The Power of Neuroplasticity

This week I made some new "discovery", which is probably the most important one so far since I started this whole process of mostly conscious transformation, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically as a result of my response to various psychological issues I've experienced after getting married last August. It's called "neuroplasticity", or our ability to rewire our brain through conscious efforts. I had to take a rather lengthy way to come to it from the initial shock of married life through psychological counseling, search for additional therapies, and discovery of mindfulness.

In a couple of days I've looked for popular books on neuroplasticity and made a provisional list of several books on this relatively new discovery in neuroscience. The first of them, which I've started to read, is a true gem entitled The Power of Neuroplasticity by Shad Helmstetter. He describes succinctly in a simple language how neuroplasticy works:

Everything we think, feel, or do, imprints or rewrites our brain. Our rewired brain, in turn, affects everything we think, feel, or do ... which again, in turn, imprints or rewires our brain.

He enumerates in this book of his the following as the seven rules of neuroplasticity for rewiring our brain positively:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Choices
  3. Intention
  4. Focus
  5. Repetition
  6. Emotion
  7. Belief

I'm so excited at this new "discovery" of mine, especially because of its far-reaching implications for almost all areas of my life, especially in my attempts to solve, or at least, alleviate, a number of psychological issues of mine. I'm going to spend this summer reading this and other books on neuroplasticity and trying to rewire my brain with the power of neuroplasticity for not only mental and emotional but even spiritual and physical well-being.


Expressing Gratitude

In spite of my training to be non-judgmental of others or at least judge them favorably through daily mindfulness meditation, I still can't always help judging one type of people unfavorably - those who don't express gratitude for the favor they've asked and received. Though I don't generally complain to such people, I often ignore them next time they ask me a favor.

After I heard from my spiritual mentor, who is a haredi rabbi in Jerusalem, last week that expressing gratitude is the foundation for all the other positive character traits, including even humbleness, I've started to watch people and see if they express gratitude in those cases in which I definitely would. From my experience of answering questions and requests I receive by email from various people, including total strangers, on a daily basis I already know that many people simply don't express gratitude in such cases. I haven't seen any significant difference between secular and religious people in Israel in this respect though Judaism, if understood and practiced properly, is supposed to raise one's moral level. I was quite shocked at the result of my mindful man watching, so to speak, on its first day. Far less people I watched thanked others for the favor they've received from them than I had thought.

Instead of criticizing such people if they are my friends, I've started thanking everyone more mindfully for the favor I received from him or her even if it's a small one. I've already experienced one amazing result. One woman who is apparently used to complaints from her customers emailed me excitedly a message of gratitude for the gratitude I expressed her for her effort before asking her to correct her mistake. So I've decided to check if there are people who do the same if I thank them by email. Few so far, including my friends and colleagues. But unlike before I'm less bothered now with this or any other lack of gratitude from others as I've realized that expressing gratitude mindfully by focusing more on positive rather than negative things in everyone significally improves my emotional state, making me more compassionate for others.

PS: I want to thank all of what few regular readers I seem to have of this blog-shmog of mine.