Tag Archives: Positive Psychology

A Workshop Graduate’s Testimonial

I’ve lived with social anxiety for decades. I spent many years (and thousands of dollars) on conventional talk therapy, self-help books, and medication, without experiencing any real change or relief. ReChanneling’s Social Anxiety Workshop produced results within a few sessions, with continuing improvement throughout the workshop and beyond. I’m now much more at ease in situations that were major sources of anxiety and avoidance for me just a few months ago. The shared experience of working through social anxiety with other people who “get it” is powerful, and I’ve felt Dr. Mullen is truly committed to our growth and recovery. Liz D. 

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Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

NEW > Video Series #6: Affirmative Visualization

By visualizing a positive outcome prior to a feared situation, we experience behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and healthy information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it. LINK

Video Series #5: Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts

In this video, we focus on the trajectory of our self-destructive thoughts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. They originate with our negative core beliefs generated by our disorder which influence our intermediate beliefs from life experiences and form our ANTs or automatic negative thoughts that underscore our situational fears and anxieties. LINK

Video Series #4: The Power of Positive Personal Affirmations

We drastically underestimate the significance and effectiveness of PPAs because we do not understand the science behind them. PPAs are brief, individually focused statements that we repeat to ourselves to describe what and who we want to be. PPAs help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely effective form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information that supports proactive neuroplasticity. LINK

Video Series #3: Tools and Techniques

Proactive neuroplasticity is the process of deliberately and repetitively inputting positive information into our neural network to consolidate learning and unlearning. What is that information? How is it constructed? The objective is to ensure the information is of the highest quality to effect change. What are the best tools and techniques? What methodologies and psychological support systems are best suited to support proactive neuroplasticity – to help us unlearn the toxicity of negative self-beliefs, replacing them with healthy, positive ones. LINK

Video Series #2: Three Forms of Neuroplasticity

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaptation to sensory information. Active neuroplasticity is neural information acquired through conscious activity, which includes all forms of deliberate learning. Proactive neuroplasticity is the conscious, intentional repatterning of our neural network utilizing tools and techniques that facilitate the process. The deliberate, repetitive, input of neural information empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. LINK

Video Series #1: Introduction

Research has established that our neural network is a dynamic organism, constantly adapting and rebuilding to each new input of information. Scientists refer to the process of neuroplasticity as structural remodeling of the brain. By deliberately enhancing the process, we can proactively transform our thoughts, behaviors, and perspectives, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. All information notifies our neural pathways to restructure, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. LINK

Video Series #7: Coping Skills9/1/2022

This series of videos will illustrate how information is algorithmically coded into positive or negative electrical energy creating the activity that modifies our neural network. How the deliberate, repetitive neural input of information, or DRNI, strengthens and solidifies the connections between neurons, dramatically accelerating and consolidating learning through synaptic neurotransmission. We will learn how the context, intention, and content of our information correlate to its effectiveness and durability.

We will discuss how the science of neuroplasticity evolved, differentiating reactive and active from proactive neural input. They will diagram the trajectory of neural information and how it impacts the various lobes of the human brain responsible for cognitive learning. How the neural input of information, coded into electrical energy, causes a receptive neuron to fire that energy onto a sensory neuron which forwards the information to millions upon millions of participating neurons. They will show how this cellular chain reaction reciprocates that initial electrical energy in abundance due to the amplified neural response. Positive information–in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Each neural input of information impacts millions of neurons as they restructure our neural network to a form conducive to a positive self-image. 

Subsequently, the natural hormonal neurotransmissions reward our activity with GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure, endorphins for euphoria, serotonin for a sense of well-being as well as hormones that support our motivation, enhance our memory, and improve concentration. However, since our brain doesn’t distinguish healthy from toxic information, the neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That’s one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or achieving our desired goal is challenging and why positive informational input is crucial for recovery and self-transformation.

Contemporary wisdom disputes the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all approaches to behavioral modification, so these videos will show how the integration of science and east-west psychologies is best suited to positive modification of our thoughts and behaviors. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity; cognitive-behavioral modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are western approaches; eastern practices give us Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. 

Our neural system has been conditioned by our core and intermediate beliefs. Dysfunction and experience negatively impact these beliefs, generating automatic negative thoughts called ANTs – that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. These individuated perspectives illustrate the need for personality-targeting to support the diversity of human thought and experience. 

The mechanics of Hebbian Learning will be defined—how the repeated and persistent proactive input of information correlates to more robust and more effective learning. Hebb’s rule states the more repetitions, the quicker and more robust the connections. Harmful behaviors are unlearned, and new ones are adopted through deliberate and calculated activity. Negative core and intermediate beliefs are challenged and replaced by healthy and life-affirming ones. Videos will demonstrate how deliberate, repetitive, neural information not only alleviates the symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort but empowers us, generating the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to achieve our goals and objectives.

The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We don’t put advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. 

Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives.  

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT? 

ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

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Devising Response Plans for Situations

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.

CONTACT US

An essential factor in recovery is learning how to moderate our Situational fears and anxieties that precipitate our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). There are as many different Situations as there are persons negatively impacted. They fall into two primary categories: anticipated and unexpected.

Anticipated and Recurring Situations are those we know, in advance, will evoke our fears and corresponding ANTs.

Unexpected Situations

Unexpected Situations are those anxiety-provoking Situations we do not anticipate, and those that suddenly get out of hand.

  • Situation: The set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder and other emotional dysfunctions, a Situation is an occasion or event that generates anxiety or stress such that it impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Examples include restaurants, the classroom, the job interview, speaking in front of a group, and socializing with strangers.
  • Fears and apprehensions: The stress-provoking feelings developed by our life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images. Examples include the fears of saying or doing something stupid; being criticized or rejected; being the center of attention; engaging in conversation.
  • Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs): Spontaneous conscious or subconscious expressions of our fears and apprehensions. ANTs are ostensibly irrational and self-defeating. Examples include I am incompetent; I will say or do something stupid; I am unattractive; No one will like me; No one will talk to me.

Anticipated Situations

The following 9-step plan for Moderating our Fear(s) of Situation functions for Anticipated and Recurring Situations. SEE Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts.

