Even fleeting thoughts and feelings can have lasting effects on our brains. Neurobiologists have discovered that any mental activity leads to the excitement of neurons, which in turn weave together and create new neural structures.
For example, the hippocampus, the department of the brain responsible for orientation in space, increases the size of taxi drivers forced to memorise long and difficult routes. Just as a taxi driver trains visual and spatial memory, just as anyone can develop the departments responsible for happiness and success by working properly with their brains.
Studies using MRI have shown that the happier a person becomes, the more active the frontal areas of their brain are. This discovery was a turning point in neuropsychology. It turns out that the happiness of each of us does not depend on a successful combination of circumstances, but on what processes take place in our brain, and we can influence this.
Why does the brain live with imaginary fears and how to decide to change?
It so happens that through evolution we remember negative information much better than positive information. For millions of years in a row, our ancestors did nothing but try not to be eaten.
Even today, the brain of modern man is arranged in such a way that a rapidly working almond body constantly monitors the environment for an outgoing threat, and the hippocampus stores any negative experience in order to recognize the danger with lightning speed. This explains why millions of people around the world are so obsessed with bad news and don't switch TVs, even if they are obviously stressed.
In today's world, the threat to human survival is extremely small. Real fears have been replaced by potential ones. The brain scrolls through different situations in its head every now and then: "What happens if I get fired?"; "I risk losing everything!"; "You should have answered differently".
This visual simulation of reality once helped our ancestors to survive, but today it creates an alarming background that is very acute. And that is the trap: fictional fears and experiences generate even more pessimism and self-satisfaction.
The psychological pain can be as severe as the physical pain, because in fact they go through the same neural channels. This is why sometimes we are so scared to make a mistake, take a risk or just try something new. The brain warns us of potential danger, and we believe it unconditionally.
To return the brain to a state of harmony and joy, you need to get rid of old response schemes and build new ones. You must first learn to notice your own reactions: fear, anger, irritation, anxiety. Once you understand them, you need to be involved with yourself.
For example, you can take 5 deep breaths and exhalations, stroke your hand or touch your lips. Remember a positive fact from your life. Try to make an agreement with your brain: "Thank you for your care, but I'll be fine". So little by little, the neural structure of painful experiences will change, and negative reactions will be replaced by neutral and positive reactions: life will be much easier.
To succeed, surround yourself with successful people.
The old saying "tell me who your friend is and I will tell you who you are" has a scientific basis. In the early 1990s, a group of Italian scientists led by the neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti discovered so-called mirror neurons. The peculiarity of these cells is that they become active when we observe other people's actions. That's why you want to smile in response to a friendly smile or yawn when someone else yawns nearby.
Mirror neurons can be involved not only in learning and imitating activities, but also in our empathy and understanding of others. When we are in a society of pessimistic, insecure people, the brain triggers mirror reflection without any thought, and now we ourselves become gloomy and negative. Surround yourself with the people you want to be like, and the brain itself will make you become like one of them.
How to become a magnet for other people without any change in appearance.
Have you met people you want to escape from for some reason? On the outside they can be attractive, but their "heavy energy" still repels others. Perhaps you have suddenly become such a person yourself, even though you have recently been the soul of the company?
Science has its own explanation for this. It's not about the morality of a person, but the chemical imbalance of his or her brain.
We are most affected by neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, acetylcholine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When one of them falls, one feels irritable and tired, angry and apathetic, becomes distracted, tearful and forgetful. Those around them unconsciously read any changes in the behaviour of the person they are talking to, and the brain, which reacts to any, even tiny, danger, decides to avoid the enemy.
It is worth removing the "gap" through which the brain loses energy, bringing hormones back to normal, as a person who wanted to stay away from yesterday becomes endorphin attractive.
The human body contains around 100 different types of neurotransmitters, and each has its own special function. Most of them are created in the intestines, which is why it is so important to keep an eye on your diet.
What kind of food makes our brains better
Did you have to say "uh..." in the middle of the phrase and snap your fingers trying to remember the right word? Or did you hang by the refrigerator, cramping, why did you open it? The reason for such forgetfulness lies in the decrease in brain efficiency. Which, in turn, is often caused by poor or insufficient nutrition.
In order to regain energy for the brain, to stop sneaking and irritation, you need to consume enough polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that are found in plants (mainly in dark red, purple and blue vegetables) and have an incredible amount of useful functions. For example, they improve the composition of intestinal microflora (the production of most neurotransmitters depends on its condition), increase the rate of formation of new nerve cells and help fight inflammation.
However, there is one 'but': our body cannot simply take and absorb them, it needs fats. The best sources of fats for strengthening the brain are meat and fat from grass-fed animals, chicken eggs, olive oil, avocado, almonds and low-mercury seafood (red fish, nerve, mackerel, wild trout).
What kind of food slows down our brains
But as there are products that help our brain, there are also products that destroy it. These include primarily trans fats, which are found in fried food, chips, artificial cream and bakery products. The most dangerous ones are those that cause destructive processes in the brain and can cause diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and infertility.
Another product that is harmful to the brain is sugar. It slows down neurotransmitters, makes us moody and causes damage to brain cells. Scientists also advise to exclude milk products from the diet, because the milk protein they contain causes inflammation.
What can I do right now?
Stop accusing yourself of not having enough intelligence or willpower to achieve something. This is not about your personal qualities.
Put aside your fears! Negative attitudes are just well-established patterns of reaction. Treat yourself with condescension and think positively, over time the neural structure of the brain will change.
Take a closer look at your surroundings. How do these people affect you?
Put the bun aside. And put the bun aside too. Believe me, it's for the best.
But move the salad plate closer. And don't forget to water it with olive oil.
Good nutrition, a positive environment and working on psychological attitudes can literally change our brain, and at the same time change our lives.
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