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You Have Power Over Your Brain

You were born with billions of neurons but very few connections between them. You built connections whenever your happy chemicals or unhappy chemicals were flowing. Your brain relies on the pathways it has, but we all end up with some pathways we're better off without. You can build new pathways in your brain to turn on your happy chemicals in new ways. It's not easy, but when you know how your brain works you can do it.

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You Have Power Over Your Brain

  1. 1. You Have Power Over Your Brain Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD Inner Mammal Institute Rewire Yourself for More Happy Brain Chemicals
  2. 2. You were born with billions of neurons and very few connections between them
  3. 3. You built the connections from life experience
  4. 4. Each time something felt good or bad, your brain made a connection
  5. 5. Your good and bad feelings are brain chemicals that pave your neural pathways.
  6. 6. We all get wired to feel good in ways that felt good before
  7. 7. And feel bad in ways that felt bad before
  8. 8. The electricity in your brain flows like water in a storm, finding the paths of least resistance
  9. 9. Your electricity will keep flowing down your old paths unless you build new ones
  10. 10. Your old paths support your valuable skills
  11. 11. But we each have some paths we’re better off without
  12. 12. You can re-wire yourself to turn on your happy brain chemicals in new ways, and avoid some unhappy brain chemicals
  13. 13. But it’s not easy
  14. 14. It helps to know how your brain works
  15. 15. Your brain is designed to promote survival, not to make you happy all the time
  16. 16. But it defines survival in a quirky way
  17. 17. It cares about the survival of your genes
  18. 18. Even if you don’t consciously think that
  19. 19. And it cares about whatever felt good when you were young
  20. 20. Because that’s when your brain releases myelin, which turns neural trails into superhighways
  21. 21. We all end up with some quirky circuits we’d rather not have
  22. 22. You can build a new circuit in your brain if you repeat a new behavior every day for 45 days
  23. 23. That’s hard to do, like slashing a new trail in the forest
  24. 24. It’s hard to pass along unconnected neurons, so it feels unsafe
  25. 25. And after all that effort, your new trail disappears quickly
  26. 26. But a new trail gets established if you use it every day for 45 days
  27. 27. Every day without fail
  28. 28. What new habit do you want to build?
  29. 29. Dopamine Serotonin Oxytocin Endorphin It helps to know what turns on our happy brain chemicals
  30. 30. It would be nice if they just flowed all the time
  31. 31. dopamine oxytocin endorphin But each happy chemical has a special job serotonin
  32. 32. It turns on in short spurts and then it turns off
  33. 33. You have to do more to get more
  34. 34. That’s why life feels like a roller coaster so often
  35. 35. Happy brain chemicals reward you with a good feeling when you meet a survival need
  36. 36. All mammals have the same happy brain chemicals
  37. 37. controlled by the same core brain structures
  38. 38. In animals, it’s easy to understand what turns them on
  39. 39. because they don’t cover up their motives with words
  40. 40. Dopamine is the great feeling
 that a reward is at hand
  41. 41. Dopamine releases energy for the chase
  42. 42. Dopamine droops once you get the reward until
 you set your sights on another reward
  43. 43. How can you enjoy more Dopamine in your life?
  44. 44. Always have a short-term goal a long-term goal and a medium-term goal and be ready to replace with new goals
  45. 45. Keep stepping toward your goals and you will wire yourself to expect the good feeling of dopamine
  46. 46. Oxytocin is the good feeling we call “trust”
  47. 47. Oxytocin is stimulated by touch and by safety in numbers
  48. 48. Oxytocin droops when you’re separated from the herd which makes you feel like your survival is threatened
  49. 49. What can you do to build your Oxytocin circuits?
  50. 50. Build trust in many small steps
  51. 51. We are not meant to release it all the time because it’s not safe to trust everyone always
  52. 52. Serotonin is the pleasure of social dominance
  53. 53. Serotonin is not aggression but the calm sense that “I will get the banana”
  54. 54. Serotonin is soon reabsorbed so we
 keep seeking ways to stimulate more
  55. 55. How can you enjoy more Serotonin without doing things that will hurt you in the long run?
