Hey, guess what? Your brain is literally changing as you read this. I'm serious. As you read this and make sense of the words, your brain is changing - neurons are firing, neural pathways are getting stronger, and, depending upon how this content makes you feel, neurotransmitters are being released that facilitate activity in specific brain regions. And like every other muscle in the body, the more you use certain regions of the brain the stronger they grow.
Back in the 1990s, we learned a few things about neuroplasticity and neurogenesis and how the human brain continues to grow and change throughout our lives. Every time we learn something new, new neural connections are formed. Since the Decade of the Brain, we've learned much more about neuroplasticity and the mind-body connection. Recent studies show that we can change our brain just by thinking, and those thoughts create feelings which change the body.
Whatever you spend your time mentally attending to, this is what you are and what you’ll become. Recent studies show that we can change our brain just by thinking. You’ve heard the phrase, “mind over matter”? The term goes back approximately 150 years, though the meaning has changed over time. The phrase first appeared in 1863 in The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man by Sir Charles Lyell, a close friend of Charles Darwin. The phrase refered to the increasing status and evolutionary growth of the minds of animals and man throughout history.
Today, 'mind over matter' is generally used to refer to the capacity of the mind, often that can be used to achieve miraculous results such as telekinesis and other paranormal constructs. New research shows that mind over matter is anything but woo-woo science. The mind matters - to the brain, to the body, and to over overall well-being. And has a name.
Psychoneuroimmunology, also known as PNI, is an important, relatively new field that explores the mind-body connection. PNI studies have found may correlations between life events and health effects. One important finding in this body of research is that emotional states affect immunity, and we are gaining a clearer understanding of the links between lifestyle and personality factors and overall well-being and health as research continues.
Here is the simple explanation: Where you focus your thought processes influences the whole body: the nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system. Your thoughts release chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals are transmitted to the body where they act as messengers of thought. The thoughts that produced those chemicals allow your body to feel exactly the way you were thinking. So, every thought or emotion releases chemicals that create that feeling in your body. In response to that bodily feeling, the brain generates thoughts that produce more chemicals as it processes that feeling.
Thinking creates feeling and feeling creates thinking. This loop creates a state of being.
Positive thoughts create positive feelings in the body which generate more positive thoughts. Negative thoughts create negative feelings in the body which generate more negative feelings.
We literally become what we repeatedly think about.
So, ask yourself what do you spend most of your time thinking about?