Category Archives: Plasticity

ReChanneling Updates

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NEUROSCIENCE AND HAPPINESS. NEUROPLASTICITY AND POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL CHANGE. I completed my 90-minute video course for Academia.edu’s new series of academic offerings. It will be up-and-running shortly as Academia.edu ramps up its marketing efforts. It’s an exciting new venture for Academia.edu; they have been most supportive during the process. Stay tuned.

MY EXPERIENCE OF A RECHANNLING PRACTICUM A graduate of the 10-hour ReChanneling practicum has created a website partially dedicated to his experiences. He is halfway through the five-week, 10-hour session, sharing his reactions, thoughts, and perspectives in separate posts for each hour of the practicum and including the 4 weekly post-session work-at home. Matty is a graphics and media consultant contractor with ReChanneling, and his recollections are from notes taken during the last in-person practicum before the pandemic. ReChanneling’s practicums are tentatively scheduled to begin again by the end of the year.

ENLISITNG POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGIES TO CHALLENGE LOVE WITHIN SAD’S CULTURE OF MALADAPTIVE SELF-BELIEFS in Claude-Helene Mayer,  Elisabeth Vanderheiden (Eds.) International Handbook of Love Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives now available at Amazon and other fine booksellers. Chapter can be downloaded from Springer Here.

Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to alleviate symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort. Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for workshops, groups, and practicums.

The Impact of Unresolved Blame and Guilt in Recovery

Blame and guilt are normal emotions that become toxic when unresolved. They collaborate when blame is utilized to avoid personal accountability, and when guilt is a consequence of accepting blame for harming another. They both generate shame until or unless addressed.

Blame

Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, or making negative statements about the self, an individual, or group that their action(s) were wrong, and they are socially or morally irresponsible. Blame is threefold: (1) blaming others who have harmed us; (2) blaming ourselves for harming another; (3) blaming ourselves for self-harm. 

Blaming is a natural and healthy response to situations, although the initial act is often distorted. For example, children often blame themselves for household disharmony. A student may blame a failing test grade on their stupidity rather than their lack of preparedness. We blame ourselves for our dysfunction and society for making our life so difficult. We blame ourselves, our parents, our neighbors, god, and anyone caught lurking for inconsequential things or situations beyond anyone’s control.

Most of our blaming is in response to forgettable, harmless situations. Some blaming carries significant emotional weight, especially if the harm is serious or prolonged. We often carry that emotional baggage throughout our life. It is unhealthy and non-conducive to recovery. When we hold onto these feelings, we construct our neural network with anger, hurt, and resentment. To paraphrase Buddha, holding onto anger is holding onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you’re the one who gets burned. Our transgressors are likely (1) unaware they injured us, (2) have forgotten the injury, (3) take no responsibility for it, (4) or don’t care. The only person negatively impacted is the blaming party.

Those who have harmed us should be held accountable, and we must take responsibility for our own transgressions. To release the negative energy, we must forgive those transgressions and move on. Why is that difficult to do? Because our anger and righteous indignation satisfy us. We also become physiologically addicted to the pleasurable chemicals that reward our hatred and resentment.

Our transgressions against another manifest in guilt and shame—negative baggage that can only be released by accepting responsibility, making amends, and forgiving ourselves.

Self-blame is one of the most toxic forms of self-abuse. Since it is irrational to self-harm, it is caused by our dysfunction. We falsely self-blame for our behaviors and our perceived character deficits caused by our dysfunction. We are not our dysfunction, therefore, any blame must be ascribed to the dysfunction; self-blame is irrational and delusory. When addressed rationally, it can lead to positive change.

Dysfunctions thrive on our self-denigration, self-contempt, and other hyphenated forms of self-abuse. Mindfulness of this supports recovery.

Guilt

Guilt is a psychological term for a natural self-conscious emotion that condemns the self while conscious of being evaluated by another person(s). It is the physiologically harmful feeling of having done something wrong, with an implicit need to correct or amend.

There are multiple levels and factors of guilt. We feel guilt for harming another, and for being the type of person who would affect harm. We feel guilt for harming ourselves. We guilt ourselves for things over which we have no control (cognitively distorted guilt).

The sensation of guilt is a reminder that we have done something wrong that we need to correct or amend. Such actions can remove the overriding vehemence of guilt from our conscience. Guilt is self-focused but highly socially relevant: It supports important interpersonal functions by, for example, encouraging adjusting or repairing valuable relationships and discouraging acts that could damage them. 