  56. 56. Focus on the advantages of what you have instead of on the advantages of others
  57. 57. Endorphin masks pain so you can do what
 it takes to survive
  58. 58. Endorphin is
 “endogenous morphine” it’s meant for emergencies, not partying
  59. 59. Endorphin trickles with laughing, crying, and exercise
  60. 60. • Make time to laugh • Exercise • Do not create pain
  61. 61. Choose a new way to turn on your dopamine, serotonin or oxytocin. Repeat the new thought or behavior every day for 45 days
  62. 62. A new pathway will build
  63. 63. Each happy chemical spurt paves a neural pathway that helps turn it on in the future
  64. 64. Each happy chemical droops after it spurts
  65. 65. When your happy chemicals droop, you notice your unhappy chemical cortisol the stress chemical
  66. 66. Your brain keeps looking for ways to promote survival in order to feel good
 dopamine endorphin oxytocin serotonin
  67. 67. You can wire yourself to feel good when you do things that are good for you
  68. 68. But it’s not easy
  69. 69. It’s as hard as carving a new trail through the jungle
  70. 70. You will wish for your old road, even if it led in the wrong direction
  71. 71. Keep feeding a new experience to your brain, and your neurons will connect
  72. 72. Your happy chemicals will turn on in new ways
  73. 73. Habits of a Happy Brain Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin Beyond Cynical
 Transcend Your Mammalian Negativity I, Mammal
 Why Your Brain Links Status and Happiness learn more
  74. 74. learn more InnerMammalInstitute.org dopamine serotonin oxytocin endorphin
  75. 75. Questions ?
  76. 76. more
  77. 77. Nothing is wrong with me
  78. 78. Your happy chemicals will droop sometimes
  79. 79. They’re just doing their job Getting ready for new inputs
  80. 80. I can create pathways that are right for me
  81. 81. you can make peace with your inner mammal
  82. 82. for example
  83. 83. Vinayak sits all day, and wants to take better care of his body. He thinks walking one mile a day will make him happy, and decides to build the habit. On Day 2 he is not happy about it. He would rather do other things with his time and energy. But he decides to honor his promise to himself, so he does it every day for 45 days. At the end, he looks forward to his walk and it feels so normal that he cannot imagine ever spending a day without walking.
  84. 84. Vinayak enjoys dopamine when he steps toward meeting his needs. He enjoys serotonin when he feels pride in his accomplishment. He enjoys oxytocin when he walks with a friend. But these spurts don’t last. Soon he is thinking about a new goal, and when he takes a step, his dopamine flows.
  85. 85. Amana wants to develop her career skills, but she never actually takes the steps. She decides to build a habit of spending a half hour each day building a career skill. At first, it’s hard work. She feels frustrated and wants to avoid that bad feeling by forgetting her goal. But she decides to honor her promise to herself, so she does it every day for 45 days. At the end, she loves her new skill and she loves her power to learn, so she keeps doing it.
  86. 86. Amana enjoys dopamine when she steps toward meeting her needs. She enjoys serotonin when she feels pride in her accomplishment. She enjoys oxytocin when she talks to others about career skills. But these spurts don’t last. When she thinks about a new goal, that gets her dopamine going again.
  87. 87. Anand would like more harmony with friends and family. He decides to spend five minutes a day communicating his sincere feelings, and five minutes a day listening to the sincere feelings of others. On Day 2, it’s uncomfortable and he starts to hate the idea. But he decides to honor his promise to himself, so he does it every day for 45 days. At the end, he is surprised to find that he looks forward to these difficult conversations. He feels like a different person.
  88. 88. Anand enjoys dopamine when he steps toward meeting his needs. He enjoys serotonin when he feels pride in his communication skills. He enjoys oxytocin when he trusts others and enjoys their trust. But these spurts don’t last. Soon he is thinking about a new goal, and that gets his dopamine going again.
  89. 89. one more thing
  90. 90. Don’t compare yourself to others
  91. 91. Don’t compare yourself to others
  92. 92. Don’t compare yourself to others
  93. 93. Don’t compare yourself to others
  94. 94. Don’t compare yourself to others
  95. 95. Don’t compare yourself to others
  96. 96. Don’t compare yourself to others

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