Set Free... Why your cells keep you trapped in old habits and how to break the bonds
You do a lot of thinking.
Your mind is constantly working away to solve life's greatest mysteries. These mysteries present themselves everywhere. They exist in your daily routines and in that deal of a lifetime you need to close this week. Your body responds to these thoughts by feeling in a way to match your thoughts about these mysteries. It does this primarily through the release of hormones. As the body takes on this feeling in which it was directed toward, it strengthens the signal to the brain that it is feeling in a cohesive way to whatever the brain is working out. This process is known as the Thinking and Feeling Loop and is performed all day, every day all the time. You are so good at thinking and feeling and feeling and thinking that you don't even have to keep your awareness on most of your life's tasks. In fact, studies and books have been written on the vast 95% of your life that gets spent on auto-pilot due to the power you possess in keeping these subconscious routines(Dr. Lipton, Bruce).
So when you realize that your negative feelings of guilt, stress, anger or regret (to name a few) are only painful ones that do not serve your most elevated self, then you've decided that it is time to change. Arriving at this realization can be extremely difficult. As this thinking and feeling loop is always in motion all the time, quite often it means having a kind of "come to Jesus" moment; an epiphany of sorts in order to even become aware of the way we treat ourselves on a regular basis.
Let's say you are a worrier.
Anything bad that could possibly happen is bound to happen and you need to rack your brain constantly to think and assess and worry about yours and everyone else's issues. But you don't realize you are a worrier. You have become so efficient at worrying that worrying has become a part of your personality; or what Dr. Jo Dispenza, author of "Breaking the Habit of being yourself" coins "your personal reality." Worrying has become the lens in which you view life through and worrying this much simply no longer serves you. Perhaps it took a bad break up or a break-down of sorts for you to realize how negatively you are affected by being such a worrier. You decide that it is time to change. You are not going to worry so much.
Realizing you need to change is only the first step. Let's take a look at the scientific evidence that make the following steps toward actual change so difficult. If worrying is not your personal struggle, perhaps you have been struggling with guilt, always finding a reason to take the blame. Maybe it's depression or anger or anxiety. Whatever your kryptonite may be, follow along to find out why it Is so difficult to train yourself into healthier thinking and feeling patterns. Once you have this elevated understanding of the way your mind and body work to create your personal reality, then you will have a much clearer lens in which to see a path to change. In the end of this article I provide some simple methods and practices to do accomplish this.
As mentioned previously, you do a lot of thinking. Each one of your millions of thoughts is not just simple thought-cloud ether which floats away into non-existence upon genesis. No, your thoughts are things. Literally. Your every thought has a unique protein signature attached to it. And each thought is separate from the next. There are no two thoughts which possess the same signature of proteins, proteins called Neuropeptides. These neuropeptides are created primarily in the hypothalamus of the brain and are given specific instructions before entering the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, these chemicals deliver this message to the cells of your body which then can carry out the message to feel in a way to match the specific thought. The area of the body in which these messages will have the greatest effect are the ones that have the most potential to make the body feel in a way that will match the message. The glands. By carrying out thinking message from the brain, to the feeling receptors of the body's glands, it stimulates hormone secretion. Hormone secretion means big change, and big feeling, fast.
Here is an example of this process in action.
You are stuck behind a terribly slow driver and late for work.
You hastily drum up some frustrated, angry, negative thoughts; the hypothalamus whoops up some frustrated, angry and negative neuropeptides to swarm the bloodstream, and within a split second your body is mirroring an angry frustrated mind. This happens because of the effect your neuropeptides possess in influencing your persuasive, hormone-producing glands. So, now you are pissed off, frustrated, and your body is showing it. It is showing it by way of the scrunched brow, elevated shoulders, tight grip on the steering wheel and possible middle finger that just got shoved in the direction of the driver who has so selfishly made you late for work.
The troubling part of this whole scenario (besides being late for work) is that you just made a promise to yourself that you were going to be less of an angry person. After the long-overdue realization that you are just pissed-off all the time, you've made it a goal to find the calm serenity in every circumstance.
And then this driver pulled in front of you and just like that you're back to square one…
Now, here's the tricky part of the habit change.
