Rewiring Our Brains for...
MFT Linda Graham
Graham points out that it is possible to train our brains, our bodies, and our hearts to access our intuitive wisdom, not only to get through the tough times but to grow and become more conscious in the process. This training is supported by research scientists who have found that combining mindfulness and neuroscience, which includes neuroplasticity, can lead us to more resilience and well-being. She describes the five intelligences of the body and mind and tells us, “We’re able to actually regulate the responses of our automatic nervous system so that we’re not too revved up [with] too much anxiety or fear and we’re not too shut down.” She also talks about not bypassing negative emotions and advises that we practice self-compassion saying, “True compassion and any of the positive emotions that we practice actually shift the functioning of the brain out of the negativity bias of the brain, out of contraction, out of reactivity into more openness, into more receptivity, into possibilities of learning and optimism. Any time we practice compassion, kindness, gratitude, joy, awe, delight, we’re shifting the functioning of the brain. So it’s important to cultivate positive emotions, not just to feel better, but so that we can actually do better. The direct, immediate, cause and effect outcome of these positive emotion practices is resilience.” She goes on to point out that when we feel safe, held, loved, and valued by other people, we are supported in our ability to be resilient. She recommends exercise, sleep, nutrition, learning something new, and hanging out with healthy brains as activities that support our brains to be more active and engaged. And when we are feeling overwhelmed it’s helpful to remember that we can’t solve everything, that our task is to mend the little patch where we are.