  1. Identify the Feared Situation
  2. Identify the Associated Fear(s)
  3. Unmask the Corresponding ANT(s)
  4. Examine and Analyze Our Fear(s) and Corresponding ANT(s)
  5. Generate Rational Responses
  6. Reconstruct Our Thought Patterns
  7. Create a Plan to Challenge Our Feared Situation
  8. Practice the Plan in Non-Threatening Simulated Situations (including Affirmative Visualization)
  9. Expose Ourselves to the Feared Situation

Coping Skills

In Unexpected Situations, sudden and unpredicted stress can be moderated with certain coping skills. Their primary objective is to reduce the influx of the fear and anxiety-provoking hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, and provide a modicum of control over our fears and corresponding ANTs. It also provides us the opportunity to identify and challenge them going forward.

Not all coping skills provided below work in Unexpected Situations but are better suited for Anticipated and Recurring Situations where we have time to devise a more specific and comprehensive approach.

  • Affirmative Visualization (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Controlled Breathing (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Deliberate Slow-Talk (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Distractions (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Diversions (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Intention (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Focus (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Persona (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Positive Personal Affirmations (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Projected Positive Outcomes (anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Projected SUDS Rating (anticipated/recurring  situations)
  • Rational Response (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)
  • Self-Affirmations (unexpected and anticipated/recurring situations)

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

Affirmative Visualization: By visualizing a positive outcome prior to the Situation, we experience behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued by Affirmative Visualization. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and healthy information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it.

Controlled Breathing: This abbreviated breathing exercise takes roughly a minute. Place one hand on your abdomen, just above your navel, and the other hand in the center of your chest.

  1. Open your mouth and sigh gently, as if mildly irritated. Allow the muscles in your upper body and shoulders to drop down and relax as you gently exhale.
  2. Close your mouth for a few moments.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose, keeping your lips closed. Push your stomach out as you do this to pull air in.
  4. Pause for a few moments – as long as is comfortable, then open your lips and gently exhale through your mouth while pulling your stomach in.
  5. Repeat several times.

Deliberate Slow-Talk: Speaking slowly and calmly slows our physiological responses, alleviating rapid heartbeat, and lowering blood pressure. It is also helpful to incorporate the 5-second rule, i.e., pause any response for five thoughtful seconds. Not only do these coping skills reduce the flow of cortisol and adrenaline, but it also presents the appearance of someone who is thoughtful and confident.

Distractions: Objects that momentarily rechannel our attention from the emotions of our ANTs.  Examples: a picture on the wall, a vase, a trophy on the bookshelf. When confronted by emotional angst, we turn our attention, momentarily, to a Distraction. Recommendation: Three Distractions.

Diversions: Distractions are objects that momentarily rechannel our attention away from the emotional angst of our ANTs. Diversions are activities that perform the same function. A common Diversion is snapping the rubber band around our wrist. Other examples: Carry a pushpin or other physical deterrent in our pocket; character analyze people in the room; place a tiny object in our shoe. Recommendation: Three Diversions.

Intention: The clearly defined purpose or objective behind our actions. Our Intention is our prevailing purpose of exposing ourselves to our feared Situation. Is it to network, make friends, challenge our dysfunction, or work on a personal concern? Why are we there? What do we plan to accomplish? Be specific.

Focus: Focusing on a personal character strength or attribute rechannels our emotional angst to mental deliberation, disrupting our ANTs. It’s also beneficial to work on strengths and attributes that we would like to refine or build upon. A valuable tool in In a recovery workshop is developing our Character Resume – a list of our strengths, virtues, and achievements, recognition of which has been subverted by our social anxiety and lacuna of self-esteem.

Persona: Our Persona is the social face we present to the Situation, designed to make a positive impression while concealing our social anxiety. Our Persona is influenced by how we carry ourselves; the timbre of our voice; the clothes and shoes we wear; the attitude we display. Personas are not other-selves but aspects of our personality. We have multiple Personas dependent upon our mood, temperament, and circumstance. Deliberately choosing a Persona can dramatically alter our perspective and presentation.

Actors often determine physical movements as the foundation for their character. Our physical cadence can alter our perspective and emotional state. A walk of rejection is different from one of exuberance. A simple method to change our walk and subsequently our presentation is to attach an imaginary string to different parts of the body. The physical and emotional difference between propelling ourselves with our chest versus our knees or chin can be significant. Try it.

Positive Personal Affirmations: Brief, prepared personal statements that help us focus on goals and objectives. Deliberately repeating PPAs is an extremely valuable asset to our recovery and our neural restructuring. SEE The Science of Positive Personal Affirmations

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): This quick and discreet process of muscle relation takes roughly a minute. Each component is held for roughly 10 seconds.

  1. Raise your shoulders up toward your ears… tighten the muscles there. Hold. Release.
  2. Tighten your hands into fists. Very, very tight… as if you are squeezing a rubber ball very tightly in each hand. Hold. Release.
  3. Your forehead – Raise your eyebrows, feeling the tight muscles in your forehead. Hold.  Now scrunch your eyes closed. Hold it. Relax.
  4. Your jaw – Tightly close your mouth, clamping your jaw shut. Your lips will also be tight. Hold it. Release
  5. Breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold it. Release the air through your mouth. Repeat at least three times.

Projected Positive Outcome. Because of our years of life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images, we tend to set unreasonable expectations. The key to recovery, however, is progress, not perfection. We already know the projected negative outcome of a Situation is succumbing to our ANTs. Setting moderate expectations can better guarantee a positive outcome. What would be a reasonable expectation for success? What would satisfy our efforts? Our Projected Positive Outcome should be rational, possible, unconditional, problem-focused, and reasonably attainable.

Projected SUDS Rating: The Subjective Units of Distress Scale self-rates our fears and apprehensions on a scale of 0-100. By projecting a moderate success level, you guarantee ourselves a Win for any Situation. If our initial fear and apprehension SUDs Rating is at a 70, a reasonable and attainable Projected SUDS Rating would be a 65 or 60. Ostensibly, we can achieve that just by showing up.

Rational Responses. It is always prudent to ask ourselves: How logical is my fear? What is the worst that can happen? The answer to that is usually a rational response.

Self-Affirmations: Situationally specific, self-empowering statements designed to improve our self-confidence while fueling our neural network with positive information. Examples: I deserve to be here. I am as significant as anyone else in the room. I am valuable. I will be successful.

Utilizing some or all of these coping skills can provide a dramatic moderation of our fears, apprehensions, and corresponding ANTs. While the process may be challenging due to our life-consistent negative self-beliefs, and images, the scientifically supported power of suggestion tells us that by imitating confidence, competence, and a positive outlook, we can attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. Fake it ’till you make it.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Social Anxiety Disorder: A Definitive Guide

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information.” Alfonso Paredes, CEO, WeVoice.  

