Neural Nets, Emotion, Thought and Behavior
Our emotions and behavior stimulate and shape the formation of neural pathways (neural networks) in our brains that reinforce existing patterns or begin new ones. When we think the same thoughts, the neural pathways become busier, stronger and more pronounced. Eventually our repeated thoughts become beliefs that also become imprinted in our cells and bodily systems. The result is that our thoughts impact our health and overall well-being.
What and how we believe and our general attitude toward ourselves, others and life creates an inner environment that is very real. This inner environment can then become a source of thought and feeling that creates a feedback loop that helps generate self fulfilling prophecies. We need to make certain that we are in charge of this dynamic process and that we are setting up the best possible inner landscape for our health, happiness and well being.
Neural Networks: Thoughts Grow Into Things!
Neural networks are groups of nerve cells that work either independently or as a unit in a healthy brain. They are part of how we learn and remember. They show us how memories are formed, how change occurs in the brain with new experience, how new skills evolve, as well as how conscious and unconscious behaviors work, and how we process sensory information.
Whew! That is a lot not only for those tiny little neurons to be doing but also for us to digest! Essentially what we really need to understand is that there is a very real mechanism that registers our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviors in our biology. Think of these neural nets as the buttons that are pushed that cause you to behave, think and feel certain ways, even when your conscious mind would prefer that you had a different response.
Outer and Inner Connections
Triggers in the external world activate neural nets and we automatically have thoughts and memories from an earlier time. The part of our systems where old memories have been encoded has been switched on. This automatic firing then creates our thoughts. We all have had the experience of feeling like there are parts of us that are speaking with the voice of a parent, teacher of negative aspect of ourselves. This is neural nets in action! Each time we have these kind of episodes the nets become thicker. The more we use them the more prominent they get.
It’s no wonder we can often feel out of control or at the mercy of forces outside our control. The Pogo cartoon phrase “We have met the enemy and he is us” comes to mind. But rather than see this as a conflict within self we can simply understand that there are real reasons why things are the way they are and use the information to change. This dynamic functions well in many cases to ensure our safety and survival, it’s just that it also runs amok in other areas of our lives where we would be better served by a higher level of mind and freer associations.
Turning Weakness to Strength
Fortunately the very mechanism that can cause trouble for us is the same one we can use to create less stress, more ease and flow in our lives.
Techniques that enable us take charge of our innate capacity to form these patterns/neural nets can help lay down new tracks that help us be more in charge of our life experience.
Deep relaxation, meditation, breath work, imagery, Emotional Freedom Technique, and other forms of mind-body and energy work all target the deeper inner structures that need change for us to function in more productive and happier ways.
It all begins with awareness: what are you feeding your mind, body and energy field today? How would you like that to change? What would life be like for you if you could release all the old baggage and pack a new suitcase?