The term brain retraining is quickly becoming a buzzword amongst life coaches, wellness practitioners, and even entrepreneurs. Why? Because it is a modality that, through the principle of neuroplasticity, is highly successful at creating change. Brain retraining uses a combination of mental techniques and body-mind practices that when performed over a period of weeks to months gradually rewires the brain to operate in a healthier, whole-brain state. In a whole-brain state, the higher thinking neocortex is engaged and both the left and right hemispheres are active, the emotional limbic brain is calm and we are no longer driven by the habitual unconscious protective programs of the protective reptilian brain.
Brain retraining is about rewiring the brain to shift from protective to creative brain functioning, resulting in improved emotional and physical well-being. The brain gets rewired into a whole-brain state of communication, creating healing biochemistry in the body as a result of emotions of safety and harmony. Ultimately, this results in the body’s natural ability to heal to kick in. Not only can we achieve greater health, but over time, we can actually shift our reactions to life to the extent we may seem like a whole new person.
There is a common saying in the field of neuroscience that goes “neurons that fire together, wire together.” That is exactly what the brain retraining process is doing. It is wiring one neural pathway that is associated with emotions of fear or protection to another neural pathway that is associated with emotions of love, safety, or satisfaction.
Our brain is constantly wiring together neural pathways by making associations. This is good, that is bad, this makes me happy, that makes me sad. It is normal for the brain to fire and wire, however, it becomes problematic when the limbic system gets overactive due to cross-wiring and interferes with our internal body chemistry. Cross Wiring happens when the limbic system assigns a negative emotional association with a person, place, or thing. For example, if there was a serious crisis or abuse happening while living in a house with mold, the limbic system might cross wire mold = bad things happen= stay in protection neurology-- thereby reducing detoxification and proper immune functioning. Even the thought of mold may be enough to create a protective stress response in the body. Mold now becomes a trigger that can cause the brain to lose its ability to regulate the nervous system during even a mild mold exposure because the brain is in too much of a “threat” mode from cross-wiring. Mold was just one of many things for me that became cross-wired, causing all sorts of severe health challenges. I had to learn to shift my habitual resistance/protective response to not only mold but to my environment and relationships in order to be able to undo this cross-wired reaction. Just about anything can become cross-wired if there is a heightened emotional response associated with that thing/person/substance.
I have found that self-regulating the nervous system through brain retraining is one of the most effective ways to heal from a variety of chronic issues, including pain, trauma, chronic fatigue, endocrine/digestive/immune issues, hypersensitivities to food, chemicals or mold, various allergies, as well as mental and emotional issues. Because in many cases, chronic illness has a root cause of an over-reactive, cross-wired limbic system, therefore the problem must be addressed in the brain. Otherwise, we are simply treating symptoms that give short-term relief.
It is important to note that we are hard-wired to NOT change, even when we find ourselves in a state of illness or distress. The unconscious ego identity perceives change as threatening and will choose to remain in a compromised state because it is familiar. This is again why the practice of braining rewiring requires steady commitment. You can work through the unconsciously driven, limbic system resistance to change as you stay dedicated to the practices required for rewiring to occur.
Victim Consciousness (trigger warning...we don't like to believe this is true about us)
It is important to say a few words about Victim Consciousness, as many who find themselves stuck in patterns of illness do encounter this realization about their situation. When we believe that the people in our lives OR the health crises we are in is the cause of our emotional state, we are putting the power into something outside of ourselves for our well-being. With victim consciousness, we think they "make" us feel unhappy, or this situation is what "makes me" unhappy. So we constantly try to control our life circumstances from the outside. With brain retraining, we learn to SELF-GENERATE OUR JOY. Even with the chronic illness or in a difficult relationship. It seems impossible when we are stuck in the ego state of the wounded victim. It is possible to produce the biochemistry of happiness and wellbeing, even when we are sick. And that magical experience becomes the key to unlocking one's health and vitality. Victim consciousness is usually learned, often early on, and is unconscious programming that reinforces a world view that remaining in a compromised state is actually the best way to get core needs met. For example, if as a child, you found that you got more attention and love when you were sick, you learned that being sick = attention and love. Another example of cross-wiring.
Many of us will have to overcome this Victim Consciousness on our path of healing. Through brain retraining, we will build new pathways that say we can absolutely get our needs met while being healthy, happy, and powerful. We can self-generate our own joy even in the experience of illness or with a history of trauma. And we learn that we are the creators of our reality.
Are you interested in starting brain retraining? There are many options out there that I love. I have personally used the Dynamic Neural Retraining System, Lightning Process, and Gupta Program. They are all really great for complex situations. I also have created my own program that is based on studying many programs, understanding the core algorithm involved. My basic brain retraining program is called "Creating Calm".
In my Creating Calm program, you will learn a home brain retraining practice that is super easy to do. This also includes several nervous system resiliency tools, such as vagus nerve regulation practices, somatic body/trauma healing practices and so much more. I believe my self-guided brain retraining program is one of the most direct, simplified approaches on the market, that is also holistic as it weaves together multiple tools for nervous system self-regulation to address the chronic stress response resulting in chronic illness.
Love and light,
PS If you enjoyed this blog you might enjoy this YouTube video on the proper sequencing for healing trauma, which recommends that you always start with brain retraining. I explain why in the video.