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common mental disorders, negatively impacting the emotional and mental well-being of roughly 40 million U.S. adults and adolescents who find themselves caught up in a densely interconnected network of fear and avoidance of social situations. As the third-largest mental health care problem in the world, SAD is culturally identifiable by the persistent fear of social and performance situations.

Social anxiety makes us feel helpless and hopeless, trapped in a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety, and restricted from living a ‘normal’ life. We feel alienated and disconnected – loners filled with uncertainty, hesitation, and trepidation. Our fear of criticism, ridicule, and rejection is so severe, that we avoid the life experiences that interconnect us with others and the world. The irony is, that we have far more to fear from our distorted perceptions than the opinions of others. Our imagination takes us to dark and lonely places.

We fear the unknown and unexplored. We obsess about upcoming events and how we will reveal our shortcomings. We experience anticipatory anxiety for weeks before a situation and anticipate the worst. We feel like we are under a microscope, and everyone is judging us negatively. We worry about what we say, how we look, and how we express ourselves. We worry about what we will say, how we will look, and how others perceive us. We feel undesirable and worthless. 

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Roughly 40 million U.S. adults will experience SAD this year. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that roughly 10% of adolescents currently experience symptoms. Statistics are imperfect for LGBTQ+ persons; the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates the community is twice as likely to contract it than their straight or gender-conforming counterparts. Statistics are fluid, however; a high percentage of persons who experience SAD refuse treatment, fail to disclose it, or choose to remain ignorant of its symptoms. 

SAD is ostensibly the most underrated, misunderstood, and misdiagnosed disorder. It is nicknamed the ‘neglected anxiety disorder’ because few therapists want or have the expertise to tackle it, and the massive number of revisions, substitutions, and changes in defining SAD result in the probability of misdiagnosis. Debilitating and chronic, SAD attacks on all fronts, negatively affecting our entire lived-body. It manifests in mental confusion, emotional instability, physical dysfunction, and spiritual malaise. Emotionally, we are depressed and lonely. In social situations, we are subject to unwarranted sweating,  trembling, hyperventilation, nausea, and muscle spasms. Mentally, our thoughts are discordant and irrational. Spiritually, we define ourselves as inadequate and insignificant. 

The commitment-to-remedy rate for those experiencing SAD is unexemplary ― reflective of symptoms that manifest perceptions of worthlessness and futility. SAD’s poor recovery rates mirror a general inability to afford treatment due to employment instability. Over 70% of us are in the lowest economic group.

SAD is a pathological form of everyday anxiety. Feeling anxious or apprehensive in certain situations is normal; most of us are nervous speaking in front of a group and anxious when visiting our dentist. The typical individual recognizes the normality of a situation and accords it with appropriate attention. We anticipate it, personalize it, dramatize it, and obsess about its negative implications. We make mountains out of molehills.

We are inordinately apprehensive others will think us incompetent, stupid, or undesirable. There is persistent anxiety and fear of social situations such as dating, interviewing for a position, answering a question in class, and dealing with authority. Often, mere functionality in perfunctory situations―eating in front of others, riding a bus, using a public restroom—can be unduly stressful. 

The fear that manifests in social situations can seem so fierce that many believe it is beyond our control, which manifests in perceptions of helplessness and hopelessness. Negative self-evaluation interferes with our desire to pursue a goal, attend school, or do anything that might precipitate our anxiety. We often anguish over things for weeks before they happen and negatively predict the outcomes. We avoid situations where there is the potential for embarrassment or ridicule. After a situation, our imagination creates false scenarios, and we obsess about our prior behavior.

The overriding fear of being found wanting manifests in our self-perspectives of inferiority and unattractiveness. We are unduly concerned we will say something that will reveal our ineptitude. We walk on eggshells, supremely conscious of our awkwardness, surrendering to the GAZE―the anxious state of mind that comes with the fear we are the center of attention. Our social interactions are often clumsy, small talk inelegant, and attempts at humor embarrassing. Our anticipation of repudiation motivates us to dismiss relationship overtures to offset any possibility of rejection. SAD is repressive and intractable, imposing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. SAD establishes its authority through defeatist measures produced by distorted and unsound interpretations of reality that govern our perspectives of attractiveness, intelligence, and desirability. 

Maladaptive Self-Beliefs

Maladaptive is a term created by Aaron Beck, the pioneer of cognitive-behavioral therapy. A unique characteristic of SAD, a maladaptive self-belief is a reaction or perspective unsupported by reality. We can find ourselves in a supportive and approving environment, but SAD tells us we are unwelcome and the subject of ridicule and disparagement. SAD distorts our perception, and we adapt negatively (maladapt) to a positive situation. To analogize, if the room is sunny and welcoming, SAD tells us it is dark and unapproving. 

We circle the block endlessly before entering a situation, then end up avoiding it entirely. We try to hide in the classroom, our hearts pounding, hands sweaty, hoping we will not be asked to contribute. We lie awake at night, consumed by all the stupid things we said and did during the day. We are inordinately concerned about the visibility of our anxiety and are often preoccupied with sexual performance or arousal.

We crave companionship but shun social situations for fear others will find us unattractive or stupid. We avoid speaking in public, expressing opinions, or even fraternizing with peers. We are prone to low self-esteem and high self-criticism due to childhood disturbance which precipitates a disruption in our natural physiological and psychological development, allowing the onset of SAD. 

Then to top it off, we consistently beat ourselves up. We blame ourselves for our lack of social skills. We feel shame for our inadequacies. We guilt ourselves when we avoid getting close to someone, terrified of rejection. We know these feelings are irrational; we know we are not responsible for our emotional dysfunction. But our social anxiety compels us to self-loath and self-destruct. How did this happen to me, we ask ourselves? It originated with our Core Beliefs.

Core and Intermediate Beliefs

Core beliefs are determined by our childhood physiology, heredity, environment, information input, experience, learning, and relationships.

Negative core beliefs are generated by any childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. Any number of things can generate a negative core belief. Our parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. Perhaps we were subject to gender bullying or a broken home. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental. A toddler who finds their parental quality time interrupted by a phone call can feel a sense of abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness and insignificance. This is important when it comes to attributing blame or accountability for our SAD because of the possibility no one is responsible; certainly not the child. 

