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Or maybe watched a movie or read a book and felt so engrossed with it that when it was over, you had trouble re-orienting your self in your regular surroundings?
And respond by growing and making new connections – which in turn makes it easier to coach our brains on the truth of the matter the next time we are faced with that same difficult thought or situation. It takes time, naturally, just like everything. But ultimately, the brain establishes a noted habit; the line around what we have imagined and what is real begins to make sure you dissolve.
And the chemistry of the brain is a major habit-former. This keeps and strengthens all the connections that we use the many and extinguishes the connections we don’t use. As Ackerman puts it. Behave in a certain way often plenty of – whether it’s using chopsticks, bickering, being afraid of heights, or avoiding
closeness – and the brain will become really good at it.
While this may sound strange, it can also be a huge support. For example, this sleight in mind is why visualization may also help athletes hone future performances and why it is reckoned that people who concentrate daily on regaining health when major surgeries on average actually do experience faster and more finished recoveries.
We all assume how difficult it can be to break a bad habit. Nevertheless one thing we also find out is that the brain comes with a amazing capacity to change and even heal: “When shocked, refreshed, or just learning something, neurons grow new branches, increasing their reach and have an impact on, ” writes Ackerman.
The brain doesn’t always know any difference between real and make-believe, at least on an electrical level. In her attractive book An Alchemy in Mind, author Diane Ackerman writes about an experiment she participated in. fMRI imaging showed that whether she looked at pictures of numerous objects or simply thought about some of those objects, the same parts of the girl’s brain were activated. To your brain, the line between reality and imagination is quite thin.
Much like our habitual actions, some of our habitual thoughts occur at the level of the synapses and are just as subject to the “Use it or lose it” principle. When we make a point of dwelling on confident thoughts rather than ingrained poor ones, we are teaching your brains something new.
What would happen if, say, we simply picked one area monthly, and every time we had an automatic negative thought in that vicinity – “I’m ugly” or “I’m a failure” or “I am unlovable” – we stopped, picked out the positive truth, and just paid five minutes dwelling now there? What would be possible? Imagine.
Just the thing for knowing how to protect oneself, balance a bike, or disk drive a car. Not great in the case of defense mechanisms still in use very long after the threat that established them has vanished.
And, Ackerman explains, it is why we are consequently profoundly moved by popular music and art and reading, why we are scared silly when we watch horror movies: the brain processes all that information as if we were literally there, so even if with some cognitive level we know it’s not real, we’re nonetheless at least partially transported to those moments, situations, areas and emotions.