All of those uniquely crafted "anger" neuropeptide messengers, that you've been sending out into the bloodstream for so long have got you pretty efficient at it. Your brain is constantly in the process of creating more of your body cell's most desired fuel source; anger (Well, the chemical protein that is associated with anger). And your body has adapted on the cellular level to be able to use this ever-prevalent chemical. Now, anything that is going to affect the way the body-mind work must first start by effecting it at a cellular level. But, to make it into the cell, a chemical must first get past the cell wall; imagine the cell wall as the gate into the promised land. The gate only possesses a specific set of keyholes. Because the body has become so accustomed to its "anger" shaped key for so long, it has been upregulating the key holes to fit only that style of key!
Yes, your body is being fed by anger.
So, don't be too hard on yourself if your goal to become less of an angry person only lasted for an hour or two. There is a lot more going on than just your ability to maintain a bit of will power over your emotions.
In fact, had that driver not pulled in front of you; you can bet your ass that someone would have been parked in your parking spot when you got to work. And if not then surely your boss would have asked you to come in over the weekend. And perhaps the first event would not have pissed you off enough to break your new "happy" promise to yourself but by the time you took lunch you would be steaming once again. This is not because the world is out to get you; it is because the body actually physically needs those chemicals in order to continue with cellular activity. So, while your conscious mind is thinking "be happy" "stay positive" your subconscious has a backlog of extra "anger" neuropeptides that it needs to feed the body with. And since the body has been starved for the past couple hours as you've been dealing with your little "happy epiphany" something has got to give. This is why so many unhappy people also carry such a short fuse; the shorter their patience is, the quicker their cells will receive the next little "hit" of anger.
This of course does not just apply to an angry soul who is seeking happiness, but to the depressed soul who is seeking motivation, to the overweight individual who desires healthy eating habits, to the crack addict who desires only to get clean. Yes, they are all one in the same. And they all run on the same physiological cycle.
So, lets sum this all up for you and then get you some real help…
You think, generally the same thoughts.
You don't even realize you are thinking the same thoughts because they never really stop.
These thoughts deliberately affect the way you feel by providing specific proteins to the glands of your body.
Your glands then release hormones to match the thoughts you are having.
These feelings provide further evidence that you should in fact think in the way you are thinking because you are also feeling this way.
This is you. Every day. Every moment, all day long.
You have a "come to Jesus" moment and decide you want to change this thinking-feeling cycle.
You really give this new way of thinking and feeling a solid effort by replacing your thoughts with more productive thoughts and feel confident that this will be the first day of the brand new elevated version of You.
But, before long, your old habits take over. Some kind of switch or internal chatter got the best of your thought pattern and you caved.
Now the gates are back open and accepting business and because you have not been thinking in your "norm" for these past few hours, minutes, seconds, your brain has a back stock of "normal" proteins that need to be sent out.
The body is withered and tired from not receiving its normal dosage of proteins in their acceptable format.
You are back to being the old You once again.
So what can we do? Is there any way that we can shed our old skin and form new healthier habits?
Yes. There are ways. But just like anything worth having, this too will take time and persistence. Some of the healthy practices you can start with are detailed here (Behind the Scenes Routine) and here (Be Fearless and Play) . But if I can offer just one piece of advice, in order for you to start thinking and feeling in a more conducive way, you must cultivate a loving relationship with the quiet space that exists within.
I know, perhaps this is not the hippy dippy kind of answer you were hoping to hear after reading through such a science-based article. But hear me out.
By crafting a regular meditation routine into your life you are opening the door into the fortress of habits; the subconscious. When we quiet the mind through different forms of meditation, some of which are detailed here, (Meditate while you do the dishes) we allow for new paths to be paved that lead to a brighter future. Yes, once we have arrived in this space of vast potential we can begin to build whatever kind of habit we wish for. And if I may continue to be so bold as to recommend one thought to start with; then let me suggest you plant a seed of Gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the highest vibrating frequencies. In fact, the only frequencies that compete with it are love and enlightenment. These latter two are a bit more difficult for most to call on at any given moment. But gratitude, why not? Why not find appreciation for anything and everything that is present in your life, in your community in the world? Can we not choose to be grateful that the driver in front of us is staying safe while driving so close to us? Can we not decide that perhaps our parking spot was borrowed by the new customer who is hoping to do business with us? And might the boss just be testing us a bit because he is grooming us for upper management?
Your reality is real to only you. We all hold a paintbrush to an empty canvas every day. We can choose to paint the same old story with the outdated colors we have used for all our lives, or we can make the effort to track down some new paint and unfold a masterpiece.
Keep in mind, whether a masterpiece or a piece of junk; this is your life that You have to live with. Dare to be an artist! Dare to be great! Dare to be elevated. Reach out here for more customized assistance.