Rather than taking responsibility for guilt-provoking actions, we often play the blame game, ascribing the guilt to another entity. Since we subconsciously recognize our attribution, we add the burden of blame to the burden of guilt.

Until or unless we are mindful of our actions that elicited the guilt, and address those actions, we carry that emotional baggage throughout our life. It is unhealthy and non-conducive to self-esteem and recovery. When we hold onto guilt, we pattern our neural network with self-doubt, self-contempt, and self-unworthiness.

The harmful impact of guilt can be resolved by:

  1. Mindfulness (recognition and acceptance) of the act that incurred the guilt.
  2. Recognizing and disputing any cognitively distorting guilt for things we are not responsible for or things over which we have no control.
  3. Making direct amends for acts we are responsible for. Making substitutional amends if direct amends are not possible. 
  4. Then forgiving our self for the act that incurred the guilt. 

When we allow the negativity of guilt to take up valuable space in our brain, it impedes the flow of positive thought and action necessary for recovery. To excise this harmful negativity, we must forgive ourselves (which requires amending or remedying). Years of hanging onto guilt take their toll, and the negative self-image builds and solidifies, and overwhelms anything that hints at self-worth or value. Guilt is considered a ‘sad’ emotion, along with agony, grief, and loneliness, each a debilitating symptom of social anxiety disorder.

By withholding forgiveness, we deny ourselves the ability to function optimally; it is divisive to our wellbeing and disharmonious to our true nature. Forgiving is the only way to expel the hostility. We cannot hope to recover without courageously absolving our self and others whose behavior contributed to our negativity.

Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to alleviate symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort. Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

The Value of Mindfulness in Recovery

The value of mindfulness in recovery is immeasurable

We share an intimate and unhealthy relationship with our dysfunction or discomfort that manifests in many ways. 

  • The tolerant relationship. We recognize our condition is detrimental to a healthy and productive lifestyle, but we are too lazy or apathetic to address it. 
  • The resigned relationship. We devalue our character strengths and virtues, convincing ourselves any attempt at recovery is futile. We have given up.
  • The self-pitying relationship. We wallow in our misery because it comforts us and confirms our victimization.
  • The assimilate relationship. We acclimate to our condition, adapting and incorporating it into our system. This is the odd relationship where we become our dysfunction.
  • The denial relationship. We refuse to acknowledge the problem, denying its existence, our dismissal so pervasive it subconsciously metastasizes, like unchecked cancer. 

Every physiological dysfunction and discomfort generate a correlated deficiency of self-esteem due to the condition itself, and the corresponding disruption in natural human development. The overwhelming majority of dysfunctional onset happens during adolescence due to a toxic childhood environment caused by physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. This disturbance manifests in perceptions of abandonment, exploitation, and detachment, engendering a disruption in natural human development which negatively impacts our self-esteem 

Self-esteem is mindfulness (recognition and acceptance) of our value to our self, society, and the world. Self-esteem can be further understood as a complex interrelationship between how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process or present that information. 

Self-esteem deficits are the consequence of disapproval, criticism, and apathy of influential others—family, colleagues, ministers, teachers. Any number of factors impact self-esteem including our environment, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and education. 

  • Our negative self-image is generated by our deficit of self-esteem.
  • Self-esteem administers and is determined by our self-properties. Positive self-properties include self -reliant, -compassionate, -confidant, -worth, etc.  Negative self-properties are self -destructive, -loathing, -denigrating, etc. 
  • Our positive self-properties tell us we are of value, consequential, and desirable.  
  • Our intrinsic self-esteem is never fully depleted or lost; underutilized self-properties can be dormant like the unexercised muscle in our arm or leg. 
  • Self-esteem impacts our mind, body, spirit, and emotions separately and in concert. Mindfulness of this complementarity is important to emotional and behavioral control as we learn to utilize each component. 
  • We rediscover and reinvigorate our self-esteem through exercises designed to help us become mindful of our inherent strengths, virtues, and attributes.  

Neural restructuring. The primary objective or consequence of recovery is the restructuring of our neural network. When neural pathways reshape, there is a correlated change in behavior and perspective. Our brain is not a moral adjudicator, but an organic reciprocator, adapting and correlating to stimuli. 

