you will help the brain to learn from the new experience, and over time, the tendency to tilt to the positive will become more natural.

Good Facts…

Look for good facts that support your feeling confident. For instance,, notice the things you do well, or the things you accomplish as you go about your day.  Then soak in the good feelings.

***Note that absorbing the good feelings into your body for as little as five to 10 seconds is what will help your brain to learn and grow for the better, and is an essential part of the practice.***

For more resources, please check out my books on Amazon.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experience, should you decide to try the process.

With love, Theresa

Connect with me on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-conti-clc-95b4972b/

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Reconnecting2Yo

 Yelp: http://goo.gl/1I8BNy

 

 

 

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) We Are Beacons of Light   Leave a comment

“Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.” – Roy T. Bennett

I am reading the book “The Power of You,” by Chris Michaels. I have just finished the first chapter. The book is about our relationship with the Divine – the spiritual Presence we know by many names: God, Spirit, Creator. What we call “It” doesn’t matter.

We are all Divinely connected. Individual and unique expressions of Life; each with our own gifts and talents, and capacities for loving and giving. This is how we can truly change the world – by following our bliss; our dreams; our goals; and knowing there is a Divine Presence that wants the best for us. We are Its channels.

We add value to the world, and make a difference in the lives of others, by the simple things we do.

I recently sent a small amount of money to an elderly relative who is living on social security, and a small amount of food stamps. It’s something I learned from my father, who always impressed me with his generosity and I now follow in his footsteps, when I feel called and inspired to do so. Not from obligation, but from a place of loving presence.

We are beacons of light. We have the power to love, to heal, to care for and to bless one another, through our words, our actions, and the very essence of who we are.

I received a message from my relative the other day thanking me, and letting know that my contribution made a significant difference to her sense of security and well-being. It was a small gift, but it meant the world to her.

Our acts of kindness don’t have to be financial – they can be whatever we feel guided and inspired to do, moment by moment. And in doing so, we lift the lives of others, and ourselves, and increase the vibrations of love and well-being on our planet.

THIS WEEK’S TNT

What’s one act of kindness you can do today to make a difference in someone’s life?

It can be an act of kindness to someone you know or to a perfect stranger.

Notice how good it feels to contribute to another’s sense of well-being.

Not from obligation, or winning favor, but from a spirit of love and generosity.

And what we give will come back to us in ways we may never fathom. Like a sacred circle.

Try it for a day, a week, a month, a lifetime.

Little by little, our acts of kindness can, and do, make a difference.

It’s all a matter of practice.

If you like, try using the following affirmation from Chapter 11 of

ALPHABET AFFIRMATIONS: TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE AND LOVE YOURSELF

“MY HEART IS OPEN WIDE. I SPREAD KINDNESS EVERYWHERE I GO.

Then let your heart fill with love, and like a soothing balm flowing through you, let the good feelings fill your body.

As always, I would love to hear your comments, and how this week’s TNT works for you.

With love,

Theresa

“Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself” is an empowering process that can help you change your thoughts and create greater health, happiness, and fulfillment.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

Alpha V2

PURCHASE YOUR COPY HERE

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries! Download the free app and read on your Smartphone, computer or tablet.

Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Leader with more than 25 years’ experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams, and create greater health, happiness and fulfillment. She is trained in positive psychology, neuroscience, practical spirituality, among other modalities.

Connect with me on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-conti-clc-95b4972b/

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Reconnecting2Yo

 Yelp: http://goo.gl/1I8BNy

 

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