Your brain processes about 70,000 thoughts each and every day. Psychology Today reports that 70% of the estimated 70,000 thoughts people have each day are negative.
Your body physically reacts to your thoughts every minute of the day. Just a thought can trigger the release of neurotransmitters in your brain, sending chemical messengers to communicate with the rest of the brain and the nervous system. It’s neurotransmitters than control all the body’s functions, from moods to digestion and hormones.
Studies have indicated that thoughts can improve strength, fitness, and vision, similar to the placebo effect.
Hope has been shown to change the chemistry and circuitry of the brain, resulting in very real outcomes, such as reduced anxiety, less fatigue, increased hormone levels, and a bolstered immune system.
Thoughts Sculpt The Brain.
Each thought that you think results in neurochemical changes, some of which may be temporary, while others are lasting. For example, when people practice gratitude consciously they experience a rush of dopamine, leaving them with a higher mood.
Studies have shown that by showing couples in love pictures of each other results in the activation of the caudate nucleus, which causes them to literally swoon over their sweetheart. Take the picture away, though, and their reward center returns to normal.
What surges through your mind will shape your brain in permanent ways. Your mind is responsible for funneling information through the nervous system, which happens beneath your conscious awareness. A through travels to your brain, with neurons firing, and those thought patterns change the structure of your neurons. Busy areas of the brain make new connections between neurons, while existing synapses grow stronger, and build new receptors.
One excellent example is London taxi drivers. A study (Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers; Eleanor A. Maguire, et al) from University College London shows that the longer they drive the larger the hippocampus. Their brains expand to accommodate the demands of their job. Additionally, meditation can do the same.
Thoughts Program Cells.
Within your body there are thousands of receptors for each cell, and each one is specific to one protein. When we experience feelings of nervousness, anger, happiness, sadness, excitement, or guilt, then each emotion releases its own specific neuropeptides.
They surge through the body, connecting with receptors, changing each cells structure. This can result in cells dividing, when a cell is exposed to certain peptides more frequently. The new cell will have more receptors matching that particular peptide.
Thus, if your cells have been bombarded by the peptides of negative thoughts, you’re programming those cells to receive more of the same down the line. Perhaps more importantly, you’re reducing positive peptides, which makes you more inclined to negativity. However, there is good news for the pessimists out there! Your cells are replaced every two months, so you can make a change and reprogram yourself to be more positive.
Additionally, thoughts activate genes. We are the products of our experiences, and genes are switched off and on, dependent on those. Life won’t alter the genes that you were born with, what it does change is genetic activity.
According to the Institute of Medicine, only 5% of gene mutations are related to health issues, which leaves 95% to be influenced by you.
Use The Power Of Thought For Good
There’s a valuable lesson here, because you have far more power to influence your mental and physical realities. Your body recognizes your mindset, down to its genetic level. By improving your thoughts and mental habits, you can create a beneficial response for your body.
You may not be able to control what has happened to you in the past, which is what has shaped your brain for today. However, you aren’t stuck with it, because the power of the moment is yours.
You don’t have to be a negative nelly!
You can make changes to think more positively and practice gratitude to shape your brain for tomorrow.
Mindfulness and meditation are a great way to get in touch with the system of your mind and body, providing you with direct access to your thoughts, genetic activity, and cell function.
It’s also a great idea to hang out with positive people, and let their optimism teach you how to think!