Brain Rewiring for a Healthy Lifestyle

The NYC metropolitan museum of art has an exhibit on how movies affect our reality. I have not seen it yet, but can only imagine that it has to do with how our realities are altered to our advantage or disadvantage based on what we see and in turn how we interpret it into our own lives.

Lately it seems that many people have chosen to read and or watch the news in very small doses. You’ve heard the thinking about how lots of negative news etc. can have an adverse affect on how we go about our days. That is to say that many believe that too much negative awareness causes negative emotions. And conversely that positive awareness creates positive emotions. I personally have always disregarded this type of thinking and instead opted for a more obstinate attitude that no one can alter my emotions except myself. I think that some people like to believe that it is true of themselves too.

As of late however, in the past two years, I’ve come to change my position on this positive psychology stuff. And, I might add that it comes at a good time because even though scientists have known for many decades that emotions are affected by our environments, it is now “in” to pay attention to how we can alter a healthier state of mind through positive thinking, and brain rewiring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to the pollyanna type of personality whereby one can get run over by a truck and instantly see the positive points of being flattened by tons of metal. I’m referring mainly to what the scientists are now saying about how we can rewire our brain circuits to alter a multitude of habits that we would like to change. As of lately with books like The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D. and Perception, Memory and Emotion:Frontiers in Neuroscience by T. Ono, Ed., health professionals including myself are taking this brain circuit thing much more seriously. In my case, I’ve used it not only on myself successfully, but on people that I coach in creating more healthful habits. In fact, I feel so strongly about the use of it that it has formed the basis of my coaching. I no longer shun the idea of positive psychology as a gimmicky self help approach but instead believe that the strength of positive thinking because of it’s scientific proven credibility is an approach that is going to gain momentum in the world of healthy living and healthy aging.

If you are not familiar with the idea of brain rewiring, and would like to know more on how you can use it to alter habits in your own life then contact me at 904 501 6002 for a complimentary consultation.

One additional word on this topic, the very nature of rewiring our brain circuits is not a quick fix kind of plan. I like that it is a more sophisticated, long lasting, and intelligent way of changing ourselves, our habits, and our brain structures. I believe that in the next five years, the idea of rewiring our neuropathways to better our lives is going to stand apart from all of the quick fix diet, lifestyle, and exercise gurus that we have been inundated with in the last tenty five years. USA Today said that this year, 2008, is the year of living smart. Can you consider that living smart may include this more sophisticated brain altering life long approach to healthy living and healthy aging?

Aging Well-Living Long-Living Well

There are groups of people throughout the United States and the world that organize and meet with the sole intent of supporting each other to live to be 100 years and older.

Humans, according to Robert N. Butler, M.D. founding director of the National Institute on Aging, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Why Survive? Being Old In America, have about 110-120 years at the outside of their genetic life span. This information is encouraging.

The question that appears for most of us, however, is not so much how do we live longer, but how do we live healthier?

“The two it seems”, writes Lenny Guarente, PH.D. and Novartis Professor of biology at M.I.T and author of Ageless Quest: One Scientist’s Search for Genes That Prolong Youth, “should go hand in hand. And they often do because we can tip the odds in our favor by our lifestyles and by avoiding things that we know are bad, like smoking, like transfat, like excess body fat, like high blood pressure.”

Most people would agree that if we can extend health span the extending lifespan is just an extra bonus.

Many of us do not have a vision of the life we could live happily, productively, and disease free, as we get older. Part of the reason for this is that we are not exposed to seeing those people that live happily, productively, and relatively disease free well into their 90’s and 100’s.

There are other reasons why we do not have a vision for living well into our later years. Three of the most significant reasons are:

1. We believe that healthier lifestyles and specific lifestyle habits are too difficult to change so we abandon the idea of living as a centurian.

2. We are unsure if it is too late to make lifestyle changes due to age and health circumstances.

3. We are unsure whether the payoff of healthy living will increase our life’s quality and longevity to the degree that we would like.

These are legitimate concerns. Lifestyle changes take time. Lifestyle changes take effort. And lifestyle changes are difficult to implement on our own.

If you have simply thought about changing your lifestyle for a better life quality, then you have a vision. It may not be a fully developed vision, but it is a vision. And a vision is a start. Keep it! Develop it! Don’t let it fade away. I can assure you that if you’ve implemented the lifestyle habits that you know are necessary for a more healthy, vigorous and vital you, then you will not be disappointed.