How Can I Change My Brain? Learn Self-Care for Your Dendrites
It’s normal to experience frustration by the actions of others. But to try to change them is a waste of time and energy. Let’s say this upfront. No matter how hard you try, you can’t change anyone.
The good news is you can change your brain by altering how you think. That means it’s possible to shut the door on negative thoughts so you won’t be triggered by others.
Your brain is incredible. It has more than 80 billion neurons. Each morning you waken with new neuronal cells, offering incredible possibilities to create fresh neuronal pathways with axons, neurons and healthy dendrites.
Did you know dendrites hold memories and are impacted by the type of thoughts you choose to think? Dendrites are amazing!
They form on the end of neurons and look like little trees. My fascination with them began with scientist, Marian Diamond, who called dendrites “magic trees”.
Let me give an example of how this works. I have a lovely little tree, but it experienced trauma; adverse weather caused it to die. It’s still a tree, but it’s a tree of death.
With adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), domestic violence, and unresolved trauma – often from the womb – dendrites become spindly and barren, with thorns on their branches.
What difference does that make?
Your dendrites impact your whole life from your moods to your genetic code. Thoughts – both conscious and unconscious – shape the magic trees in your brain.
Thoughts, positive or negative, are made of protein and occupy physical space. As you think, it causes an electrical wave to grow dendrites and also to send waves of energy through existing dendrites, moving their branches.
Negative Thoughts Create Toxic Dendrites
Negative thoughts create a wave of energy that causes thorns or spines on toxic dendrites to release chemicals and hormones, dumping excessive amounts of adrenaline, cortisol and other chemicals into your bloodstream.
Your thought life is important.
Ruminating produces forests of scraggly magic trees of death. The more you ruminate, the more thorns form on the dendritic branches.
And the more waves of energy flow, shaking the branches and causing them to release toxins that harm your brain and change your DNA.
Positive Thoughts Create Healthy Dendrites
On the other hand, positive thoughts create healthy dendrites. As the waves of energy created by positive thoughts pass through the dendritic branches, they release a dose of health to your body and mind.
That “DOSE” includes dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins – sending life to your body and health to your brain and your DNA.
What does this have to do with trauma or ACE’s? Your thoughts began in the past. Negative, hurtful words set you up for failure. Where you experienced abuse and trauma without resolution, to survive, you escaped into your thought life.
But thoughts cannot protect you.
There is One who can. The LORD of light shares your pain, brings life in the place of death, and as you allow Him, He transforms your mind.
According to neuroscientist Caroline Leaf, it takes 63 days to change your brain. Choose a positive action like singing to the Lord or giving thanks.
If you give thanks and sing for 21 days, toxic dendritic branches begin to melt and disappear.
If you persist in singing and giving thanks another 21 days, those magic trees lose power and begin to disappear.
As you sing to the Lord, your brain grows healthy dendrites, full of life and hope. It establishes fresh neuronal pathways for the Lord to walk up and down. As you persevere another 21 days in giving thanks, a highway of holiness is building in your brain; a path of righteousness for your thoughts to travel with Jesus.
You Will Face Opposition
Negative people and events (like COVID-19) act as triggers and cause the brain to react as if in extreme danger. Moving in fight, flight, freeze, or fawn survival modes creates fearful or angry thoughts that send toxic energy waves through your brain.
Please note. You are not powerless. You have freedom to choose if you react or if you choose life.
It takes time to change your brain! Give yourself permission to fail.
The enemy of your soul will oppose you being set free. He speaks to your brain in the first person, using your voice, telling you what feels true.
Like: “I am worthless, can’t I do anything right? I’m stupid. Nobody can love me.”
These are lies! The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Peace evaporates. Anxiety increases. You begin to feel less, overwhelmed by feelings of rejection and loneliness. The demonic doesn’t encourage you in the Lord.
So don’t give up!
Take negative thoughts captive. Paul encourages us, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Co 2:16).
If you became a child of God by faith in Christ Jesus, then put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 3:26-27).
Invite Jesus to be Lord of your thoughts. Let Him protect you. Learn to reject negative thoughts. Bind them down in Jesus name.
When you are afraid, Pause. Breathe. Ask, “Lord, please help me. What is the truth?” Then listen to your heart, not your head!
Respond by speaking truth: “Oh! I’m not bad, am I? You chose me, Lord. You don’t disrespect me. You don’t see my identity as Failure. You chose me; I’m beloved; hidden with Christ in God. I am a child of the Most High God. I am an overcomer. I am not a victim. I choose not to walk in victimization or in the victim mindset.”
Give thanks! The enemy hates when you give thanks. He hates when you sing beautiful words of life. As you persist, he will flee from you.
Begin and end your day by giving thanks and singing. Gratitude and song helps protect your mind from the lies of the enemy.
Change your brain, one dendrite at a time. Sing and celebrate the truth. The past doesn’t define you. Today doesn’t confine you. In Jesus, you were created to be a mighty warrior.
It takes time to change your brain! Your enemy will oppose you being set free. So don’t give up!