SAD senses our vulnerability and onsets in adolescence. A combination of genetic and environmental factors drives SAD. Researchers recently discovered a specific serotonin transporter gene called ‘SLC6A4’ that is strongly correlated with susceptibility to the disorder. SAD can linger in our system for years or even decades before asserting itself. 

Core beliefs remain as our belief system throughout life. They mold the unquestioned underlying themes that govern our perceptions. Even if a core belief is irrational or inaccurate, it still defines how we see the world. When we decline to question our core beliefs, we act upon them as though they are real and true.

Core beliefs are more rigid and exclusive in individuals with social anxiety because we tend to store information consistent with negative beliefs and ignore evidence that contradicts them. SAD generates a cognitive bias—a subconscious error in thinking that leads us to misinterpret information, impacting the rationality and accuracy of our perspectives and decisions. 

Negative core beliefs fall within two categories: self-oriented (I am unlovable, I am stupid) and other-oriented (You are unlovable, you are stupid). Individuals with self-oriented negative core beliefs view themselves in one of four ways: 

  • Helpless (I am weak, I am incompetent)
  • Hopeless (nothing can be done about it)
  • Undesirable (no one will like me)
  • Worthless (I don’t deserve to be happy).

These beliefs can lead to fears of intimacy and commitment, an inability to trust, debilitating anxiety, codependence, aggression, feelings of insecurity, isolation, a lack of control over life, and a resistance to new experiences.

We are not defined by our social anxiety,
but by our character strengths, virtues, and attributes.

Individuals expressing other-oriented negative core beliefs view people as demeaning, dismissive, malicious, and manipulative. We tend to blame others for our condition, avoiding personal accountability (I can’t trust anyone). This generates serious anxiety towards situations we perceive as potentially dangerous, causing us to avoid them in anticipation of harm. (A ‘situation’ is defined as the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, situations are the places that generate discomforting anxiety or stress such that it impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life.)

So, we accumulate negative core beliefs due to childhood disturbance and other early-life experiences. They influence our intermediate beliefs which develop our adolescence. The onset of SAD aggravates our negative self-beliefs and images, which generate the fears and anxieties of a situation that form our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). A corresponding intermediate confirmation of the core belief, I am undesirable, might be,  I am unattractive and fat. A corresponding irrational intermediate resolution might be, If I diet and have my nose fixed, I will be desirable

The negative cycle we are in may have convinced us that there is
something wrong with us. That is untrue. The only thing we may be
doing wrong is viewing ourselves and the world inaccurately.

Intermediate beliefs are the go-between our core beliefs and our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). Despite similar core beliefs, we have varying intermediate beliefs; they develop by way of ousocial, cultural, and environmental experiences ― the same things that make up our personality.

Intermediate beliefs establish our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Attitude refers to our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors. Our assumptions are what we believe to be true or real which, in SAD, are irrational and cognitively distorted. Dysfunctional assumptions caused by our negative intermediate beliefs, and consequential to our negative core beliefs, generate our ANTs. Even when we know our fears and apprehensions are irrational, their emotional impact is so great, that our dysfunctional assumptions run roughshod over any healthy, rational response. 

Automatic Negative Thoughts

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are the involuntary, anxiety-provoking emotions that occur in anticipation of or reaction to a feared situation. They are unpleasant expressions of our anxieties and apprehensions―manifestations of our irrational self-beliefs about who we are and how we relate to others, the world, and the future. (I am incompetent; No one will talk to me; I’ll say or do something stupid; they’ll reject me.) They are our predetermined assumptions of what will happen in a situation. 

ANTs are the expressions of our dysfunctional assumptions and distorted beliefs about a Situation that we accept as true. For example, the Situational automatic negative thought  I am ugly and fat and no one will like me) might result from the core belief (I am undesirable), and intermediate belief (I am unattractive). This negative self-appraisal can elicit an endless feedback loop of hopelessness, worthlessness, and undesirability, leading to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

ANTs are cognitively distorted emotions that can lead to maladaptive behaviors. 

Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions are the exaggerated, or irrational thought patterns involved in the onset or perpetuation of anxiety and depression. They are thoughts that cause us to view reality inaccurately. We all engage in cognitive distortions and are usually unaware of doing so. Cognitive distortions reinforce or justify our negative thoughts and behaviors. SAF convinces us these false and inaccurate reactions are the truth of a situation. 

Cognitive distortions define the ANT. I am ugly and fat and no one will like me is a distorted and irrational statement. It is Jumping to Conclusionsassuming we know what another person is feeling and thinking, and why they act the way they do. There is also Personalization, and Labeling-Mislabeling distorting the statement. Cognitive distortions tend to blend and overlap like the symptoms and characteristics of many dysfunctions. 

SEE Thirteen Definitive Cognitive Distortions

Prevalent in social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational, perceptual, and self-destructive. To challenge them, we need to interrogate them to understand their structure. Why do we have these self-destructive thoughts and where did they come from? Without a clear inventory of the causes and consequences of our negative thoughts and behaviors, we do not have a chance of defeating them.

Anxiety is an abstraction; it has no power on its own.
We fuel it, giving it strength and power.

Love and Friendship

In unambiguous terms, the desire for love is at the heart of social anxiety disorder because of our inability to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Our fear of rejection makes social interconnectivity challenging. Our compunction to reject to offset the possibility of rejection is borne by our perception of undesirability. We crave companionship but shun the possibility for fear of appearing unlikeable, stupid, or annoying, which limits our potential for comradeship. Our low self-esteem and high self-criticism keep us from fraternizing with peers, and this avoidance prevents the enjoyment of being with others who share our hobbies and interests. 

Friendship. Aristotle called philia one of the most indispensable requirements of life. A healthy friendship is a bonding of individuals with mutual experiences―a platonic affection that subsists on shared experience and personal disclosure. A core symptom of SAD is the fear of revealing something that will make us appear stupid or undesirable. Even the anticipation of interaction causes physical and emotional anxiety because of our anticipation of being found wanting.

Physical/Emotional. Eros is reciprocal feelings of shared arousal between people physically attracted to each other, the fulfillment expressed by the sexual act. Our dysfunctional self-image of unlikability, coupled with fears of intimacy and rejection, challenges our ability to establish and maintain romantic relationships. Studies show that, due to our fear of intimacy and sexual incompetence, we experience less sexual satisfaction than non-anxious individuals 

Unconditional. Through the universal mandate to love thy neighbor, the concept of agape embraces unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance. To love unequivocally, one must self-love in the same fashion, a quality challenged by our symptomatic self-disparagement and lacuna of self-esteem.