Every stimulus we input causes a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. Neural restructuring is the deliberate input of positive stimuli to compensate for years of dysfunctional negative input. Deliberate repetitious stimuli compel neurons to fire repeatedly causing them to wire together. The more repetitions the quicker and stronger the new connection.

Neural restructuring is deliberate plasticity—functionally modifying our neural network through repetitive activation. Plasticity is our brain’s capacity to change with learning—to relearn. Studies in brain plasticity evidence the brain’s ability to change at any age. Behavioral Plasticity is the capacity and degree to which human behavior can be altered by environmental factors such as learning and social experience.  In theory, a higher degree of plasticity makes an organism more flexible to change, whereas a lower degree of plasticity result in an inflexible behavior pattern. Behavioral plasticity enables an organism to change its behavior through learning.

Mindfulness is the state of active, open recognition and acceptance of present realities. It is the act of embracing our flaws as well as our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes. Mindfulness is the key to re-engaging our positive self-properties that constitute healthy self-esteem 

True mindfulness of our dysfunction is more than recognition and acceptance; it is embracement. By embracing our flaws as well as our character strengths, virtues, and attributes, we embrace ourselves. Love is linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes. Love motivates recovery. Embracing our dysfunction or discomfort is an act of love.

Our condition is a natural component of human development. It is evidence of our humanness. Think of it as an emotional virus. We are not our dysfunction any more than we are an accidental broken limb. We are individuals with a dysfunction. Embracing it does not mean we don’t want to transform into a healthy and more productive individual; it encourages transformation. 

Embracing is not acquiescence, resignation, or condoning. Acquiescence is accepting our condition and doing nothing to change it. Condoning is accepting it and allowing it to fester. Resignation is defeatism. Embracing is logically accepting ourselves for who we are—human dysfunctional beings abounding in ability and potential. It is embracing our character strengths, virtues, and attributes that facilitate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. It is embracing our totality. Healthy self-love is a fundamental component of self-esteem; we can never strive towards our potential until we truly learn to embrace ourselves. The value of mindfulness in recovery is immeasurable. 

Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to alleviate symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort. Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Video: Neural Restructuring and Recovery

YouTube

When our neural pathways realign, there is a correlated change in behavior and perspective. Every thought, word, and action impel a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message, neuron to neuron to its destination. Positive messages contain the healthy thoughts and behaviors that supplant and overwhelm the years of toxic input generated by our dysfunction. Neural restructuring is a natural consequence of recovery; recovery is facilitated by neural restructuring.

MORE YOUTUBE VIDEOS

Self-esteem is the self-recognition of our value as applicable to our self, others, and the world; value is the accumulation of our positive self-qualities that generate our character strengths and virtues. Every physiological dysfunction generates a correlated deficiency of self-esteem due to the condition itself, and the corresponding disruption in natural human development.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting the emotional and mental wellbeing of millions of U.S. adults and adolescents who find themselves caught up in a densely interconnected network of fear and avoidance of social situations.

ReChanneling is dedicated to researching methods to alleviate symptoms of psychological dysfunctions (neuroses) and discomfort that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. It does this by targeting the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration.

Dispelling some of the folklore and misinformation about physiological dysfunction. We are all casualties of the ignorance, prejudice and discrimination attached to mental illness. Myth Number 1: Mental illness is an abnormal condition.

The disease or medical model of ‘mental’ health focuses on a deficit, disease model of human behavior. The wellness model focuses “on positive aspects of human functioning.” This disease model ‘defective’ emphasis has been the overriding psychiatric perspective for well over a century.

Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to alleviate symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort (neuroses). Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Neural Restructuring, CBT, and Positive Affirmations

When we restructure our neural pathways, there is a correlated change in our behavior and perspective.

