Robert F. Mullen, PhD
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“Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI – deliberate, repetitive, neural information.” – WeVoice (Madrid, Málaga)
The Awesome Power of Proactive Neuroplasticity
Until we immerse ourselves in recovery, social anxiety disorder governs our emotional well-being and quality of life. We are subject to an irrational, and manipulative entity. Our thoughts are distorted, and our behavior is destructive due to our SAD-induced fears and anxieties. We feel helpless, hopeless, undesirable, and worthless. Until we dissociate ourselves from our symptoms and embrace our value and significance, we will continue to subordinate ourselves to an unscrupulous malfunction that thrives on our misery and self-destructive behaviors.
Our phobias are not real, however; they are abstractions. They have no power on their own and cannot exist without us. They are figments of a SAD imagination run rampant. Once we learn to rationally examine and respond to them, they cease to be real. Our response to adversity is of our own making. SAD is the enemy, and it is well-weaponized. Proactive neuroplasticity is our weapons research facility, and we are in charge of development. The objective is to amass an arsenal capable of countering that of the enemy and we can’t adequately do that until we familiarize ourselves with the enemy’s capabilities.
Recovery and Self-Empowerment
Recovery and self-empowerment work in concert. Recovery is regaining possession and control of what has been stolen or lost. Social anxiety disorder steals our autonomy, our hopes, and our self-esteem. Empowerment is reasserting our inherent capacity to control our emotional response to stressful situations. Recovery and self-empowerment complement each other through simultaneous, mutual interaction.
Space is Limited
Our weapons research facility is fully operational; it is our neural network. Neuroplasticity is the scientific evidence of our brain’s constant adaptation to information. It is what makes learning and registering new experiences possible. Scientists refer to the process as structural remodeling of the brain.
All information notifies our neural network to realign, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. What is significant is our ability to accelerate and consolidate the process by compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. The deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information (DRNI) develops new mindsets, skills, and abilities, replacing decades of negative self-beliefs. Consequently, it empowers us to empower ourselves.
Human neuroplasticity happens in three forms. Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural response to things over which we have limited to no control – stimuli we absorb but do not initiate or focus on. A car alarm, lightning, the smell of baked goods. Our neural network automatically restructures itself to what happens around us.
Active neuroplasticity happens through intentional pursuits like engaging in social interaction, teaching, yoga, and journaling. We control active neuroplasticity because we consciously choose the activity. A significant component of active neuroplasticity is our altruistic and compassionate social behavior – teaching, volunteering, and contributing.
What is significant is our ability to deliberately accelerate and consolidate learning and unlearning. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most effective method of positive neural restructuring. Through the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information (DRNI), we compel our brains to change their negative polarity to positive.
Both proactive and active neuroplasticity assist in the positive transformation of our thoughts and behaviors. Proactive neuroplasticity is centered in our left-brain hemisphere – the analytical part responsible for rational thinking. Reactive neuroplasticity is right hemisphere activity – intuition, emotions, imagination, and creativity. Proactive neuroplasticity taps into the mental and the rational as we consolidate our self-esteem. Active neuroplasticity connects with the emotional and the social and generates self-appreciation.
Our Neural Network
Neurons are the core components of our brain and central nervous system. They convey information through electrical activity. Information sparks a receptor neuron, sending electrical energy to a sensory neuron, stimulating postsynaptic neurons that forward it to millions of participating neurons, causing a cellular chain reaction in multiple interconnected areas of our brain.
Our brain’s natural plasticity was identified in the 1960s, stemming from research into brain functioning after a massive stroke. Before that, researchers believed that neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons, stopped shortly after birth.
Today, science recognizes that our neural pathways are dynamic and malleable. Our human brain continuously reorganizes to the input of information.
Behaviorist, B. F. Skinner claimed that the neural input of information was more important than the amount; he was half right. That was before we realized how our brain reacts to information – how repeated input results in repeated firing. Neurons don’t act by themselves but through circuits that strengthen or weaken their connections based on electrical activity. Like muscles, the more repetitions, the more robust the energy of the information
The deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. Additionally, the process creates higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) –proteins associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory.