Family. The disruption in our natural human development due to childhood disturbance and subsequent onset impedes satisfaction of physiological safety and belongingness and love. As a result, familial love and protection, vital to the healthy development of the family unit is severely impacted, challenging our ability or willingness to recognize and embrace the family unit. 

Playful and Provocative: Our conflict with the provocative playfulness of ludus is evident in our fears of criticism and rejection. We do not find social interaction pleasurable, always expecting the worst. Our self-perceptions of inadequacy generally manifest in awkward and inappropriate social behavior 

Practical relationships are formed by mutual interests and goals securing a working and endurable partnership. They endure through rational behavior and expectation―a balanced and constructive quality counterintuitive to someone whose modus operandi is discordant thought and behavior. The pragmatic individual deals with relationships sensibly and realistically, conforming to typical standards of conduct. Our symptomatic fears are irrational and cognitively distorted 

There is a large body of research linking healthy relationships with positive mental and physical health outcomes. Productive associations lead us to the recognition of our value to society and motivate us toward building communities for the welfare of others. These relationships are developed through social connectedness ― a central psychological requirement for better emotional development and wellbeing. Social connectedness is strongly associated with our level of self-esteem.

Comorbidity and Misdiagnosis

SAD is routinely comorbid with depression and substance abuse. It shares symptoms and characteristics with avoidant personality, panic, generalized anxiety, bipolar personality, obsessive-compulsive, dependent personality, histrionic personality, post-traumatic stress, and eating disorders.

Coupled with the discrepancies and disparity in SADs definition, epidemiology, assessment, and treatment, mainstream medical authorities point to the poor reliability of conventional psychiatric diagnosis. A recent Canadian study reported, that of 289 participants in sixty-seven clinics meeting DSM-IV criteria for SAD, 76.4% were misdiagnosed. The Anxiety Institute in Phoenix reports an estimated 8.2% of clients had generalized anxiety, but just 0.5% were correctly diagnosed. Experts cite the mental health community’s difficulty distinguishing the symptoms and traits of dysfunctions or identifying specific etiological risk factors due to the DSM’s failing reliability statistics. 

The DSM changes drastically from one edition to the next, while the American Psychiatric Association swears by its credibility. Criteria change with each edition, often without evidence that the new approach is better than the prior one. The abundant revisions, substitutions, and changes from one edition to the next is never universally accepted. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and researchers who specialize in or survive by funding are justifiably protective of their territory. Even under the best circumstance with a knowledgeable and caring clinician, it is difficult to get a proper diagnosis. 

But there is hope. We can learn to moderate those fears and anxieties that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. A comprehensive recovery program guides us through the process of proactive neuroplasticity to restructure our neural network from the years of negative self-beliefs to an appreciation of our value and significance. An integration of science and east-west psychologies is necessary to capture the diversity of human thought and experience in recovery. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity and psychobiography; cognitive-behavioral self-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. Included are targeted approaches to help us rediscover and reinvigorate our self-esteem.

Recovery takes persistence and perseverance to endure the deliberate, repetitive input of information necessary to compensate for years of negative core and intermediate self-beliefs. However, once we begin the process, progress is exponential. It is physiologically and psychologically felt as we implement and experience the tools and techniques of recovery.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Affirmative Visualization

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

Affirmative Visualization

Affirmative Visualization is another viable tool in recovery from social anxiety and its common comorbidities, including depression and substance abuse. The neural benefits of visualization are scientifically supported through studies and the neuroscientific understanding of neuroplasticity. Like positive personal affirmations (PPAs), the graded exposure or systematic desensitization of Affirmative Visualization (some experts call it imaginal exposure) alleviates anxiety in a structured, unthreatening environment. PPAs are concise, predetermined, positive statements. Affirmative Visualizations are positive outcome scenarios that we mentally recreate by imagining or visualizing them. Both are underscored by the Laws of Learning, which explain what conditions must be present for learning (or unlearning) to occur and how to accelerate and consolidate the process through proactive neuroplasticity

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

We label the process as Affirmative to emphasize the positivity of the visualizations to counteract our natural negative bias and the predisposition of the emotionally dysfunctional to set negative outcome scenarios due to life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images.

Through Affirmative Visualization, we envision behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through deliberate repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued by visualization.

As we know, our brain is in a constant mode of learning; it never stops realigning to information. It forms a million new connections for every input. Information includes experience, muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, tactile impression, a twitch. With each input, connections strengthen and weaken, neurons atrophy and others are born, learning replaces unlearning, energy dissipates and expands, beneficial hormones are neurally transmitted, and functions shift from one region to another. Proactively stimulating our brain with deliberate, repetitive neural information utilizing Affirmative Visualization accelerates and consolidates learning (and unlearning), producing a correlated change in thought, behavior, and perspective. These changes become habitual and spontaneous over time.

Our brain provides the same neural restructuring when we visualize doing something or when we actually do it; the same regions of our brain are stimulated. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and productive information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it.

The thalamus is the small structure within our brain located just above the stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It has extensive nerve connections to both. All information passes through the thalamus and onto the millions of participating neurons. By visualizing an idea or performance repeatedly for an extended period, we increase activity in the thalamus and our brain responds as though the idea is a real object or actually happening.

Our thalamus makes no distinction between inner and outer realities. It does not distinguish whether we are imagining something or experiencing it. Thus, any idea, if contemplated long enough, will take on a semblance of reality. If we visualize a solution to a problem, the problem is systemically resolved because visualizing activates the cognitive circuits involved with our working memory.

Research reveals that visualizing an event in advance improves our mental and physical performance. When we visualize what we want to achieve, we consciously source information that will improve our performance outcomes, dramatically improving the likelihood of success in the real situation.

We can visualize mitigating anxiety and performing better, or we can envision being a more empathetic or competent individual. Our neural repatterning will help us achieve those goals. The more we visualize with clear intent, the more focused we become and the higher the probability of achieving our goal. It activates our dopaminergic-reward system, decreasing the neurotransmissions of anxiety and fear-provoking hormones, and accelerating and consolidating those that make learning more accessible. In addition, when we visualize, our brain generates alpha waves which, neuroscientists have discovered, can dramatically reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

DRNI: Proactively Restructuring Our Neural Network

Dr. Robert F.Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

DRNI

The deliberate, repetitive neural input of information

Neuroplasticity is scientific evidence of our neural network’s constant adaptation to learning. Neuroscientists refer to the process as structural remodeling of the brain. It is what makes learning and registering new experiences possible. All information notifies our neural circuits to realign, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. 

