Rewire Your Neurology

This week’s installment of Becoming the Greatest Expression of You is Create Change by Thinking Differently.

We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same old thing over and over, faster and faster, harder and harder and expecting different results. And we know that when nothing changes, NOTHING CHANGES.

Neuroscience teaches us that you can rewire your neurology, that you can produce change, at any age just by thinking differently.

At Harvard Medical School Neuroscientist Alvaro Pascual-Leone conducted a study in 2007, where they divided people that had never played the piano into two groups.

One half of the group physically played one-handed finger exercises for two hours a day for five days. The second half of the group mentally rehearsed the same finger exercises in their mind for the same amount of time. (They did not actually play the exercises on the key board).

The group that mentally rehearsed grew the same amount of brain connections as the group who physically played the finger exercises on the piano.

The before and after functional brain scans showed new areas of the same region of the brain had expanded in both groups. Both groups created new brain circuits.

This Harvard study and other research shows that your brain does not know the difference between what is happening in your imagination and what is happening in the external world.

Not only can mental training change the physical structure of your brain, your brain doesn’t differentiate between real or imagined events.

Your Mind Can Change Your Body

Other research has shown similar results not only in the brain but also in the body. These studies have shown that there is an actual mind-body connection and that the mind changed the body.

Subjects in one study were asked to do a finger exercise against the resistance of a spring over the course of four weeks for an hour a day. They showed a 30 percent increase in muscle strength.

The second group never actually did the finger exercise. They mentally practiced the same activity for the same length of time. This group had a 22 percent increase in muscle strength without any physical activity. The body became stronger from mental rehearsal.

The piano study and the resistance spring study show that your thoughts can create physical changes in your body.

Play with me

Imagine being in your kitchen for a moment. On the counter is a basket of lemons. You gently squeeze the lemons and select the one that has a good feel and place it on your cutting board. You take out your favorite knife and slice this juicy lemon in half.

You begin cutting through one of the halves and you feel the spray of the lemon juice across the back of your hands.

As you slice through one of the quarters of lemon you notice the sun glistening off the lemon juice that is running off the cutting board onto the counter.

With two fingers you raise one of the wedges to your mouth and bite it away from the peel. Feel the spray of the lemon juice in your mouth.

Now notice, do you have more or less saliva in your mouth? Did your jaws tighten? Do you smell lemon? What else did you notice from biting into the lemon? Oh – but wait – there is no lemon!

Just as you imagined biting into the lemon your body started producing the same response as if it is real.

Imagined Stress and Your Health

Your body doesn’t know the difference if you imagine stressful events or if you are actually in a stressful event. You can worry and fret all night about all that might happen only to find that nothing that you worried about ever happened. But all that needless stress creates toxins in your body that build up over time.

This ongoing perceived stress can impair cognitive performance, suppress your thyroid function, cause blood sugar imbalance, decrease bone density, raise your blood pressure, lower your immunity and increase your abdominal fat. All of these impair your health. And you made it all up – the stressors never happened!

If your body doesn’t know the difference whether you actually eat a lemon or only imagine it, if your body doesn’t know that what you are worrying about isn’t going to happen but produces the cortisol as if it is happening, you are thinking yourself sick.


Are You Being the Greatest Expression of You?

Think Yourself Well

So imagine what might be possible if you started thinking differently. If you can think yourself sick, can you create change in your health by thinking differently? Neuroscientists tell us that you can. I’ll talk about how you can think yourself well next Sunday.


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I create change by thinking differently.

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