Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Breaking Bad Habits – Mindfulness Changes Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Making Changes

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Daily Relaxation and Deep Breathing

Learning to relax and reset the mind and the body is essential for your everyday health and wellbeing.
Deep breathing and mindfulness meditation are proven and effective in relieving stress, anxiety and depression.
Learn how to breath deeply to boost your mood, re-focus the mind and get a good nights rest by learning this easy and effective tool. Only a few minutes a day of mindfulness and meditation has been proven to change your chemistry, balance your emotions and help you to think more clearly.

Find out more on deep breathing here –

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio’s Jar or the platform that this content is provided on.

We provide resources that are selected on their relevance and authenticity.

We, however, do not necessarily hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mindfulness in the mainstream.

Since founded in 1979 by  Jon Kabat – Zinn, Mindfulness or MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) has been used the world over in hospitals, corporations, the military and schools as a form of brain training, stress reduction and cognitive boost.

There are over 600 published studies verifying mindfulness meditations effectiveness in reducing stress, building mental resilience, improving cognition and helping the body to repair itself.

The Doctor Who Took Kids Off Drugs

Dr Chris van Tulleken takes over part of a GP surgery and stops patients’ prescription pills. This time, his focus is on children on medication and taking them off drugs. (English, SBS)

https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/the-doctor-who-took-kids-off-drugs

Because of the effectiveness mindfulness has in developing self-awareness, emotional self-regulation, cognition and concentration it has application in the treatment of cognitive disorders like ADHD in children have been adopted and explored by clinicians and psychologist as an alternative to medication.

ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurobiological impairment and not a product of bad parenting. ADHD affects people in different ways and the symptoms and severity can differ. People that have ADHD can have difficulty with planning, being motivated, regulating behaviour and emotions, sitting still, paying attention, memory, and making friends.

Not everyone with ADHD appears to be over-energetic, some people have problems with motivation, making decisions or remembering what to do next and can be labelled as lazy when they are not.

Other Traits Of ADHD

  • Being sensitive to sounds and lights
  • Touch sensitive
  • Inability to express emotions
  • Impulsive relationships
  • Intense emotional fluctuations
  • Anxiety
  • Indecision
  • Low motivation

Seeing things as they really are

Mindfulness is a style of mediation derived from Tibetan Buddhist practices of  Vippasana, (which means to see things as they really are). A lot of what we experience is filtered through the lens of our own emotions, expectations, awareness and cognitive bias. 

Mindfulness style meditation helps to separate our attachments to thoughts, feelings and emotions and help us to look upon the world in a more objective way. It gives us greater clarity which means we have a more positive outlook and the skill to navigate our attention and our choices.

Mindfulness helps us to maintain concentration so we then recognise when our mind is wandering off. We also can then observe the fluctuation of negative thoughts and feelings without bias and through effort retrain the mind to be more positive.

Practising mindfulness daily has been proven to increase working memory which means information is stored in long-term memory which helps students to perform better in exams, cope with stress and perform tasks that require prolonged attention.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio's Jar and platforms content is provided on.

We do not hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits – How Changing Your Habits Can Rewire Your Brain

Habits

One of the greatest developments in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural psychology is the knowledge that the mind and the brain are in fact two separate things and that with the power of your awareness you can change the structure and the chemistry of your own brain.

With the knowledge that you can use mindfulness to rewire your brain, the treatment of behavioural disorders and mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder, (a debilitating mental illness that is a result of faulty brain circuitry) can now be undone and managed in a way that may no longer require the use of pharmaceuticals.

There is still so much to be learned on the illnesses of the mind, so much so, that contemporary psychiatry is at least 100 years behind general medicine. Research into mental illness has shown that in 30 years there has been no improvement in the use of pharmacology for the treatment of anxiety and depression, mood disorders or addiction and human happiness has not improved either.

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Compulsive disorders like Terrets, OCD, ADD, ADHD and hoarding are really no different to gambling addictions, alcoholism, drug addiction, overspending and overeating: in the sense that they all promote the chemical release of Dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating the sensation of pleasure in the body. 

The dopamine centre in the brain is embedded with the habit centre that is why actions that trigger the reward centre (where dopamine is made) in the brain are more likely to be repeated. Behaviours that trigger a larger release of dopamine in the brain are easy to make and very difficult to break.