What is significant is our ability to dramatically accelerate learning by consciously compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information (DRNI) empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. It is the most effective means of learning and unlearning.

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaption to information. Information includes thought, behavior, experience, sensation, etc. Active neuroplasticity is achieved through cognitive pursuits such as engaging in social interaction, teaching, aerobics, and creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most effective means of learning and unlearning because the regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information accelerates and consolidates restructuring. 

Neurons do not act by themselves but through neural circuits that strengthen or weaken their connections based on electrical activity. The deliberate, repetitious, input of information impels neurons to fire repeatedly, causing them to wire together. The more repetitions, the more robust the new connection. This is called Hebbian Learning.

Hebbian Learning

Hebbian Learning

Synaptic connections consolidate when two or more neurons activate contiguously. Neural circuits are like muscles, the more repetitions, the more durable the connection. Hebb’s rule of neuroplasticity states neurons that fire together wire together. When multiple neurons wire together, they create more pre- and post-synaptic neurons. Repeated firing strengthens and solidifies the pathways between neurons. The activity of the axon pathway is heightened, causing the synapses to accelerate the release of hormones that generate the commitment, persistence, and perseverance useful to recovery or the pursuit of personal goals and objectives.

We not only prompt our neural network to restructure by deliberately inputting information, but through repetition, we cause circuits to strengthen and realign, speeding up the process of learning and unlearning. 

What happens when multiple neurons wire together? Every input of information, intentional or otherwise, causes a receptor neuron to fire. Each time a neuron fires, it reshapes and strengthens the axon connection and the neural bond. The more repetitions, the more neurons are impacted, creating multiple connections between receptor, sensory, and relay neurons, attracting other neurons. An increase in learning efficacy arises from the sensory neuron’s repeated and persistent stimulation of the postsynaptic cell. Postsynaptic neurons multiply, amplifying the positive or negative energy of the information.

The consequence of DRNI over a long period is obvious. Multiple firings accelerate and consolidate learning. In addition, DRNI activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information generates higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) proteins associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory. 

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

We know how challenging it is to change, to remove ourselves from hostile environments, to break habits that interfere with our optimum functioning. We are physiologically hard-wired to resist anything that jeopardizes our status quo. Our brain’s inertia senses and repels changes, and our basal ganglia resist any modification in behavior patterns. DRNI empowers us to assume accountability for our emotional wellbeing and quality of life by proactively controlling the input of information.

Neural Reciprocity

Neural restructuring does not happen overnight. Recovery-remission is a year or more in recovery utilizing appropriate tools and techniques. Meeting personal goals and objectives takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. Substance abuse programs recommend nurturing a plant or tropical fish during the first year before contemplating a personal relationship. The successful pursuit of any ambition varies by individual and is subject to multiple factors. However, once we begin the process of DRNI, progress is exponential. Our brain reciprocates the positivity of our efforts in abundance because every viable input of information engages millions of neurons with their own energy transmission. 

DRNI plays a crucial role in reciprocity. The chain reaction generated by a single neural receptor involves millions of neurons that amplify energy on a massive scale. The reciprocating energy from DRNI is vastly more abundant because of the repeated firing by the neuron receptor. Positive energy in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Conversely, negative energy in, negative energy multiplied millions of times, negative energy is reciprocated in abundance. 

Neurotransmissions

Our brain does not think; it is an organic reciprocator that provides the means for us to think. Its function is the maintenance of our heartbeat, nervous system, blood flow, etc. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion.

Because our brain does not distinguish healthy from toxic information, the natural neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That is one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or recovering is challenging. The power of DRNI is that a regimen of positive, repetitive input can compensate for decades of irrational, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and provide the mental and emotional wherewithal to effectively pursue our personal goals and objectives. 

We receive neurotransmissions of GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to elevate our mood, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenalin improves concentration. In addition, information reduces the impact of the fear and anxiety-provoking hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. When we input negative information, our brain naturally releases neurotransmitters that support that negativity. 

Conversely, every time we provide positive information, our brain releases hormones that make us feel viable and productive, subverting the negative energy channeled by the things that impede our potential. 

Definitions

Dysfunction and discomfort are conditions that can result in functional impairment and impact our quality of life. The difference is in severity. A dysfunction is a diagnosable condition that psychiatrists label a mental illness or disorder. Discomfort does not rise to the level of diagnosability but is holistically disruptive, nonetheless.

Personal goals and objectives are those things we want to change about ourselves: eliminating a bad habit or behavior, improving life satisfaction, and revitalizing self-esteem. The benefits of DRNI cannot be underestimated. The deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information significantly improves the probability of recovery. Likewise, it empowers us to pursue those personal goals and objectives that make our lives more viable and productive. 

Constructing the Information

Deliberate neural, information is structured by context, content, and intention, which determine the integrity of the information and its correlation to durability and learning efficacy. The most effective information is calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors of our dysfunction? Are we reaffirming the character strengths and virtues that support recovery and transformation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we want to achieve? Content is the actual phrasing of our intent; words have meaning.

The process is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not put on tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

ReChanneling: Updates and Happenings, June 2022

YouTube Series on Proactive Neuroplasticity

ReChanneling has produced the fifth YouTube installment on Proactive Neuroplasticity – Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts. In this video, we focus on the trajectory of our self-destructive thoughts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. They originate with our negative core beliefs generated by childhood disturbance and the adolescent-onset of disorder, which influence our intermediate beliefs to form our ANTs or automatic negative thoughts that underscore our situational fears and anxieties. LINK

9/1/22

WeVoice

Dr. Mullen is currently advising WeVoice in the development of technological support systems Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, WeVoice is a program of mental health utilizing Adaptive 3D Sound Healing powered by Voice Emotion-AI.

Academia.edu

Academia.edu is currently offering two ReChanneling courses: Neuroscience and Happiness: A Guide to Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change and Social Anxiety in the LGBTQ+ Community.

Guest Blog

A Canadian mental health website published Proactive Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change which we have reposted to the ReChanneling website.

Recent Posts

Affirmative Visualization
DRNI: Proactively Restructuring Our Neural Network
The Science of Positive Personal Affirmations

… and, of course, everything on the ReChanneling website is constantly updated as the program continues to evolve and flourish.

ReChanneling currently facilitates roughly 800 individuals with social anxiety disorder in our two discussion groups. Social Anxiety and Proactive Neuroplasticity and LGBTQ+ Social Anxiety Group

A third discussion group, ReChanneling: Recovery and Empowerment focuses on proactive neuroplasticity in the pursuit of goals and objectives.

Early this year, Palgrave MacMillan published Dr. Mullen’s “Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography. The Character Motivations of the ‘Ordinary’ Extraordinary’” in C.-E. Mayer, P. Fouche, R. van Niekerk, Psychobiographical Illustrations on Meaning and Identity in Sociocultural Contexts, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2022.  Available at Amazon and other book retailers.

You can access other publications in the Value of Psychobiography

Mullen’s ‘Enlisting Positive Psychologies to Challenge Love Within SAD’s Culture of Maladaptive Self-Beliefs’ in Springer’s Handbook of Love. Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives has been uploaded to ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Contact us to request a copy.

Matty Saven

The Science of Positive Personal Affirmations

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. WeVoice.

To appreciate the importance of positive personal affirmations, we must understand the science of proactive neuroplasticity and the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information or DRNI.

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the scientific evidence of our brain’s constant adaptation to information. Without plasticity, our human brain would be incapable of learning, our body incapable of sustaining life. Research has firmly established that our neural network is a dynamic organism, constantly modifying and rebuilding to every new input of information. It is how we embrace new experiences, learn new information, and create new memories.

Scientists refer to the process of neuroplasticity as structural remodeling of the brain.

What is exciting is that we can dramatically accelerate the brain’s adaptability to new learning by deliberately compelling it to reconfigure and repattern its neural circuitry, proactively transforming our thoughts, behaviors, and perspectives, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities.

The importance of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive, neural information of positive personal affirmations cannot be overstated: DRNI facilitates our capacity to compel proactive neuroplasticity – to personally manipulate and control our emotional wellbeing and quality of life.

The Trajectory of Neural Information

Our neural pathways are not fixed but dynamic and malleable. Every input of information causes a receptor neuron to fire, transmitting electrical energy, neuron to neuron and throughout the nervous system. Information comes in the form of sight, noises, experience, phenomena, the prick of a needle. Anything and everything that impacts us whether consciously or unconsciously. This information impacts a receptor cell which relays it to a sensory neuron. At the same time, this information is algorithmically coded into positive or negative electrical energy. The sensory neuron fires the electrical energy to a terminal or post-synaptic cell which then forwards that information throughout the neural network. More relay neurons develop, and circuits realign and strengthen causing a cellular chain reaction that engages millions of participating neurons.

Three Forms of Neuroplasticity

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural unconscious adaption to information. Sight, noises, phenomena, and so on. Active neuroplasticity happens through cognitive pursuits such as learning, engaging in social interactions, teaching, aerobics, and creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the conscious and deliberate neural input of information. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most potent and effective means of neural restructuring because the calculated regimen of repetitive input compels our neural network to restructure. The deliberate repetition of positive personal affirmations is a very effective method of proactive neuroplasticity because the repeated input of positive information causes multiple receptor neurons to fire, dramatically accelerating and consolidating learning and unlearning. In the case of social anxiety disorder, it is the cognitive process of countering years of negative self-beliefs with positive or constructive information.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

We drastically underestimate the significance and effectiveness of PPAs because we don’t understand the science behind them. PPAs help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds. PPAs are brief, individually focused statements that we repeat to ourselves to describe what and who we want to be.

PPAs should be rational, reasonable, possible, unconditional, problem-focused, brief, and first-person present time. Rational because our objective is to subvert the irrationality of our negative self-beliefs.

Rational: The objective is to challenge the negative self-beliefs and image generated by dysfunction and/or life experiences.

Reasonable: Sensible; of sound judgment. The PPA I will publish my first novel is an unreasonable expectation if we choose to remain illiterate.

Possible: If goals are impossible, efforts are counter-productive and futile. I will win a Grammy is probably not a viable option for the tone-deaf.

Problem or Goal-focused: the path to an unknown destination will be inconclusive and meandering.

Unconditional: Independent of self-imposed restrictions.

First-person, present time: The past is immutable; the future indeterminate but projectable.

Brief: Direct and easily memorized.

Think of PPAs as aspirations or self-fulfilling prophecies. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely effective form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information.

Neural Reciprocation

Our brain reciprocates our efforts in abundance because every viable input of information engages millions of neurons with their own energy transmission. 

Our brain is an organic reciprocator. It codes our information into negative or positive electrical energy. The energy of the information is reciprocated in abundance because a single neuron receptor will engage millions of neurons, each with its own energy transmissions, amplifying the energy on a massive scale. Multiple repetitions of positive information activate millions of neurons reciprocating positive energy in abundance. Positive energy in, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Conversely, negative energy in, negative energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Neurotransmissions

It is important to understand that our brain does not think; it provides the means for us to think along with certain intangibles like advanced consciousness. Our brain’s function is the maintenance of our heartbeat, nervous system, and blood flow. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion. 

Because our brain does not think, it is unable to distinguish healthy from toxic information, so the natural and constant neurotransmissions of pleasurable and motivational hormones happen whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information.

That’s one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or achieving the desired goal is challenging and why positive informational input is crucial for recovery and self-transformation.

Of the nine hormones most impactful to our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, two have a direct bearing on our levels of stress and anxiety that interfere with recovery and our pursuit of goals and objectives.

Cortisol and adrenaline are fear and anxiety-provoking hormones. PPAs assist in decreasing their productivity. We can also alleviate the toxicity of these hormones through progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, and other positive reinforcement approaches but PPAs are an effective means of alleviating the detrimental effects of cortisol and adrenaline.

The supportive hormones include GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to elevate our mood, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenaline improves concentration. We want those rewards for positive information.

Theory posits that eleven repetitions of anything initiate the power of suggestion. Repeating a series of three PPAs 5 times, 3 times a day (which takes, roughly, two minutes) generates forty-five cellular chain reactions supporting the restructuring of our neural network.

Hebb’s Rule

Hebb’s rule states neurons that fire together, wire together. In other words, the more neurons communicate with one another, the stronger the connection (Hebbian Learning). The stronger the connection, the more neural reciprocation and hormonal support. Our neural circuits are like muscles. The more repetitions, the more flexible and powerful they become. PPAs – the conscious repetition of information correlates to more robust learning and unlearning.

Diligently repeating positive personal affirmations equates to the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information (DRNI) essential to proactive neuroplasticity. Proactive neuroplasticity through DRNI is the most potent and effective means of learning and unlearning. It increases activity in the self-processing systems of the cortex, which counteracts years of negative neural input from our automatic negative thoughts and behaviors (ANTs).

An increase in learning efficacy arises from the repeated and persistent stimulation of PPAs. This activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors are proteins that neurons need for survival. The deliberate repetitive neural input of information generates higher levels of BDNF, which is associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory.

Constructing Our PPAs

The strongest and most effective PPAs are calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the core and intermediate negative beliefs that condition our behavior and negatively impact our self-esteem and motivation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? Are we embracing our character strengths, attributes, and virtues that support recovery and transformation? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we seek to achieve? Intention and content determine the integrity of information and its correlation to the durability and learning efficacy of the neural response.

Intention: How are we expediting our objective? What is our constructive plan of attack? If our goal is to become better educated, what are we going to study? What sources of information do we utilize? How are we going to challenge misinformation? If we are challenging our ANTs, which character strength do we emphasize, and which deficits do we challenge? What is our plan to utilize these strengths or deficits? 

Content: What are the actual words that construct our neural information—the statement that addresses the context and intention of our goal? What is the best mode of delivery that will cause the receptor neuron to spark and engage the full range of positive neural responses? 

Clarity on our intention expressed by correct content determines the integrity of information and its correlation to the durability and learning efficacy of the neural response.

Neural restructuring does not happen overnight. Recovery and achieving personal goals and objectives take persistence, perseverance, and patience. Recovery-remission from social anxiety is a year or more in recovery utilizing appropriate tools and techniques. Substance abuse programs recommend nurturing a plant or tropical fish during the first year before contemplating a personal relationship. However, once we begin the process of PPAs, progress is exponential.

Recommendation:
Repeat your series of three PPAs 5 times.
Do this at least 3 times a day.
Modify monthly.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Rechanneling Our Personal Disharmony

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Everything is connected. It is the first and most foundational
law of the universe. The universal law of oneness.

Complementarity is a state or system of complementary components combined in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other. We are concerned here with the complementarity or simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Every thought and behavior is supported by their collaboration. They work in concert.

Complementarity is further defined as the inherent cooperation of our human system components in maintaining physiological equilibrium. It is essential for sustainability-of-life, our condition, and our recovery and pursuit of goals and objectives. 

Our mind, body, spirit, and emotions collaborate in the holism of our personality. They are its gestalt – interconnected parts of the whole that cannot exist independently of the whole or each other. Each component overlaps, influences, and is interdependent on the others, albeit one dominates until or unless superseded by another. (Spirit is defined by our mood, attitude, and temperament.)

The importance of recognizing complementarity in our recovery and pursuit of goals and objectives cannot be undervalued. The simultaneous mutual interaction of our mind, body, spirit, and emotions allows us to isolate a component in disharmony and rechannel it to another. We already do this instinctively. We jog to calm troublesome thoughts. Physical pain is mitigated by mental distractions. Emotional distress diverges to a more analytical or spiritual state.

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

ReChanneling

Rechanneling is simply taking a healthier and more productive route. In complementarity. The act of rechanneling is to subvert one component over another. Mind to emotion, body to mind, emotion to spirit, etc. When one becomes intolerable and self-destructive, we rechannel to alleviate its toxicity. Proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral self-modification, and positive psychology rechannel negative information to healthy neural input.

Situation is the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, the Situation is often an occasion or event. In our pursuit of goals, the Situation might be the circumstances that impede our objectives. 

Automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are the conscious or subconscious anxiety-provoking thoughts that occur in anticipation of or reaction to Situations. ANTs are generated by our negative self-beliefs and expressed by our body, mind, spirit, and emotions They are unpleasant expressions of our fears and apprehensions. In social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational and self-destructive. In the pursuit of goals and objectives, they are self-defeating. 

Stressors are things that cause internal or external pressure. They are the negative self-beliefs that impact our social anxiety and pursuit of goals and objectives. Stressors generate our ANTsTriggers are situational stimuli (anticipated or actual things or occurrences that precipitate our ANTs). Situations generate our triggers. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

A comprehensive program of recovery or motivation addresses our stressors and ANTs through tools and techniques targeting the individual personality. But how can we alleviate them in the immediacy of a Situation, whether unexpected, anticipated, or recurring? We rechannel the negatively impacted component to another. When ‘A’ is overwhelming and self-destructive, we diverge it to ‘B’, ‘C’, or ‘D’ to mitigate “A.” (Mind to emotion, body to mind, emotion to spirit, etc.)

Here are some examples of Situations, associated fears, and their corresponding ANTs.

Networking at a crowded event, we recognize someone that could be beneficial to our career. Our ANT persuades us we will make a fool of ourselves and be subsequently rejected. I will say something stupid. They will reject me.

We are scheduled to make a brief presentation to our office managers, but our ANT is one of awkwardness and ineptitude. We are overwhelmed by a sense of imperfection and subordination.  I am stupid. They will criticize me.

While waiting for a job interview, we begin to sweat, and our heart palpitates; we become nauseous

Distractions and Diversions

How do we counter the emotions of the first example, the spiritual defeatism of the second, and the physical discomfort of the third? We rechannel them to another component utilizing prepared distractions and diversions. (Although ANTs are ostensibly negative thoughts, they are underscored by the emotion of the corresponding fears and apprehensions. Even physical manifestations are the result of our anxieties.)

Distractions are chosen objects that momentarily rechannel our attention from our automatic negative thoughts. Diversions are planned activities that do the same. A distraction could be an item in the room – a painting or vase – that we focus on (emotion to mind) or pricking a pushpin in our pocket (emotion to body). A diversion, on the other hand, could be creating caricatures of individuals in the room (emotion to mind) or clearing a table of empty glasses (emotion to body).  ReChanneling is the diverging waterway; distractions and diversions are the steering mechanisms, Rechanneling is the goal; distractions and diversions are the objectives – the methods utilized to achieve the goal.

This is complex and takes work. A comprehensive recovery or motivational program values the importance of preparing individualized tactics or coping skills to challenge our situational fears and corresponding ANTs. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction 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 reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.