Changing Our Brain Through Emotions
Emotions are the full range of human feelings from joy and love to hate and sorrow. Something that is considered emotional relates to anything that is affected by the emotions. Extensive scientific research has shown the critical role of emotions in every aspect of health. This is also true in regard to a person’s relationship with food. Emotions are the core drivers of all our decisions and actions and can be so strong that they can be more powerful in changing the brain than thoughts can.
Just as different thoughts and actions can change our brain activity, so too can emotions. Different emotions cause the release of different brain chemicals that affect our biology and our behaviour. For example, when feeling scared or stressed the body releases hormones that create a “fight or flight” response to that stimulus. Alternatively, when doing something enjoyable the body responds to this by releasing the “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins and noradrenaline. All of these chemical hormones have widespread effects on various systems of the body and influence behaviour.
Learning to listen to our emotions and allowing them to guide us is a key component in learning how to live a true and authentic life. Understanding our emotions and how to deal with them is critical. Too often people let their emotions rule their behaviour and too often this results in undesirable, or regrettable, outcomes. If we want to use our emotions to serve us rather than rule us, we need to understand them and more importantly learn how to deal with them in positive and appropriate ways.
Put simply: We experience a feeling. The feeling produces corresponding chemicals in our brain and neural pathways. These send messages to influence our behaviour and bodily functions. It is the feelings that motivate us more than anything else. Therefore the key to achieving your goals and maintaining long term success is learning to focus on how you WANT to feel.
Choose to focus your attention on how you want to feel. Focus does not require force, just choose where you want to put your attention. Choose to spend time with people or things that make you feel great. Choose to think about, talk about or read about things that make you feel great. Write down all the positive words that come to mind when you are feeling great and continue your journey focusing on that.