Your body under chronic stress
There are multiple physical and mental manifestations of a chronically fired up nervous system. With engagement of the principles that calm it down, the improvements in my patients’ quality of life are consistent and frequently dramatic. The foundational step continues to be the writing exercises. I don’t know all of the reasons why it is so impactful, but its effectiveness has been documented on over 2200 research papers published since 1986.
Stimulating neuroplastic changes in the structure of your brain is key to healing. However, you must continually be aware of the impact of your past experiences on today’s actions. Then you are able to redirect and program your nervous system in the direction of your choice.
There are three aspects of the re-programming process:
Most of us seem to be fairly enmeshed in our past, and it affects much of our current behavior. We all have many past negative experiences to process, and we do our best to deal with them. Strategies include:
- “Re-writing” it
- Escaping through addictions
- Pursuing self-esteem
The expressive writing allows you to combine awareness and separation
Brain circuits are permanent
You cannot change the past, or the neurological connections to it. Memories may fade with time, but once a given memory is retrieved, it is completely present. Our inability to alter the past certainly doesn’t keep us from expending tremendous energy in trying to do so. It is more effective to connect and be with the past, and then release from it.
Picture a long completely loaded freight train. It’s impressive that engines have been developed to pull that kind of a load; even up a significant incline. It isn’t dissimilar to how we drag our past into the current day and can still function.
The writing exercises allow me to disconnect from the past—immediately. It creates an awareness of what is contained in the “train cars of my life”. The space created between the thoughts now on a piece of paper and me is the separation process. It’s as if I simply unhooked the first car from the engine.
Who Says I Have to Pull this Load?
There is no rule of life that says I have to stay connected to that huge load. And I still have the same power of the engines that is now pulling NOTHING. The available energy to be creative is almost limitless. I just regret that there is a physical limit to what my body can take.
Being “unhooked” from that load allows me to use the tools I have learned to more fully engage in the present moment, which is the re-programming part of neuroplasticity. The tool I use the most is “active meditation”. That is choosing a physical sense to become as aware of as much as possible throughout the day. I tend to choose sound or food at mealtime.
Writing Seems to be a Great Foundation
There are now over two thousand research papers documenting the effectiveness of various writing exercises creating a separation from these unpleasant neurological circuits. I still haven’t seen anyone be that successful without using the expressive writing as the foundational step.
Leave the past behind you—now. You can spend a lifetime trying to unload the freight in these cars, or you can take a few minutes to disconnect from it.