An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon:
Who we are reflects the relationship among our inherited DNA (biological), our experiences (environmental), and the formation of our brain and its influence on our behavior. The intention and commitment to change is vital to who you are and who you want to become. The way British pediatric neurologist Andrew Curran, in The Little Book of Big Stuff About the Brain: The True Story of Your Amazing Brain, explains this interrelationship and the potential you have to change your own “wiring” affirms the commitment I’m urging you to make to pursue self-transformation and expresses such transformation in terms of what research has taught us about the brain.
You are the interaction between your genetic potentials and the myriad interactions those genetic potentials have with your environments. In your brain this lays down templates under the control of your emotional system. And those templates govern everything about how your brain, and therefore your self, functions. And it all comes down to wiring, the synaptic connections between your nerve cells. Which, of course, by appropriate work, can be remodeled to move you towards more complete emotional health.
If you find that what Curran calls your wiring is cueing you to act in a way that doesn’t serve you, you can transform yourself to be more emotionally healthy by reprogramming yourself by remodeling— rewiring—your brain. As neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson puts it in his book The Emotional Life of Your Brain, the emotional style from childhood that takes us into our lives as adults “doesn’t need to be the one that describes us forever.”
The reason we have this potential is that the brain is malleable, and its malleability—what neuroscientists refer to as neuroplasticity or brain plasticity—gives us the ability to remodel it and to change our behavior.
To accomplish this remodeling, you need to be mindful: To interrupt your machinery, focus your mind on the present, observe your behavior, reflect on it, and make mindful choices about how you will act. If you notice certain areas in which your responses are inappropriate and dysfunctional and you’re not in touch with your own and other people’s feelings, it’s a signal you need to develop new templates for personally and socially intelligent behavior that didn’t develop sufficiently while you were growing up.
- 31 Jul, 2014
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments