To celebrate the launch of my new Healing Plan, I’m doing a mini-series of blog posts to introduce you to it. The book is chock-full of info I hope will truly help release you from the grip of chronic illness and get you back on the path to better wellness. It’s the path I used myself to get MUCH better.
Over the next few days, I’ll give you a flavour of what each step entails. I’ve adapted this from the first part of the book. The second part goes into a lot of detail about how exactly you work each step.
Here we go with Step Four (catch up with all the steps here if you need to). We’re starting here to get into the ‘active’ healing methods after calming our systems down enough for it to not make us worse:
Use Neuroplasticity Techniques to Change Your Brain
Whatever you do, don’t think about a pink elephant.
Of course, you can’t help it; you just pictured one! Your body ignores the “don’t” and pictures whatever you tell it, regardless. So, if you constantly think about your illness or a symptom—even if you are trying to be positive about it or even NOT think about it—your body will see just the illness and symptoms. And the more you think: “I’m going to react to this food”, “I mustn’t think about this pain” etc., the more it will actually happen.
Think of your subconscious mind as being like a small child; it’s not that intelligent, but it wants to please and help you! So, if you worry about reacting when you look at a particular food, and keep doing that, the brain eventually builds a neural pathway to make it more convenient for this little thought to take place and starts warning you away from it every time you see it. It’s actually trying to be helpful by doing what it thinks is needed to keep you safe!
So, as we discussed in ‘What’s Causing Our Chronic Illness?’, there is a theory that some chronic physical symptoms may have more to do with these Pavlovian-type conditioned behaviours, and brain patterns repeating ad nauseam, than with actual physiology. It can be hard work to change such behaviour, but it is perfectly possible with various neuroplasticity techniques: your brain has learned to make you fearful, and it can unlearn it too.
Part of this process is becoming aware of what’s actually going on in your head and realising what your “little voice” is saying to you all the time (and I mean, ALL the time). Remember that the more you think something, the more self-fulfilling it becomes: your subconscious is circling on your fear and belief and deepening those grooves in your brain. In neuroplasticity science terms, the phrase they use is: ‘neurons that fire together, wire together.’ And we’re going to consciously use neuroplasticity to change those grooves!
Neuroplasticity played a huge part in my recovery.
Don’t confuse neuroplasticity with positive thinking or telling yourself you’re getting better. It is not the same thing. Neuroplasticity takes lots of repetition and application to work, but the results are worth it. Think about stroke victims; they often lose function in a limb, and the therapy is to make them repeat tiny, tiny movements very often in a bid to regain some capacity. Gradually, the repeated movements will encourage the growth of new neural pathways in the brain. The old one doesn’t go, but it weakens and the new one becomes stronger and stronger, and finally takes over the job.
The more we tell our brains something, the more it changes. And, don’t forget: it is when the brain changes that we turn on and off our genes. That is the basis of epigenetics.
Neuroplasticity will be key to your recovery, and this step will form your brain retraining work and include several techniques. Working this step will create new thought patterns and take you further on your healing journey.
Step 5 tomorrow….If you’d like to read more, see the Preview on Amazon here and get the book. If you do buy it, it looks a tad lonely and unloved at the moment, so do please leave me a review. Thank you. Let’s get well!