The Pursuit of Happiness: 3 Steps You Can Take to Retrain Your Brain.

Every single thought you have creates a chemical reaction in your brain. EVERY. SINGLE. THOUGHT. This changes the physiology in your body.

Our negative thoughts, therefore, if left unchecked, will obviously takes us down a road toward anxiety, depression even obesity, violence, job dissatisfaction…etc. This is according to Dr. Amen, who I would consider to be a brain guru. He attributes our overall health and success to our brain health.

Now, before you get all carried away and think we all need to have a Pollyanna perspective on life, do understand that there is an appropriate amount of anxiety that is designed to drive us to make positive changes. If you are an individual who practices more of the “ignorance is bliss” way of life, and your responsibilities get lumped into what you ignore…this is absolutely the WRONG direction to go down. Or if you choose to stuff your feelings, so speak, rather than dealing with them…same outcome. It will lead to more UNHAPPINESS as you are not living in reality, letting problems mount and feelings fester. These things WILL come out someway or another {not to mention, people in your life tend to suffer from this way of living}.

If, however, you find yourself “stuck” in a negative thought pattern and you are able to be real enough with yourself to know that this steals your happiness: there is hope. There is a ton of hope, in fact.

Here are three very practical things that you can start doing TODAY to help retrain your brain <3

1} PROTECT YOUR BRAIN

Our brains are far more susceptible to damage than most people think. One reason for this is that we are used to walking around like this and the symptoms we deal with seem “normal” when in fact they are not. For example: sleep issues, mood disorders, problems with focus and brain fog, memory issues…just to name a few: these are issues that we attribute to age or stress, and some of that is true. However, we can do a lot to experience far better brain health and therefore, far better overall health than we give credit for.

  • Start with the obvious stuff: wearing a seatbelt, wearing helmets when appropriate, being careful with how sports are played {there is a plethora of information out nowadays regarding the brain damage football & soccer players in particular sustain and how it impacts their lives later on}.
  • Think about what goes into your body: drugs, alcohol, too much caffeine, certain medications, smoking. Many of these substances reduce brain flow by a tremendous amount, which in turn decreases brain activity.
  • In addition to those things we take into our bodies, it is important to reduce your toxic load from the things we don’t mean to put into our bodies: Cleaning supplies, detergents, dryer sheets, fragrances, beauty supplies, pesticides… Research is finding that this toxicity is connected to ADHD, Autism, lower IQ, chronic inflammation and more. These issues are even being found in babies born to mothers exposed to environmental toxins
  • Sleep: too little sleep, or poor quality sleep will cause damage that can appear like heavy drug use or even chemo on your brain. Our brains repair during sleep. If you are chronically lacking sleep, you are depriving your brain of this repair.
  • Manage stress: this can be a hard one, with the fact that some stressors are unavoidable. However, consider ways in which you can reduce or better manage any chronic stress you currently have. This might look like counseling, adding exercise to your routine, perhaps saying “no” to some things and reducing the load you have on your “plate”, it might mean changing jobs… The bottom line is that chronic stress will cause stress hormones to build to the level that is toxic to the brain and will even kill brain cells.

2} FEED YOUR BRAIN

Our brains thrive off of healthy fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Our Standard American Diet {SAD} greatly lacks in these areas and instead is extremely heavy in sugar and simple carbs which leave the brain deprived and us feeling, lethargic, craving more junk, moody, with blood sugar issues, with chronic inflammation, with brain fog. Diets like PALEO & the ketogenic diet are PRO BRAIN! It is important to get rid of old messages we have been taught about saturated fat and cholesterol {both things our brains NEED!!} and to let go of the “low fat” mentality! ALSO: eat your eggs, most importantly the yoke!

3} BE PURPOSEFUL ABOUT GETTING RID OF THE AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS {ANTS according to Dr. Amen}

This takes some dedication, but it can do WONDERS!

“Research by Mark George, MD and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that happy, hopeful thoughts had an overall calming effect on the brain, while negative thoughts inflamed brain areas often involved with depression and anxiety.” Amen Clinic

How do you do this?? You can start here:

  • Consciously challenge your thoughts: rather than let your negative thoughts run wild and direct your day, your mood, your outlook, face them, challenge them and change them. Of course it won’t feel natural to do so and your mind will want to snap back to that comfortable negative space, but just keep doing it! “Fake it ’till you make it”! Get yourself in the habit if switching to a positive thought and eventually it will happen automatically.

So there you have it: three things you can start doing TODAY to change your brain from limping along and being unhappy, to thriving! I know the first step contained a lot of different things. So: cross off the ones that are not an issue for you. From what is left, pick one item and work on that one thing until you have effectively changed it and can move to the next thing.

DO NOT try to change too many things all at one time!! This is a sure way to fail and then feel worse than when you started.

If you are at a stage in life where you need some guidance along this journey, a health coach can be a great benefit to you. I am happy to set up a free 30 minute consultation with you and come up with a plan/program to help you become the happier, healthier, more vibrant person you want to be!

Set up a consult through email: jessica@healthwithjess.com

Below are resources used in this blog post:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0812929985/creativitatwork/ref=as_at?creativeASIN=0812929985&linkCode=w61&imprToken=rG3EwbmYVdMZFgEsPBbVdg&slotNum=0

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/03/the-toxins-that-threaten-our-brains/284466/



I want to hear what YOU think!



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