Neural Plasticity

  • Our brain contains hundreds-of-billions of nerve cells (neurons) arranged in networks.
  • When neural pathways reshape, there is a correlated change in behavior and perspective.
  • Our brain is not a moral adjudicator, but an organic reciprocator. It adapts and correlates to stimuli.
  • Anything destructive to our well-being is irrational and unhealthy.
  • Our brain does differentiate between rational and irrational. Its job is to provide the chemical and electrical maintenance that maintain our vital functions: heartbeat, nervous system, and blood–flow. It tells us when to breathe. It generates our mood, controls our weight and digestion, and so on.
  • A stimulus occurs at every experience: a muscle twitch, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, the prick of a needle.
  • Every stimulus causes the receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message, passed from neuron to neuron until it reaches its destination.
  • Plasticity is the brain’s capacity to change with learning. Learning is a component of everything that happens to a person; it is comprised of infinitesimal moments of experience. Studies in brain plasticity evidence the brain’s ability to change at any age.
  • Our psychological dysfunction or discomfort generates and is sustained by our irrational thoughts and behaviors, impelling us to feed our brain unhealthy stimuli.
  • Our brain is always learning at an accelerated rate. What has been learned can be unlearned. Unhealthy beliefs and behaviors are unlearned, as our brain learns new beliefs and behaviors.
  • The function of cognitive-behavioral restructuring is to supplant irrational thoughts and actions with rational ones. This causes the neural network to restructure. Over time and through repetition, these new thoughts and behaviors become habitual and spontaneous.
  • Deliberate repetitious stimuli compel neurons to fire repeatedly causing them to wire together. The more repetitions the quicker and stronger the new connection.

90% of treatment programs feature cognitive-behavioral therapy. The cognitive aspect is positive affirmations. Practicing repetitive positive affirmations increases activity in the self-processing systems of the cortex, which counteract the negative input that threatens self-esteem. The brain automatically responds by transmitting the hormones that sustain us and provide comfort and pleasure. The more input of positive affirmations, the more our brain responds. These constant feelings of comfort and pleasure then motivate us to continue the repetitive practice of self-affirmations. Positive affirmations must be rational, reasonable, possible, and first-person present time.

Our brains consist of hundreds-of-billions of nerve cells (neurons) arranged in pathways or networks. Inside each of these neurons, there is electrical activity. Neurons are the core components of our brain and our central nervous system. Our functionality is facilitated by a hugely complex system of synapses, axons, and dendrites working in collaboration with our nerve cells.

Every stimulus we experience causes a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. A stimulus occurs at every experience: a muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, the prick of a needle, a twitch. Because of our dysfunction, our brain has structured itself around unhealthy feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. It sustains this irrationality by naturally releasing pleasurable chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine). It does not know any better; it responds to our input. 

It’s estimated that humans have up to 60,000 thoughts a day. Whenever you provide negative input, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel bad. Conversely, every time you provide positive input, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good.

Science confirms our neural pathways are constantly realigning. Since its onset (adolescence), our dysfunction or discomfort has been feeding our brain irrational thoughts and behaviors. What is irrational? Irrational is anything detrimental to our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Simply put, it is irrational to hurt ourselves. 

Our brain cannot differentiate between rational and irrational. It does not think; it provides the means for us to think. It is an organic reciprocator. Its job is to provide the chemical and electrical stimulants that maintain heartbeat, nervous system, and blood–flow. They tell us when to breathe, stimulate thirst, control our weight and digestion. They establish and affect our behavior, moods, memories, and so on. 

Neural restructuring is our brain’s capacity to change with learn­ing; functions performed by our neurotransmitters are learning functions. Our neurons don’t act by themselves but through neural circuits. These circuits strengthen or weaken their connections based on chemical and electrical activity. This process is called Hebbian learning, and this is important. Our brain learns at an incredibly accelerated rate, and what has been learned can be unlearned. The purpose of neural restructuring is to replace irrational thoughts and behaviors with healthy ones. Our beliefs and concepts, thoughts, and actions have been learned and practiced from early on. We are conditioned to them. As our brain reciprocates our positive input, our neural network restructures itself accordingly. Over time, through deliberate repetition, healthy, rational thoughts and behaviors become habitual and spontaneous. Why the repetition? When our neurons fire repeatedly, they wire together. The more repetitions. the quicker and stronger the new connection.

fAn essential element in subverting our dysfunction or discomfort is the deliberate restructuring of our neural network.

Why is your support essential? ReChanneling is dedicated to research and development of methods to mitigate symptoms of psychological dysfunction and discomfort. Our vision is to reshape the current pathographic emphasis on diagnoses over individual, which fosters a deficit, disease model of human behavior. Treatment programs must disavow ineffective, one-size-fits-all approaches and target the individual personality through communication, empathy, collaboration, and an integration of historically and clinically practical methods. All donations support scholarships for workshops and practicums.