A 60 minute body-mind training program!
Psych (mind) Circuits (body)
Using mind-body approaches can help you regain control of your psycho-emotional health and create an environment within your body that supports health and wellbeing rather than disease and dysfunctional behaviour. Techniques that focus on the interaction between the body, mind, and behaviour are valuable tools for increasing awareness of the body’s biological processes in order to help you become empowered to manage emotions and mitigate their neurophysiological impacts.
The techniques used in the Psych Circuits include:
- Aromatherapy and breathing bio-hack
- Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping)
- Positive Statements (training the default dialogue)
- Whiteboard Activity (mindset/focus strategy)
- Circuit training
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Individuals who seek to improve their physical and mental health only stand to gain from positive psychology techniques that incorporate body-mind integration such as the Psych Circuits! A new frontier…
Perhaps you have heard the notion that you can change your brain. In fact, scientists have proven that your brain is being shaped, moulded and changed by your experiences every day. This is referred to as neural plasticity. This single scientific breakthrough has significantly altered our understanding of how to change habits, increase happiness, improve health and even change our genetics.
Neural plasticity has evolved as the study of the pliant and mouldable nature of the brain. Rewiring your brain is a powerful process that happens within the relationship of your mind, brain, and body. This is why we train the body and mind in the Psych Circuits!
According to Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich from his book titled, ‘Soft Wired’, practicing a new habit under the right conditions, can change hundreds of millions and possibly billions of the connections between the nerve cells in our neural pathways. The human brain is made up of an estimated 100 billion neurons making a total of 100 trillion neural connections.
When you engage in practices that increase feelings of happiness, you increase activity in your brain’s left prefrontal cortex. As you continue to feel happy, you strengthen this activity and solidify brain pathways that make it easier to replicate feelings of happiness. People who are optimistic have more activity in their left prefrontal cortex than people who are pessimistic. Neural plasticity has opened doors of hope for transforming mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, for changing unhealthy habits, and for increasing the potential to experience lasting happiness.By mobilising our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking (like we do in the Psych Circuits!), we can reshape our nerve cells and change the way our brains work for the better!
Neural Plasticity: How to Use Your Mind to Change Your Brain
Mental activity strengthens the neural pathways in your brain associated with what you focus on with your thoughts and feelings. To simplify this—if you focus on happiness with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen happiness pathways. If you focus on stress with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen stress pathways. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens the circuitry in your brain known as your neural pathways. Neural pathways are the basis of your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are what you believe to be true and why you do what you do. The statement; “neurons that fire together wire together,” best explains the process of forming, strengthening, and cementing neural pathways.
Brain Pathways are like walking trails!
Walking trails are similar to your brain pathways. Just as a grassy path becomes flattened and wears away every time a person walks over it, as you focus on something with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, you strengthen your brain pathways. Over the days, months and years a well-travelled walking path becomes a well-worn pathway. Compare this to a trail that is not well-travelled or perhaps a faint trail made by small animals. These trails might be noticeable to the naked eye, however their visibility pales in comparison to the trails that get higher foot traffic. This is the power of REPETITION!
This is great news for making desired changes. As long as you know how to develop and strengthen neural pathways, you can change just about anything you want. This is also why the habits you have had for many years are the most challenging to change. They have carved the most well-worn grooves, or deepest trails, in your brain.
Create New Habits with the PSYCH CIRCUITS!
Fortunately, as you practice traveling down new pathways, you naturally weaken old pathways. As you think similar thoughts and feel similar feelings, you either create new habits and beliefs or solidify old ones. Eventually, through repetition and feeling intensity, your new habits run on autopilot. For example, if you consciously focus on exercising four times a week by reviewing your goals daily, talking to others for support, visualizing your success, getting to bed early, and meeting with a fitness trainer weekly, you rewire your new habit of exercise. However, if you don’t consciously direct your mind’s attention onto your exercise goal, you will find your strongest existing patterns of sleeping-in will run on autopilot. Existing and often undesired automatic habits drive your brain, body, and behaviour. Nevertheless, over time and under the right conditions, you can change old unhealthy habits and create lasting positive ones!
Path of Least Resistance
Most people live on autopilot most of the time. This is because our neural pathways operate under the law of least effort, or the path of least resistance. The most worn path is the strongest and easiest to travel. It’s like traveling down a super-highway. It allows you to conserve mental energy and respond quickly to your life experiences. This type of automatic conditioning can be seen in the body memory of professional athletes. It can also be seen the last time you drove home from work yet didn’t recall the entire trip.
During the Psych Circuits we practice the top four conditions for supporting neural plasticity and rewiring your brain.
Eliciting Positive Emotion (Aromatherapy/Positive statements/Breathing bio-hack/movement)
A thought without intense emotion and feeling has no meaning, no value, and no real power to effectively engage your neural pathways. Intensity of emotion and feeling is required to take an experience and make it a solidified habit. The more emotion you engage, the more neurons you activate to form well-worn pathways. Emotions and feelings act as the glue that binds you to experiences. Emotional energy is the juice, or fuel, behind your thoughts that give power to your memories, goals, hopes, and dreams.
Repetition and Practice (we repeat the statements throughout the circuit/Whiteboard activity)
Neural pathways are strengthened into habits through the repetition and practice of thinking, feeling and acting.
Visualisation (Whiteboard Activity/Relaxation/Meditation)
Visualisation is almost as powerful as the real thing given your brain cannot tell the difference between something real or imagined. Research shows that anytime you are thinking, you are engaging and thus conditioning neural pathways. Consequently, whether you are reminiscing about the past, thinking about the present or anticipating the future you are strengthening the neural networks associated with whatever you are thinking about. The most important part of using visualisation to strengthen healthy habits is to engage your emotion. Emotion provides the fuel to enlist more neural power for creating powerful neural networks.
Meditation is the process of relaxing the body and quieting the mind. In order to tap into the benefits of neural plasticity you have to disengage the stress response and stimulate the relaxation response. When you are stressed your brain rigidly defers to the strongest neural pathways out of survival and the path of least resistance. Consequently, during stress you do not have access to newly formed neural networks because they have not been tried and proven yet. Most people live in a perpetual state of stress believing feeling tense, time pressured or overwhelmed is the norm. This is simply not true and is the result of an undisciplined mind and body.The Psych Circuits place great emphasis on activating the Parasympathetic nervous System!
“The goal of mind-body techniques is to regulate the stress response system so that balance and equilibrium can be maintained and sustained, to restore prefrontal cortex activity, to decrease amygdala activity, and to restore the normal activity of the HPA axis and locus ceruleus-sympathetic nervous system” (Selhub, 2007)
Like to run the Psych Circuits? Check out the licensing page for further info!