How to change how you feel by changing your thoughts

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When you change, how you think you change how you feel. Change how you in this video? You're gonna learn about neuroplasticity. 


Now, imagine this scenario. You're hurrying to work. You're running a little late but you know that it's your co-workers birthday today and she loves Donuts.


 So you decide to make a quick stop at the rest of town. So for the office, if you hurry, you'll make it just in time for your first meeting with a few minutes. There's only one guy in front of you.  


You start planning out your order but ever you can't seem to make up your mind. Questions. Like what’s all that donut? Which Donuts have cream inside? Do you have any donuts with sprinkles? 


Okay, the donuts are right there in front of him and if he just looked at them and he can just look at the signs. He would know what was in them.


 As your frustration mounts you start to feel worried about the time, you're probably going to be late. What is taking him so long you think! Why can’t he just pick out some donuts?


And now he's asking if they have any strawberry doughnuts. “They are right in front of you! You silently scream inside your head. Okay, so now you’re angry. What’s the matter with these people? 


At the very least he can see that I'm waiting and step aside while he tries to decide. You start thinking. : He is so rude and he's stupid. Ah, this is so irritating.


 You start thinking. You’re furious, right? With the help of the workers, he finally, fills his box. And turns to pay and that's when you see he has a cane. And that it’s not just any cane; it’s a long cane with a red tip.


The man in front of you is visually impaired. Suddenly your anger melts away. Instead of impatience you feel compassion for him and are a little bit ashamed of yourself.


 The minute you realize that he's not being rude, dumb, or slow, but instead, he's actually doing pretty good with the ability he has.

 You feel completely different. Your anger disappears and you're filled with a completely different feeling


But what has changed here? You're still late. It still takes the guy in front of you eight minutes to order to Donuts. You're still in the donut shop. What changed it? 


It wasn't your circumstances that changed how you feel; It was your Paradigm shift. It was how you thought about the situation that changed. You went from thinking, this guy is such a jerk, which made you feel angry to think this guy is so impressive for being independent with a disability, which made you feel a sense of kindness and awe and a lot more patience.


 Max Planck said that when you change the way you look at things, you look at change. 


When you change how you think, you can change how you feel. This video is number 16 in my course, how to process your emotions. 


And this video is the introduction to section 3. The entire section of this course is all about changing how you think.


So let’s talks about what is neuroplasticity. You were born with a brain wired for change. Scientists, psychologists, all used to think that after you were about 20, your brain was set in stone and there wasn't much that could be done to change it.


But new research and new imaging technology have demonstrated that when you change, how you use your brain you can actually change the physical structure of your brain chemistry.


This is called neuroplasticity. Neural, meaning brain, and plasticity, meaning flexible. Or changeable.


Neuroplasticity makes your brain resilient and it’s how all learning takes place. It's how you learn to speak and how you learn to walk or to play an instrument.


 And it's also how you learn from your child's environment, whether the world is safe or threatening.


 As a child, your brain is extremely flexible and as you get older, some things get more hardwired but there's always room for growth. 

And that's because your brain is wired to change. Its build to adapt to new circumstances and new ways of thinking.


Neuroplasticity enables people to recover after a stroke or brain injury by using different parts of their brain, to perform tasks. 


Neuroplasticity makes it possible for people to improve symptoms of Autism, ADD learning disabilities, and other brain deficits. 


Neuroplasticity makes it possible to pull out of depression and addictions and to reverse obsessive-compulsive patterns. 


Let me give you some quick examples Daniel fish was born with the ability to see but he lost his eyesight as a baby. 


He learned echolocation to navigate. So he's completely blind but he can ride a bike safely and he does this by making clicks with his mouth and then he listens to the echo to know where objects are around. 


Brain scans revealed that his brain adapted visual cortex the seeing part of his brain, to be able to process sounds instead of light.


Let me give you another exciting example; talk therapy changes your physical brain. There is a lot of research on this. Studies have shown that eight weeks of therapy can increase the size of the hippocampus. 


