Do you know what happens inside your brain’s neural pathways when you smile, laugh or brighten your mood?
In this blog, I’d like to share with you how elevating our mood can help rewire our brain, reducing chronic symptoms like chronic fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues, sensitivities, brain fog and more.
It seemed like the perfect blog to write given that I’ve just returned from a fun, two-week road trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios with my family. This was a dream come true for me as I feared I might never have the energy to be able to share this kind of physically demanding adventure with my son given that I was very sick with chronic fatigue and other debilitating symptoms for the first 3 years of his life.
This was the kind of vacation that was fun but not necessarily relaxing, and it definitely required me to be in tip top shape! Thanks to brain rewiring and recovery, I was able to eat junk food when I wanted to (how can you resist ice cream and funnel cakes on holiday!) because brain rewiring supports your body’s natural healing process, aiding gut repair and detoxification.
Brain rewiring also relieves you from fatigue and pain so I could be on my feet in the hot sun for 12-14 hours per day, surrounded by fragrances and loud noises.
And it fosters emotional resilience so I could deal with long lines, crowded spaces, intense rides, and all the other stimuli that comes with amusement parks!
All of this stimuli can do a number to the nervous system, if your brain’s neural pathways are still living from your old pathways of fear and illness.
But if you’ve rewired your brain and nervous system, (and you consciously take “breaks” throughout the day like slow walks through the calmer parts of the park, as I did daily), then all of these stimuli can be perceived by your brain as a fun adventure, vs the danger that an impaired brain would perceive much of this stimuli with.
The wonderful thing about vacations, and even day trips, or seeing something new in the city or town we live in, is that we become more present to the moment, where our brains have a chance to get off auto-pilot mode and wake up. If you’re not able to take a vacation, don’t despair; I’ve got some other ideas below that you can do to start to get those happiness hormones moving right away!
The Science of Neuroplasticity
But first, it will be helpful if you understand a little about neuroplasticity.
Our brain consists of billions of neurons that communicate through complex networks. When we learn something new, experience emotions, or engage in activities, connections between neurons, or synapses, grow stronger.
Researchers have discovered that our brains continue to adapt and rewire themselves throughout our entire lives. This is what neuroplasticity is all about – the brain’s ability to modify its structure and function in response to experiences and environmental changes.
The Role of Neuroplasticity in Healing
When we experience a repeated or cumulative amount of stress, this can cause trauma in our brain, causing threat circuits in the brain to fire more rapidly. The brain and autonomic nervous system then get stuck in a chronic fight, flight or freeze response and become impaired, which can lead to chronic illness symptoms.
When we elevate our mood, the threat circuits stop, and we begin to grow new neural pathways for happiness while allowing old pathways for illness to become disused.
These positive emotions stimulate the formation of new neural pathways associated with well-being and emotional resilience. With time and consistency, these pathways grow stronger, making happiness a more habitual state of mind.
Concurrently, as you immerse yourself in things that make you feel good, the old neural pathways associated with chronic symptoms and illness begin to lose their dominance. The brain, being resourceful, allocates less energy and attention to these disused pathways. This process ultimately diminishes the power of chronic symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues and so forth.
How Happiness Impacts Neuroplasticity
Positive emotions decrease stress hormones like cortisol. Chronic stress and anxiety impair cognitive function, memory and physical health. By reducing negative emotions, we create an environment in our brain that promotes healing.
Boosting Cognitive Function:
Happy thoughts and feelings stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, improving cognitive function and overall well-being.
Emotions like gratitude, contentment, and joy build emotional resilience, helping us cope with challenges and adversity.
Improving Brain Health:
Happiness leads to behaviours that support brain health, such as regular exercise (even a slow walk will be beneficial for your brain and health).
Strengthening Social Bonds:
Positive emotions promote social connections and release oxytocin, the “love hormone,” which fosters an environment that encourages neuroplasticity.
What can you do to boost happiness?
Mindfulness exercises increase self-awareness, leading to better emotional regulation and increased happiness.
Regularly expressing gratitude for the positive aspects of your life boosts more of that wonderful hormone, oxytocin.
Nurture Social Connections:
Spending time with loved ones and maintaining strong social bonds for emotional support will boost your mood and help you to feel more connected with others.
Learn Something New:
Challenging your brain by learning something new will help to take it off of auto-pilot mode. Try going for a walk in a new part of your city or go to a new grocery store and buy a new food you’ve not eaten before.
Consuming brain-boosting foods rich in antioxidants and nutrients will help your brain to function at its optimum state.
What new thing do you want to do or explore today?
“I am so grateful to Pamma for helping me get to the root of my symptoms and getting my life back!
I couldn’t have done it without Pamma’s support and genuine caring. On our weekly calls, she was always accepting, kind and motivating. She helped me believe that I could live a full and healthy life again. “
The RYB Transformational Coaching Program
Doing steps to recovery can sometimes feel overwhelming and frustrating if you’re not seeing the improvement you’d like to see with what you’ve been doing, often leading to years of chasing symptoms.
A formulated brain-rewiring program, coupled with accountability and guidance tailored to your unique patterns, can bring about remarkable transformation and help you become both the healthiest, and the happiest, version of yourself.
Partnering with a certified health and life coach who specializes in neural rehabilitation and has walked your path and achieved full recovery provides the invaluable support you need to achieve your goals.
Would you like to know more? A chat will cost you nothing. Just click on the link below to schedule a time when we can talk.
The content in this website is intended to be used for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment or advice Please consult a physical or other health care provider if you are unsure about whether you have any of the conditions described in this website.