The neural chain reaction generated by repetition reciprocates, in abundance, the energy of the information. Millions of neurons amplify the electrical activity on a massive scale. Positive information in, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Conversely, negative information in, negative energy reciprocated in abundance. Thus the value of positive reinforcement.
When the activity of the axon pathways is heightened, the neurotransmissions of chemical hormones accelerate, feeding us GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to boost our self-esteem, and serotonin for a sense of well-being. Acetylcholine supports neuroplasticity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenalin improves concentration.
Cortisol and Adrenaline
Scientists have identified over fifty chemical hormones in the human body. They are the messengers that control our physiological functions – our metabolism, homeostasis, and reproduction. Their distribution is precise. Even slight changes in levels can cause significant disruption to our health as in the cases of cortisol, adrenaline, and other fight or flight-inducing hormones.
Among other things, cortisol helps to regulate our blood pressure and circadian rhythm. Adrenaline can relieve pain and boosts our body’s immune system. When transmitted into the bloodstream our body experiences a heightened state of physical and mental alertness. Normal amounts of the two hormones are necessary to our basic survival, and in most cases, beneficial to our overall health and well-being.
Cortisol and adrenaline are called fear and anxiety-provoking hormones. Both are designed to trigger the fight-or-flight response – our instinctive response to stress. Produced by our amygdala, cortisol increases our heart rate and blood pressure, altering our immune system, and suppressing our digestion.
Our amygdala signals our hypothalamus and sympathetic nervous control systems in the brain stem. The hypothalamus, in turn, alerts our cortisol and adrenaline hormones. This stress-related trajectory is stored in our physiological memory bank and the more the process is repeated, the more we are negatively impacted by these hormones.
Adrenaline, transmitted by our adrenal glands, causes our air passages to dilate, redirecting more oxygen to our muscles. Blood vessels contract and send blood to the heart, lungs, and other major muscle groups. These activities all contribute to the high stress that impacts our fears and anxieties.
Chronic stress induced by our SAD symptomatology causes a higher and constant influx of cortisol and adrenaline into our system. Not only does this increase the risk of health problems like heart disease and stroke, but it contributes significantly to our anxiety and depression, causing problems with memory, cognition, and sleep patterns.
Each input of positive information factors in the release of these life-affirming chemical hormones. Our brain doesn’t think, however; it provides the means for us to think. It does not distinguish healthy from toxic information. Our neurons feed us the hormones in response to negative as well as positive information. That’s one of the reasons keeping to a resolution or recovering from emotional malfunction is challenging.
We are physiologically averse to change, making it difficult to remove ourselves from hostile environments or break habits that interfere with optimum functioning. We are hard-wired to resist anything that jeopardizes our status quo. Our brain’s inertia senses and repels change, and our basal ganglia resist any modification to behavior patterns.
Productive information is crucial to our neural restructuring and to the moderation of our fears and anxieties.
We are at war with our social anxiety disorder. Proactive neuroplasticity is our weapons research facility, responsible for developing a strategic advantage over our enemy. While the realignment of our neural network is the framework for recovery and self-empowerment, a coalescence of science and east-west psychologies is essential to capture the diversity of human thought and experience.
Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity; cognitive-behavioral modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are Western-oriented. Eastern practices provide the therapeutic benefits of Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. Also crucial to recovery are approaches that focus on the recovery and regeneration of our self-esteem.
A one-size-fits-all solution cannot comprehensively address our complexity. We are better served by integrating multiple traditional and non-traditional approaches, developed through client trust, cultural assimilation, and therapeutic innovation. Our environment, heritage, background, and associations reflect our wants, choices, and aspirations. If they are not given consideration, then we are not valued. Recovery builds upon our strengths, virtues, and accomplishments. We do not triumph in battle through incompetence and weakness but with skill and careful planning. A good recovery program provides the tools and techniques. The onus is on us whether we choose to use them.
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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT? ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional malfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to regenerate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.