Start your review of Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind Write a review Shelves: brain-stimulants , personal-favorites , reading-challenge If you have any interest in neuroscience and neuroplasticity this is a book for you. Especially if you are curious about the subject but are not sure where to start. Dispenza breaks down the whole system and its processes in an engaging but simultaneously extremely educational way. This book is followed by Breaking The Habit of If you have any interest in neuroscience and neuroplasticity this is a book for you.
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Joe Dispenza What inspired and motivated you to write this book? An experience I had 20 years ago inspired me to investigate the power of the brain to alter our life.
As I describe in the book, much of my spine was crushed in a bike accident, and four surgeons said my only option to avoid paralysis was a type of surgery that would have left me with a permanent disability and possibly, lifelong pain.
I had to make the toughest decision of my life, but I turned down the surgery and turned instead to the innate intelligence that constantly gives life to everyone one of us. Ten weeks later, without surgery, I was back at work, completely healed and pain-free. I give credit in the book to many factors that contributed to my healing.
Because of that experience, I promised myself to spend a major portion of my life studying the phenomenon of mind over matter and spontaneous healing, meaning how the body repairs itself or rids itself of disease without traditional medical interventions such as surgery or drugs. Until just a few decades ago, science had led us to believe that we were doomed by genetics, hobbled by conditioning, and should resign ourselves to the proverbial thinking about old dogs not being able to learn new tricks.
The science of changing our mind is now available, and I wrote Evolve Your Brain to help make this science accessible to everyone. Is Evolve Your Brain a self-help book? How is it different from other books that concern human potential? Helping us understand and accept that we truly can modify our brain and change our life is a major focus of this book. Yet as the book makes clear, knowledge must be experienced before it can become wisdom. Evolve Your Brain is designed to serve as a practical tool to guide us as we experience the processes that we can use to change our mind and evolve our brain.
Unlike self-help or human potential books that focus on the mind, the emotions, or the body but place little attention on the brain, this book embraces the structure and function of the crown of our evolution. Many of us learned in school that once we become adults, the brain is static and rigid. How much potential do we have to change our brain?
We thought that we would inevitably turn out like our parents in many ways, because we could only use the same neural patterns that we genetically inherited from them. Neuroscientists now say that was a mistake. The great news is, each of us is a work in progress, throughout our life.
Every time we have a thought, different areas of our brain surge with electrical current and release a mob of neurochemicals that are too numerous to name. Thanks to functional brain scanning technology, we can now see that our every thought and experience causes our brain cells, or neurons, to connect and disconnect in ever-changing patterns and sequences.
In fact, we have a natural ability called neuroplasticity, which means that is we learn new knowledge and have new experiences; we can develop new networks or circuits of neurons, and literally change our mind.
So, why is it hard for us to change? When people want to commit to a goal, they start out with good intentions and ideas, but quite often they go back to their unwanted habits. That, however, is easier said than done. Many of us tend to think the same thoughts, have the same feelings, and follow the same routines in our life.
The rub is, this causes us to keep using the same patterns and combinations of neural circuits in our brain, and they tend to become hardwired.
This is how we create habits of thinking, feeling, and doing. But if we want to change something in our life, we have to cause the brain to no longer fire in the same old sequences and combinations. We have to create a new level of mind by disconnecting the old neural circuits and rewiring our brain in new patterns of nerve cell connections.
What does stress do to the body? Can Evolve Your Brain help people to overcome stress? It is not short episodes of acute stress, but chronic, long-term stress that most weakens the body. Most of us rarely face the immediate threats to physical survival that our ancestors had to deal with, so we may fail to realize the impact on us of years spent worrying about job security, credit card debt, whether our kids will experiment with drugs, and so on.
Why is this such a problem? The chemicals that continually flood our body when we are under long-term stress are the culprits that begin to alter our internal state and pull the trigger of cellular breakdown. The body can even become addicted to the chemical state of being under stress. In other words, we can turn on the stress response by our thoughts alone, and they can have the same measurable effects as any threatening stressor in our environment.
In Evolve Your Brain, we will learn how to overcome the thoughts that initiate stress responses. Can evolving the brain help people to overcome emotional addictions? Aside from dealing with physical ailments, this book is also intended to address another kind of affliction — emotional addiction, which always accompanies high stress levels in our life.
Among its symptoms are lethargy, a lack of ability to focus, a tremendous desire to maintain routine in our daily life, the inability to complete cycles of action, a lack of new experiences and emotional responses, and the persistent feeling that one day is the same as the next and the next.
What was once a scientific theory now has practical applications for us to heal our own self-inflicted emotional wounds? Be assured, this book is grounded in cutting-edge science. How is it possible to end this cycle of negativity? The answer, of course, lies in you — and in this case, in a very specific part of you.
