I was having a “check myself” moment today. You know the ones where I think what is wrong with me or what can I change? It had to do with negative thinking. I try to think positive, but those negative thoughts often step up to the front and take over.
I wondered if positive thinking affirmations could turn it all around. Do our thoughts have effects on brain chemistry?
Or maybe I’m just wired wrong. No, that can’t be it because sometimes I can change my thoughts and think positively. But what is really going on in the brain when we think or learn, and can we change our thought process? Can we change our brain chemistry?
What Does The Brain Do?
Our brain isn’t just one big blob of grey and white matter. Our brain is full of neurons and glial cells. Glial cells are there to protect and hold neurons in place. The brain controls everything we do and every part of our body. No brain, no person.
To take this concept a step further, the brain has different neurotransmitters that bridge synapses and carry information to cells, making the body function. Chemicals carry the information from the brain to the body to perform other functions.
Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins are all chemicals in the brain and can alter mood. They are considered chemicals that help transmit messages in the brain.
The function of the brain is much more complicated than what I just gave. The explanation set the groundwork to determine if positive thinking affirmations can be a way to change our brain chemistry.
How Does The Brain React To Negative Thinking?
Normal levels of serotonin in the brain produce a feeling of happiness. High cortisol levels in the brain produce depression and anxiety. But when the cortisol levels are normal, serotonin can rise.
Cortisol is a stress hormone in the brain. Parts of the brain regulate cortisol according to your stress level. In a sense, negative thinking produces stress and increases cortisol levels.
A study on the relation of cortisol and negative thinking, as reported by Frontiers In Psychiatry, states, “The results support long-standing cognitive models which propose that negative thoughts are important in the relationship between stress and cortisol levels.”
Simply put, negative thoughts do increase cortisol levels and produce more negative thoughts. It is a perpetual motion around a circle that never ends. Or can we break the loop and heal our thoughts?
What Happens In The Brain When We Learn?
I play pickleball and am trying to learn better ways to send the ball where I want it to go. One coach, I had used to say “repeat the task, and it will produce muscle memory.” Muscle memory is a real thing. It is how our brain rewires when we learn something new.
In recent studies, scientists have seen a change in the blood flow to neurons in the brain when a person learns a new task. Our brains actually build new neurotransmitters, and when we learn something new, the blood flow increases to the neurons.
As with pickleball, the more I practice my returns, the more my brain will form a new blood supply to the neurons and build a memory. But if I stop practicing, the blood supply will change again and reroute to a new area.
How can Positive Thinking Affirmations Change Brain Chemistry?
The positive and negative thinking process is like learning. If we continue in negative thoughts, the blood flow to the neurons will stay the same. But if we throw in some positive affirmations, the blood will begin to flow to new neurons. We will build new neurotransmitters and a new network with positive thoughts.
As the blood supply increases, the chemicals shift, and the cortisol level will decrease, allowing the serotonin to increase. As the level of serotonin rises, we naturally feel happier, which produces more positive thinking.
Now is that incredible or what? Controlling our thought processes can lead to a healthier lifestyle. Cortisol affects all parts of the body, and we bring it down to a normal state, our body functions better.
Now that we have all of this incredible information, it will be much easier to change our brain chemistry with positive thinking affirmations.
Positive thinking affirmations are kind of like talking to yourself. They are the “I am” statements we repeat to ourselves each day. You’ve heard the quote:
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”Henry Ford
So if you always think negatively, you will always produce too much cortisol and more negative thoughts. But if you exercise positive thinking, you will change your whole being.
I have been practicing this concept. But when these negative thoughts creep in, it is hard to think of a positive affirmation. So I pick one, just one affirmation, and repeat it over and over. As time progresses, that one positive thinking affirmation will change the function of my brain. The serotonin will rise, and the cortisol will lower. My mind will rewire and physically change.
Positive thinking affirmations are not just something we say to convince ourselves that life is good. It is a healing process, just like healing from the flu or surgery.
A revelation like this can change my whole life if I keep it up over and over.
Positive Affirmations Suggestions
You only need to pick one and remember it forever to begin the negative healing process.
- I am worthy
- I love myself
- I am enough
- I believe in me
- I am a kind person
- I am strong
- I matter
- I am confident
- I am talented
- I am beautiful inside and out
As your mind and body rewire and begin to heal, you will remember more positive thinking affirmations and can expand on your self-love.
We now know that negative thoughts change brain chemistry and cause poor health. But we also know that positive thinking affirmations will rewire our brains and change our whole world inside and out. So, choosing positive affirmations sounds like a great way to change who we are. Right?
It only takes one affirmation repeated over and over to make a considerable difference in ourselves and change the blood flow in our brains.
I don’t know about you, but for me, this is a revelation and will alter the way I perceive everything in life. It is an actual tangible process that each one of us can do to rewire our brains.
I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.”Richard M. DeVos