This is the part of the brain that processes emotions and memory. Talk therapy can also decrease the size of the amygdala. This is the fear center of the brain. 


When we change how we think and act, we can actually physically change our brains. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is essentially talking therapy, right.


It focuses on changing how you think and how you act. And CBT has shown to be very effective at treating mental illness. It’s one of the most effective treatments, as effective as medication, but it has long-lasting benefits and fewer physical side effects.


 So, how do we change how we think? Here comes a metaphor; your brain is like this sandhill.


 As we grow and as we develop our way of thinking and our understanding of the world, the brain is formed just like channels the water makes as it runs down the sides of the hill.


 Now some of this is impacted by our environment. So for example our brains are impacted by the language, we learn in the culture we grow up in and the home environment whether it’s, you know, safe or frightening.


And some of our development is brain development depends on our biology. This includes, you know, the personality we are born with whether we're more sensitive or not.


 And this impacts how we interpret our environment. And then after that, every experience we have and how we interpret it, these are like water flowing down this hill. 


And form these little rivulets on this channel. So, for example, if you were taught as a child that everything is dangerous, that bugs are scary, then as a kid, you're going to develop a more sensitive fear response.


And that fear pathway is going to flow quickly and easily for you to feel your anxiety as an adult when you see a bug.


 But if as an adult, you decide that you want to overcome that anxiety, and you start doing exposure therapy with bugs, then eventually your brain will learn that grasshoppers are safe, and it starts using neural pathways so that you don't feel so anxious anymore.


 The more you think something or the more you experience something, the deeper those channels grow in your brain. These are called neural pathways. 


These are the channels that are Thoughts run along. The ones we use the most become smoother and faster and wider, and the ones we don't use so much eventually get trimmed off. 


So for example, if you have a habit of constantly, looking for the negative, it’s easy for you to see all the bad in the world. 


And those brain connections are strong and smooth. So, if you start to make a habit of looking, for the positive, your brain starts to rewire, and over time it becomes easier and easier to see the good in the world.


 So when we decide to change how we think it’s like trying to get water to run down this hill in a different way than it has been running. 

Now, this is difficult work because the old ways of you always of thinking are easier, but little by little we can create new ways, new neural pathways,  


And this eventually becomes easier than our old ways of thinking. I once worked with a client who had symptoms of OCD. He would worry that his hands were dirty, and then he would compulsively them. And sometimes he would do that over and over again to the point that they dried out and cracked and they bled.


Now, this client always felt that he needed to change his clothes and take a shower and he didn’t like touching anything. And this kind of got the way of his relationships with his girlfriend he really wanted to touch anyways. 


We started working on exposure-response, prevention. This is changing how he thought about his compulsion and understanding the nasty cycle of avoidance. 


So compulsions are a form of anxiety, avoidance, and right? So if you feel a little anxious that your hands are dirty and then you wash them but then that anxiety comes back a little bit stronger so then you wash them twice.


 And the whole point of a compulsion is to avoid that feeling of anxiety. So together, we, my client, and I worked on this skill of Cognitive diffusion and delaying the handwashing as long as possible. 


This is exposure response prevention. And the longer you went without washing his hands, the more he began to learn that it wouldn’t hurt him.


His brain started to learn that he didn’t have to believe his obsessive thoughts. And as he worked hard to practice willingness with his fears, they gradually didn't have so much power over him. 


Now a year later, he no longer obsessively washes his hands, and he has learned that anxiety doesn’t have to control his life. Sometimes he still gets anxious thoughts or feelings, but they don’t just impact him as much as they used to. He changed his brain.

Neuroplasticity means your brain is wired to change. When you change how you think you change how you feel. In the next thing eight videos, going to learn how to change how you think by learning about cognitive distortions, reframing, cognitive diffusion self-justification, mindfulness, and more.

 So stay tuned and thank you for watching.


 This video is one skill for my 30 skill course, how to process your emotions. Where I teach 30 of the most essential skills for resolving, depression, anxiety, and improving mental health. 


Emotion processing is essential skilled from working through intense emotions, but most people have never been taught how to do it.


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