Through an understanding of the various subjects we will explore in the book and a willingness to apply some specific principles, you can heal yourself emotionally by altering the neural networks in your brain. What is the relationship between thoughts and the physical body? An emerging scientific field call psychoneuroimmunology is demonstrating the connection between the mind and the body, and is beginning to help us understand the link between how we think and how we feel.
We now know that our every thought produces a biochemical reaction in the brain. The brain then releases chemical signals that are transmitted to the body, where they act as messengers of the thought.
In this way, the thoughts that produce these chemicals in the brain allow our body to feel exactly the way we were just thinking. Essentially, when we have happy, inspiring, or positive thoughts, our brain manufactures chemicals that make us feel joyful, inspired, or uplifted.
For example, when we look forward to a pleasurable experience, the brain immediately makes a chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine, which turns the brain and body on in anticipation of that experience, and we feel excited. If we have thoughts of hate, anger, or insecurity, the brain produces chemicals that the body responds to in a comparable way and we feel hateful, angry, or unworthy.
Another chemical that our brain makes, called ACTH, signals the body to produce chemical secretions from the adrenal glands that make us feel threatened or aggressive. When the body responds to a thought by having a feeling; the brain, which constantly monitors the status of the body, notices that the body is feeling a certain way.
In response to that bodily feeling, the brain generates thoughts that produce corresponding chemical messengers, so that we begin to think the way we are feeling. Thinking creates feeling, and the feeling creates thinking, in a continuous biological feedback loop. This cycle eventually creates a particular state in the body — what we call a state of being — that determines the general nature of how we feel and behave.
For example, say a person lives much of her life in a repeating cycle of thoughts and feelings related to unworthiness. The moment she thinks about not being good enough, smart enough, or enough of anything, her brain releases chemicals that produce a bodily feeling of unworthiness. Now she is feeling the way she was just thinking. Her brain notices that, and she begins to have thoughts of insecurity that match the way she was just feeling. Her body is now causing her to think.
This starts to explain how the mind can physically modify the body. In the book I talk about a man I called Tom, who developed one digestive ailment after another. This finally led him to examine his life, and he realized he had been suppressing feelings of anger and desperation over being in a job that made him miserable.
His healing finally began when he paid attention to his habitual thoughts and realized that his unconscious attitudes were the basis for the person he had become. What then, is the mind, and how is it related to the brain? Now that we have the technology to observe a living brain, we know from functional brain scans that the mind is the brain in action.
This is the latest definition of mind, according to neuroscience. When a brain is alive and active, it can process thought, learn new information, invent new ideas, master skills, recall memories, express feelings, refine movements, and maintain the orderly functioning of the body. The animated brain can also facilitate behavior, dream, perceive reality, and most important, embrace life.
In order for the mind to exist, then the brain must be alive. The brain is therefore not the mind; it is the physical apparatus through which the mind is produced. The brain facilitates mind. We can think of the brain as an intricate data processing system that enables us to gather, process, store, recall, and communicate information within seconds, if need be, as well as to forecast, hypothesize, respond, behave, plan, and reason.
The brain is also the control center through which the mind coordinates all of the metabolic functions necessary for life and survival. The brain has three individual anatomical structures with which it produces different aspects of mind. We also have a conscious mind and a subconscious mind, and both are the result of a brain that is coordinating thought impulses through its various regions and substructures. Therefore, there are many diverse states of mind, because we can easily make the brain work in different ways.
What is neuroplasticity? Every time we learn something new or have a novel experience, the brain makes new synaptic connections to form new neural patterns of networks — and this happens at any age. When we utilize new circuits in new ways, we rewire the brain to fire in new sequences. From a neurological level, then, we are changed moment to moment by the thoughts we think, the information we learn, the events we experience, the reactions we have, the feelings we create, the memories we process, and even the dreams we embrace.
All of these alter the way the brain works, producing new states of mind that are recorded in our brain. Neuroplasticity is an innate, universal genetic feature in humans.
It affords us the privilege to learn from experiences in our environment, so that we may change our actions and modify our behavior, our thought processes, and our personality to produce outcomes that are more desirable. Merely to learn intellectual information is not enough; we must apply wheat we learn to create a different experience.
If we could not synaptically rewire our brain, we could not change in response to our experiences. Without the ability to change, we could not evolve, and we would be at the mercy of our genetic predispositions. How neuro-plastic our brain is depends on our ability to change our perception of the world around us, to change our mind, to change our self.
What is mental rehearsal and how can we use it to change? Mental rehearsal allows us to change our brain — to create a new level of mind — without doing anything physical other than thinking. Through mental rehearsal, we can employ the advanced faculties of our frontal lobe to make significant changes in our life.
Several studies have shown that the brain does not know the difference between what it is thinking internally and what it is experiencing in its external environment. In one experiment, two groups of non-pianists were asked to learn one-handed piano exercises and to practice two hours a day for five days — with one important difference.
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Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind