Saturday, August 11, 2007

thoughts are real

I am reading a book: WHO SWITCHED OFF MY BRAIN? by Caroline Leaf. The subtitle of her book is "controlling toxic thoughts and emotions."

Something that is getting through to me is that thoughts are real. I.e., they make measurable, actual changes in the chemistry and electronics in our brains. Dendrons (dendrites) grow. Peptides flow. Connections are made.

In the past, I have observed that, when reading a book multiple times, we get more out of it in each successive reading. All I have said before is that "we have been changed by what we read, so that the person viewing it the next time is not the same person who read it the previous time."

Leaf's book has added some quantitative information to my model, by describing the biochemical changes that take place when we experience events, and when we think thoughts.

Thoughts are real. When we think, connections are made in our brain and other organs. Along with the physical growth of neural connections, the stress-related chemicals (peptides, etc.) are stored and associated with the memory of the event.

A memory consists of both the information content and the emotional content of the event, and both sets of associated information are stored together in our brains. I.e., the thought is something real.

When we remember (have a thought about--retrace the neurons that make up the memory of) the event, we remember (and re-experience) the emotion, as well.

Sometimes, the emotional content is so strong that we repress the memory, to avoid re-experiencing the negative emotions mixed in with the thought.

This is how we cope with bad experiences.

Leaf's book ends with a list of things we can do to eliminate the toxic parts of the thoughts.


Ask A Life Purpose Coach said...

Great insight! What are some of the things we can do to eliminate the toxic parts of the thoughts?

BillC said...

Answer posted as August 19 blog.