The Mind-Body Connection
When I began my journey with multiple sclerosis and found myself in a downward spiral of extremely poor health, I realized that I needed a radical shift in how I approached illness. Along with medicinal mushrooms and other natural remedies, one of the most important aspects of healing involved adopting a positive mindset.
For many, this is easier said than done. Why? Because we are wired to focus on the negative to keep us safe from harm back in the days when we were exposed to threats in the wild. But this adaptive trait does not serve us well in our modern age where true danger to our physical safety tends to be rare. So how do we break out of negative thinking to improve our health and wellbeing? Research in the field of neuroscience may hold the answer.
Have you heard of the phrase “neurons that fire together, wire together”? It was coined by neuroscientist Donald Hebb who observed that the brain isn’t fixed, it is actually pliable to the point where we can rewire our brain — and our habits. It is also the basis for a practice called “Notice-Shift-Rewire”. With this powerful technique, we train our brain to shift from negative thinking to more productive mental states. When we are confronted with a challenging situation, instead of ruminating we focus on the positive such as remembering our past successes, celebrating our spirit and strength, and viewing life as a sequence of opportunities. And the best part? It is easy to do and has the power to shift negative thinking in 30 seconds or less! Here are the key points to keep in mind:
Acknowledge your negativity
To begin, you want to observe any instances when your habitual thoughts veer towards the negative. This can include thoughts of self-doubt, worry, anxiety, fear, and critical judgment. You want recognize when your mind begins to imagine worst-case scenarios.
Shift to gratitude
When we notice our negative thoughts, it creates an opportunity for new neural pathways to be formed. By shifting to a more productive focus of attention, we are able to steer these pathways into a positive direction. And the best way to do this is to observe a few seconds of gratitude. Simply think of one thing you are grateful for at that moment. It could be anything. A beautiful aspect of nature. Your family. Good friendships.
Now we come to hardwiring this positive mindset into the brain. Neuroscientist Rick Hanson calls this “savoring”. It is where you stay with these productive thoughts for 15 seconds. It may seem simple, but it’s exceedingly powerful. It flips your habit of overlooking all the good in life into building stronger, more productive memories.
I personally appreciate that this practice is quick, powerful, and portable. It can be done anywhere at any time and it will shift your mindset in less than 30 seconds. Need further inspiration? See this post for additional methods for transforming stress and anxiety into serenity.
In addition to this practice, we all have seasons in life when we need a little extra help. This is where herbal medicines can really shine. My Anxiety & Stress Tincture helps the body adapt to stress, calms the nervous system, and helps relieve anxiety, depression, and stress-related insomnia. It also improves cognitive function and lowers inflammation for optimal brain health.
Many times poor quality sleep also lowers our defenses, which in turn can encourage increased negative thinking. Our Sleep Blend helps you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It boosts production of GABA, an important calming brain chemical that promotes sleep. This formulation also contains magnesium glycinate, an absorbable form of magnesium that improves sleep quality by promoting natural, healthy sleep patterns, including healthy REM cycles.
Interested in learning more about the health-promoting benefits of these potent medicinal herbs? Visit the apothecary today!