Habits are formed when you repeat a behaviour over and over until it eventually becomes wired in. Once programmed into your brain the behaviour becomes automatic and you become unaware of it. Learning your timetables, a song, or how to walk home from school are all consciously programmed habits that eventually become automatic.

Other habits can be formed involuntarily or compulsively as a result of unconscious behavioural problems, emotional and chemical imbalances in the brain or the impulse to avoid uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Compulsive overeating, overspending, drug use, gambling and other self-sabotaging behaviours are related to avoiding uncomfortable sensations in the body.

Unwanted thoughts and the compulsive need to perform a ritual behaviour like handwashing, counting, checking and ticking (repetitive movements) are all part of the need to alleviate the uncomfortable feelings that can arise from the faulty circuitry and leaky chemistry inside your head. People with OCD that have intrusive thoughts will continue to repeat the thought with the idea that thinking it and checking on it will make it go away, but instead of it dissipating, it just strengthens the desire to repeat it.

These behavioural loops are absolutely debilitating and can keep people from becoming who they want to be. Some loops are so extreme that people with these illnesses cannot live normal lives, form proper relationships or even leave their house. The inability to break the loop is described as a ‘Brain Lock’ by Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. an American psychiatrist that has spent over 20 years of research in the fields of neuropsychology and neuroplasticity. Through his research into compulsive illnesses, he has discovered that these ‘Brains Locks’ can be undone with mindfulness and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Stop Feeding The Beast – Breaking Bad Habits

The more often you repeat a behaviour the stronger the urge to do it again becomes, this is because you are strengthening the neurological pathways that connect the impulse to the action in the brain.  If you stop feeding the impulse the urge will eventually die.

The compulsion to repeat negative behaviours usually proceeds an uncomfortable sensation in the body. Uncomfortable feelings are the result of your body releasing chemicals and hormones that make you feel intense sensations of uneasiness, stress, fear, panic or anxiety. Our natural response to these sensations is to make them go away as soon as possible.

Becoming aware of your feelings and understanding that the physical discomfort you are experiencing is short-lived will help you to overcome the need to feed your beast. Uncomfortable sensations and emotions are a part of being a human and knowing that they come and go will help you to reduce their impact on your life.

Once you are aware of the sensations and emotions that drive your behaviour you can begin inserting a positive action, consciously and lovingly when they occur, actively reframing your focus and rewiring your brain.
Suggested interventions that are simple and effective at the time the negative or intense feelings arise could be; having a glass of water, taking a walk, jumping up and down or practising a breathing exercise.

Giving yourself this little bit of space between the impulse and the action will draw light on your ability to navigate the mind away from your brain. The space created helps you to unlock the brain from the mind and dissolve the patterns that are embedded into your psyche.

Top Tips For Killing the Beast

  • Recognise the sensation the impulse creates in your body – normally negative impulses make your body feel tight and constricted and good ones make you feel open and relaxed.
  • Make the choice to sit through uncomfortable sensations for 90 seconds
  • Make a plan – have a strategy in place for when urges arise for example – when you want to eat chocolate consciously have a glass of water instead so that over time when you have the impulse to eat chocolate your action will be to drink a glass of water.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness – becoming attuned to your inner self, thoughts, feelings and emotions will help you tackle pre-programmed habits that no longer serve your greater purpose in life.
  • Positivity practices like mantra and mindfulness help to repattern the brain as you manually and thoughtful train yourself to be kind, compassionate, self-loving and aware.
  • Mediation and yoga help you to relax and refocus the mind away from the negative and reframe it to the positive, this repeated practice helps to strengthen the positive pathways in your brain and weaken the negative ones.
  • Deep breathing exercises help you to rebalance and refocus the mind and body and reduce the stress hormones that generate uncomfortable feelings.

Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKy19WzkPxE&t=690s

Uncomfortable Feelings Are Short-lived

The urge to repeat a behaviour – or the compulsion only lasts approximately 90 seconds according to Dr Joan Rosenberg a clinical psychologist and motivational speaker.

Dr Rosenberg has the formula to help people with deal with uncomfortable sensations and feelings which she calls the “Rosenberg Reset” – it is 3 steps to approaching uncomfortable feelings:

Step 1. Making a choice

Step 2. Dealing with the 8 uncomfortable feelings

Step 3. 90 Seconds of separation – meaning waiting out the feelings for a minute and a half.

