How Thoughts Impact Our Body and Brain
Our brains are constantly changing and being transformed by our experiences and what we see, hear, and feel.
- Example: When you sit and watch a movie, your brain is changing according to the images you see and the emotions you feel. Your brain is structurally different after that movie than it was before. (Makes you think twice about what you are watching.)
- Our thoughts influence our physical health, our emotions, and our behavior. What you think will set the course for your life.
- What goes on inside of us eventually will show up on the outside. The thoughts you allow into your mind daily affect everything about you and your life. As Dr. Caroline Leaf said, “You have been experiencing the effects of your thoughts your entire life.”
A thought is actually an electrical impulse. Every time you have a thought, your body releases chemicals that are sent throughout your entire body.
- When you think positive thoughts- the right chemicals are released that make you feel energized, happy, and at peace. Negative thoughts release toxic chemicals and cause your DNA to be expressed incorrectly.
- These chemicals affect every cell in your body as well as your emotions and attitude. Your attitude reflects the condition of your mind.
- Your emotions and attitude affect your physical health. For example: anxious, fearful thoughts result in biochemical processes happening incorrectly which causes inflammation and weakens your immune system, which results in different issues for different people.
- Our thoughts are real, tangible structures and take up space in our brains. They look like little trees with branches.
- These little trees (thoughts) can grow and shrink depending on what you choose to think about. ,
- Example: If you dwell on a thought all day long and keep rehearsing it in your head, that thought-tree will grow more branches and get bigger taking up more space in your brain.
- Think a single thought long enough and it actually becomes ingrained into your brain and becomes part of who you are. This means you have the power to change your personality, responses, and habits by taking control of your thoughts.
Visualization has been the secret of Olympic athletes for years, and yet when we hear ‘visualization’ we think of hippie-positive thinking kind of stuff- or at least I did. It could not be further from the truth though, scientifically- your brain and body become what your thoughts are.
- Studies show that the part of your brain that gets activated by thinking about an action is the same part of the brain that gets activated when you are actually doing the action.
- When you visualize, you are creating new pathways in your brain
- Imagining moving a limb, even after it has been paralyzed after a stroke, increases brain blood flow enough to diminish the amount of tissue death. This is a very clear indicator of the power of visualization.
- Expert athletes use imagery and visualization to run their races in their goal times. Studies have shown that these athletes first imagine running the race in the goal time in as much detail as possible and are then able to execute it after practicing visualizing.
All of this information is great news! Anything you are wanting/needing in life- visualize it in as much detail as possible. It may feel weird- but your brain and body are actually changing through chemical signals and the formation of proteins.
- Want to improve your health, change a habit, quite smoking, start exercising, change your job, find your passion? Visualize it.
- Take 10 minutes a day to visualize exactly where you want to be, how you want to feel, what you want to look like, and what you want to be able to do- the more details the better!
- Close your eyes and visualize it, and then journal write and draw about it- this activates both parts of your brain and begins to create those neural pathways it needs to accomplish that goal.
Your Brain and Business: The Neuroscience of Great Leaders Srinivasan S. Pillay