An Emotional Health Key To Enhance Neuroplasticity
Welcome to Life Wide Open
The place to Live Extraordinarily
I’m Barb Earle and this is my Neuroscience Pearl
Born To Be Wired. And Connected.
Yes, we are born to be wired. To Connect with each other. To our parents/caregivers. To our loved ones. To our lovers. To nature. To ourselves.
Being wired means our brains have the capacity to wire and rewire thought, emotions and actions. This capacity is called neuroplasticity. The intention of today’s neuroscience pearl is to explore how human & social connection enhances Neuroplasticity.
Dr Dan Siegel, a clinical psychiatrist at UCLA and director of the Mindsight Institute stated: “Human connections create neuronal connections”.
The neural connections that Dr Siegal refers to begins the day we are born. Connection with our caregivers heavily influence neurological development. It makes up a large part of who we are today. Beyond our childhood, our relationships continue to create neuronal connections. From trustworthy relationships to judgemental ones. They still influence our neurological development.
Here’s this week’s Brief NeuroScience Blast to explain.
STRESS OR CLARITY
To Learn or Not to Learn
Relationships and social connections can either reduce stress or create it. Our brain and body reacts accordingly. And creates the neural connections accordingly. An unhealthy relationship laced with judgement brings on stress. A region of the brain responsible for a fight, flight or freeze state is activated. The body prepares for this stress by releasing specific chemicals and hormones. The result: clarity in thinking is inhibited. Learning is inhibited. A supportive relationship which is non-judgemental reduces stress. A region of the brain responsible for executive-higher function is activated. The body prepares for this by balancing hormones and chemicals. The result Clarity is enhanced. Learning is enhanced. Neuroplasticity is necessary to learn new thoughts, emotions actions, skills, tasks and behaviours. Relationships either enhance or inhibit our neuroplasticity creations.
Known as the ‘love hormone’. It plays an important role in reproduction and body responses during birth and lactation. It’s also involved in human connections such as mother-infant and romantic relationships. It’s also thought to influence group-related attitudes. In other words, oxytocin supports ‘human bonding’.
Here’s how; As new parents (yes even pet owners) we ‘learn’ how to take care of our little loved ones. We ‘fall in love’, receive oxytocin and rewire our brain to create a safe and loving environment for them. Oxytocin also shows up in healthy romantic relationships. Love trust, hugging and cuddling produce oxytocin. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter, (chemical message between neurones) which is key for neuroplasticity.
Love makes sense! And helps rewire our brain! _______________________________________________________________________________________
Sounds like we are born to be wired. Born to Connect.
How does one enhance love and relationships?
Here are two ways to tantalize your relationships.
- LOVE THYSELF
So if ‘loving’ someone produces oxytocin why not start with the relationship with yourself.
Fall in love with yourself.
Fall in love with your life and everything in it.
Fall in love with your passions.
It creates the optimal neurochemical environment for learning, for neuroplasticity.
And in the meantime fall in love, reignite a current love.
Or simply fall in love with life, create love in all its ups and downs.
2. AVOID SOCIAL DISTANCING
Yes, you heard me. Avoid social distancing. Whatever for? For the sake of being ‘wired for connection’.
I’m not talking about avoiding physical distancing in this age of the plague. Do that, please. I’m talking more about the ‘human connection’. The Social-emotional connection. Think about it. It’s the experience of our human connection that’s important. The love for our families and friends. We experience it and seek it out often. And now it’s changed due to our public state of health. How can we simulate this rich and powerful experience? Get creative. Recreate ‘the experience’ of human connection. Sit down with your loved ones, make a plan or two.
Recently I received a gift in the mail. I was beaming and I truly felt the love of a dear friend. Her thoughtfulness recreated the experience we both feel when are physically together. It’s time to get creative. Avoid Social Distancing. It’s good for your brain and heart.
Born to be Wired
To Connect with others and ourselves.
It’s essential to our human survival.
It’s essential to rewiring our Brain
And it’s so much more.
It means we are not alone.
We are connected as one.
We are Love.
Tune in next week and explore another aspect of Emotional Health and Neuroplasticity. Find out why Mistakes are Good for the Soul & the Brain
Until we meet in Person.
Brain to Brain.
Heart to Heart.