‘Self directed neuro-plasticity’

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The term ‘Self Directed Neuro-Plasticity’ was coined by Dr Jeffrey Schwartz and refers to our ability to change the wiring in our brains.

Dr Schwartz presents the theory that the human ‘MIND’ is an independent identity that can shape and control the functioning of the physical brain.

We play an active role in how our brain functions by the decisions we make. Specifically the decisions we make about where to focus our attention. This decision power is a function of the mind and creates real physical changes in the brain.

Schwartz perceives the MIND as a mental force or a form of directed influence that we all have.  Although he says that it is independent from the brain, I feel it is more likely that the MIND has an interdependent relationship with the brain, a somewhat paradoxical relationship where the brain can dissociate from itself enough to view itself objectively and make changes to itself. (Yes, quite a mind boggling thought!).

To stay with pragmatism when we create change What actually changes in the brain are the strengths of the connections of neurons that are engaged together, moment by moment, in time.

The more something is practised, the more connections are changed and made to include all elements of the experience (sensory info, movement, cognitive patterns)

In essence when we are suffering through unwanted thoughts and feelings we are receiving stressful brain messages that have likely come into existence through habit or trauma.

These unwanted thoughts and feelings are labelled ‘Deceptive Brain Messages’. They are the unhelpful and stressful thoughts, urges, sensations, desires, and impulses that cause so much of our suffering.

To free ourselves we need to engage our ‘mental power’ and re-train our brain to ‘not listen’ to the messages and instead re-focus on new and more positive messaging.

You can read how Dr Schwartz advises you do this in his books:



Author: Alistair Horscroft

March 10, 2018

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