She says the key to happiness and success is our ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and also make accurate and meaningful decisions moment to moment.

Dr Jeffrey M Schwartz ‘You are not your brain’ at Mind & Its Potential 2011

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcrGlUHlu4M&t=1480s&list=PL9uvtvecXuuD8zWM_rpxIccJRmzYfjJa1&index=3

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D. is an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity and its application to obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research has significantly impacted the treatment of serious compulsive disorders like OCD and confirms that contemplative practices like yoga and meditation change the brain.

In his 20 years of research into the compulsive disorders of the mind, DR. Schwartz confirmed that the mind – the immaterial can change the material meaning that the adage ‘Mind over Matter’ is on point. It confirms that our self actually exists beyond the physical body and is an intelligence that is unseen and immaterial, yet very real.

You are not your body but a spiritual being inhabiting the body just got very real.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

The Ocean Breath – A Pranayama Breath Technique

The Ocean Breath – A Pranayama Breath Technique

The Ocean Breath

The Breath is an amazing tool that can be used to reshape the mind and body.
The Ocean Breath is a pranayama breath practice that is used in meditation and yoga as a way to unify the mind and the body.
The breath is slow, rhythmical with a distinctive hushing and snoring sound that qualifies this technique and the ocean breath.

Practised frequently and accurately, the ocean breath formally named the Ujjayi Breath will help you to live longer, feel better and get smarter. To find out more on the magic of breath practices follow this link to the Just Breathe Blog where you will find an entire library of free resources for all ages.

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

The views and opinions in the supplied source material, including videos are independent of Horatio’s Jar and platforms content is provided on.

We do not hold responsibility for their accuracy.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved

Taking Out The Trash

Taking Out The Trash

Taking Out The Trash

One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that it will clear your mind of any thoughts and negative memories. and that you will dissolve and become completely empty and pure. Meditation is amazing at reshaping our minds and helping us to develop a deeper self-understanding but it won’t help you clear your mind.

Trying to stop a churning supercomputer that is consuming and computing 4oo billion bits of information every second, whether you are asleep or not. is like trying to stop an avalanche or a freight train by waving your hands in the air.

Your best bet is to step aside …

If you haven’t ever stopped to really unbiasedly listen to your own head you might want to have a little listen now. Take a few moments and shut your eyes, listen to your breathing and try to think of nothing…

If you were able to sustain a state of no mind for more than a minute then you are pretty adept at mind control already, if not then you may sense that you are harbouring a turbulent, obsessive, pessimistic, potentially narcissistic, anxious, emotionally unstable, argumentative, incessant and demeaning counterpart in your skull.

Coming to realise that this is what is going on under your bonnet all day is pretty upsetting for most  – but not realising it is there is possibly even worse. This surging, shifting and turbulent mass of thought, memories, images, music, nonsense and judgements is your subconscious mind.

A temporal garbage tip for everything that you have experienced past, present and future. It is the first thing you come into contact with when you begin to meditate and the confrontation of the minds surging fury can be overwhelming.

Do Not Try To Reason With Your Own Mind.

Your mind is a fascinating and powerful tool and observing it, training and guiding it to revelation can be an amazing thing, but trying to reason with it, organise it, ask it’s opinion or clean it up is like waking a sleeping giant.

Take the advice of Sadguru, New York Times best-selling author, certified Indian mystic, founder of  the Isha Foundation and recipient of the Padma Vibhushan Civilian Award by the Government of India for his contribution toward human advancement,

“Shut the lid and walk away”…

Sadguru references the mind as a garbage bin, something that is very useful for keeping garbage in but not to sleep in. Sadguru explains that the content of your mind is not under your control and trying to empty it will only result in you swimming in your own putrid stew. 

Like many masters of the mind he describes meditation as a tool in the development of self – awareness and the more aware you are the greater distance you will create between yourself and your mind.
“The content of your mind will still be there but you won’t be affected by it”.

Sadguru explains that purity is not having an empty mind, “Knowing everything about life but remaining untouched by it, this is purity, isn’t it?”… “You know all the nonsense of life but you are untouched by it, this is beautiful.”

This article is used as a general guide to better health and wellbeing.

It is not intended to replace medical advice.

If you are suffering from anxiety, depression or poor health we strongly advise you seek medical attention.

Copyright Horatio’s Jar, 2018

All Rights Reserved