By reading this blog post, you are already using your neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is always happening within the human brain. Each experience, whether it is an action, emotion, or thought, creates a change in your brain. Your brain’s neuronal communication and neurotransmitter surges are constantly changing processes. They respond according to external life events, but the good news is that they also respond to your own conscious self-statements. Just as you can become stuck in unhealthy thought, behavioral, and emotional patterns, you can become unstuck through consciously rewiring your brain’s messages. Thanks to your neuroplasticity, you can gradually feel free from long-term negative brain wiring and can utilize your new rewiring. In this post we will explore EMDR therapy, applying neuroplasticity to combat traumatic experiences, and rewiring your brain to overcome symptoms such as anxiety, and improving your stress tolerance.
Neuroplasticity is considered to be the greatest medical breakthrough in the last few hundred years. Neuroplasticity occurs simply by exercising your brain’s ability to change perceptions about past and present experiences through repetitive self-statements and behaviors. The idea that your brain can constantly change its structure and function through mental experiences is providing much hope and research-based evidence about humans’ abilities to overcome traumatic experiences, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Current research studies are increasingly providing evidence which supports the brain’s plasticity and its ability to change neuronal pathways and to improve biochemical functioning.
Your Brain and Neuroplasticity
The human brain has a dual processing system of thinking, reasoning, decision-making, and perceiving. These dual processes are (1) unconscious fears, memories, and situational triggers and (2) more highly-evolved, conscious, deliberate, and proactive thoughts. Neuroplasticity can work against you, in that you may have developed many repetitive anxiety-provoking or depressive scripts. However, neuroplasticity can work for you when you actively choose to practice repetition of new scripts about your life experiences, past and present, and can rewire your brain functioning for the remainder of your life.
Understanding neuroplasticity can also allow you to “outsmart” your anxiety by doing targeted neuroplastic interventions. Neuroplastic interventions emphasize how certain coping mechanisms can create significant changes in your brain. Any emotional trigger can easily transport you back in time to a painful experience, but only if you allow it to do so. Long after childhood trauma, lowered stress tolerance, relationship problems, physical illness, loss, or other life stressors, the repercussions of these experiences can still be found in the wiring of your brain. Your brain CAN stop the connections to your old wiring as you replace these neuronal systems with new wiring. Societal and cultural expectations are often focused on some “end goal” in human functioning, such as being a permanent “victim of circumstances” or being “cured.” What is not commonly understood is that you can choose to rewire your brain’s perceptions and to embrace this as an ongoing process.
Benefits of Exercising Neuroplasticity
There are 4 significant positive effects of learning to utilize your brain’s plasticity. The first effect is being able to change your current perceptions of past traumatic experiences. The second effect is that you can revise your communication skills and daily thought patterns within your important familial, work, and romantic relationships. The third effect is that you can transition away from your self-destructive responses to emotional triggers rooted in your past. The fourth effect is that you can create more effective ways to verbalize your thoughts and emotions and to live as your true higher self. Your brain is fully capable of rewiring at literally any moment in your life. You just need to get “on board” with your brain’s immense potential for change.
Techniques for Increasing Neuroplasticity: EMDR Therapy
You can start slowly on your brain’s plasticity process by doing easy challenges, such as trying out new communication techniques, which push you outside of your programmed fears and insecurities. Remember that leaning into your discomfort WILL gradually build your confidence and resiliency in all life situations. You CAN learn to decrease your negative self-talk. You CAN learn to increase your stress tolerance behaviors. You CAN learn to develop and to use a daily self-care and physical exercise plan, because both of these skills play a huge role in your brain’s plasticity process.
If you are interested in a specific neuroplasticity technique, check out information about EMDR, which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This technique is effective for moving beyond traumatic experiences and loss through the use of repeated eye movements aimed at channeling your painful memories and replacing them with healthier, present-focused perceptions. During an EMDR therapy session, your therapist will ask you to briefly focus on a trauma memory. EMDR is a complex form of therapy, typically applied to trauma survivors, which guides you to perform side-to-side eye movements while thinking of the traumatic memory. This technique is called bilateral stimulation, because it engages both sides of your brain. The main perspective of EMDR is that you can “reprocess” a disturbing memory to help you move beyond it. EMDR also teaches you how to use repeated sounds, tapping, and hand movements to create more effective responses to your emotional triggers. EMDR therapy aims to change the way that the traumatic experiences are stored in your brain. Once your brain properly processes these memories, you can remember the traumatic events without experiencing the intense, emotional reactions that characterize post-traumatic stress.
Remember this important mantra: “Perception is reality.” When you change your perceptions, you change your reality. Your brain is very flexible and can become less influenced by painful triggers when you consciously decrease your stress tolerance responses to these triggers. Creating your new neuronal functioning can take several weeks to several months, depending upon your length and depth of trauma and upon your commitment to this process. However, once you master these skills, your brain will be able to confront your triggers with a greater sense of control and confidence.
By New Age Psychiatry's Compassionate Therapist: Dr. Rebecca Wang-Harris
New Age Psychiatry
New Age Psychiatry offers licensed and certified psychiatric services through virtual telehealth appointments within the state of Florida. We understand the complexities that come with mental health disorders and symptoms, and we will work hard to help you manage your condition.
New Age Psychiatry is a modern mental health service in Florida that approaches addiction and other mental health issues with compassion and forward-thinking techniques. New Age Psychiatry offers certified psychiatric services through telehealth appointments in Florida. Some of the highlights of the New Age Psychiatry approach include:
- Online Screening – We will begin with certified online screening to provide an overview of psychiatric care. We also offer a personalized, specific diagnosis through our psychiatric Telehealth services.
- Diagnosis, Recovery, & Treatment – Our full range of comprehensive psychiatric telehealth services can aid in treating a multitude of psychiatric illnesses and assist in the recovery process and improving your stress tolerance.
- Telehealth Services – Our psychiatric telehealth services are available throughout the state of Florida and can assist you in psychiatric care through counseling and medication management.