By Paul Henry / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


Don’t change your medication without taking with your primary treatment provider. This video is informational, not medical advice. most people have no idea how many
options they have for treating mental illness and many people feel hopeless or
stuck in their anxiety or depression but modern imaging technology is allowing
researchers to look into our brain in ways that was never possible before and
they’ve been able to see that you can actually change your brains structure
function and brain chemistry by changing how you think and changing how you act
this is called neuroplasticity I feel like it’s really important to help
people access these mental health resources and education so I made this
online course and it’s about two and a half hours long and it’s on udemy.com
and it includes ten other principles at 10 other ways you can change a brain
chemistry other than medication and it’s based on the most current scientific
research so this is research backed ways to change your brain without medication
now I’m not against medication I believe it should be considered as a treatment
option I just know a lot of people want to know what their alternatives are but
I wanted to make some of its information more accessible to everyone
so I’m including a couple of chapters from my course right here on YouTube for
free this first chapter that I’m going to be sharing with you is on
neuroplasticity what that means and how that applies to mental health if you
want to see the whole course it’s on udemy.com
and I’ll include a link in the description with a special coupon code
so it’s $9.99 to take but in this introductory video I’m gonna explain the
fundamentals of neuroplasticity which is how you can change your brain its
physical structure and it’s your brain chemistry by changing how you think and
how you act so let’s jump in in the first segment of this course
we’re going to talk about how changing how you think actually changes the
chemistry structure and function of your brain hi I’m Emma macadam and I’m a
licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I get really stoked about helping
people improve their lives I’ve been working in this field since 2004 and
I’ve worked in a lot of different settings like juvenile corrections
wilderness therapy residential treatment outpatient treatment and I love the
change process and walking with people as they’re making these great changes to
their life I just love it when people start to feel that excitement about how
good their life can be so let’s jump into this course and see what small
changes you can make in your life that are gonna make a big difference this
course has nine simple not easy but at least straightforward ways to change
your brain and one complicated one this first segment is the most complicated
one and changing how we think is really difficult now of necessity we have to
start with this one because it lays the foundation for all
the changes that we’re gonna make so understanding how we can change our
biology by changing how we think is really essential groundwork for
understanding how the other nine principles can work so if this topic
seems a little overwhelming just stick with the course because it gets easier
as we go on so let’s jump in there are two ideas in psychology that have been
proven wrong the first one is that once we’d hit
adulthood our brains really don’t change much and the second one was that we can
separate the psychological disorders these problems in the living from the
biological disorders this chemical imbalance and so someone might have
depression and it’s caused by a chemical imbalance and the only way to treat that
is medication and someone else might have depression which is caused by
choices they’ve made and the only way to change that is by making them change
their behaviors so new research is showing us that our brain chemistry does
impact how we think and how we feel but how we think and how we feel changes our
brain chemistry this gives us more power and more
influence over our lives to make them happier and healthier so new imaging
technology has changed our understanding of how our brain works and a new
research in the field of neuroplasticity has shown us that our brains they don’t
even stop laying down the hardware until we’re 25 but they can continue to change
and grow and develop our entire lives and this is called neuroplasticity
meaning that our brain is moldable and shapeable and changeable throughout our
entire life one of my favorite examples of neuroplasticity is the stories of
people who are blind who have learned to navigate using echolocation so they
developed the ability to locate objects in their environment using sound waves
in the same way that bats do this is an ability that their brains didn’t have
but developed after they went blind if you haven’t seen the videos of these
people you should check it out it’s really inspiring to see how much our
brains can change and this applies as well to people with anxiety or
depression or other difficulties that thanks to our brains ability to grow
change and adapt throughout our life we can improve our brain functioning and
abilities in really dramatic ways this again I love this principle because it
gives us room to influence our life we are the agents of our own lives and you
can create the changes that you want to make in your life it’s become
increasingly evident that biology impacts thinking so this idea that you
know you have a chemical imbalance that’s causing depression that’s true
that does happen but it’s also become more and more evident that the way we
think impacts our biology so if we consistently think hopeless thoughts
then we’re gonna be more likely to have a biology of depression so we might have
what’s considered a chemical imbalance or we might have lower levels of
serotonin or dopamine when we have these depressing or hopeless thoughts so to
understand what we’re going to talk about in this segment we need to do a
little bit of brains 101 so there’s four aspects of brain performance that we’re
gonna talk about brain structure chemistry function and genetics
the first one is brain structure there are physical structures in our brain and
each forms a specific function and we’re not
gonna learn about all the parts of the brain for this course but we’re gonna
talk about a couple of them our brains are made up of distinct
structures that change and adapt based on how we use them for example there’s
two structures in our brain that are impacted by depression the amygdala is
the part of the brain that processes fear and the fight flight freeze
response and in people with depression the amygdala has been shown to be larger
and more active another part of our brain that’s impacted by depression is
the hippocampus the hippocampus processes emotions and it’s been shown
that in people with depression the hippocampus is actually smaller it
shrinks when people are experiencing depression the the really cool thing is
that some recent research and multiple studies have shown that the hippocampus
has the ability to regain its size after a bout of depression
so in in patients who were experiencing depression they attend eight weeks of
therapy and their hippocampus was measured before and it was shown to be
smaller and then after therapy was measured and shown to be larger so the
hippocampus can can change its size just based on something like talking with
another person who’s helping you change how you think when it comes to brain
chemistry our brain uses chemicals to communicate and these are called
neurotransmitters the main ones we’re going to be talking about in this course
are serotonin which has to do with confidence and Happiness dopamine which
is kind of the reward chemical and pleasing chemical norepinephrine which
has to do with decreased pain sensitivity and feelings of elation
oxytocin which has to do with bonding and love and gee ABA which is associated
with anxiety and stress medication is not the only way to treat a chemical
imbalance so while depression or anxiety can be seen on a chemical level inside
the brain that doesn’t mean that your only option is to change those chemicals
by adding chemicals to your body like medication now again I’m not against
medication I often recommend that my clients go to see a doctor to
some some medication options however it’s not the only way to impact our
brain chemistry so cognitive behavioral therapy changing how we think and act
has been shown to be as effective as medication as a treatment for mental
health disorders like depression and anxiety how we think affects our brain
chemistry so here’s an example if we interpret a situation like a work
assignment as being threatening or impossible or overwhelming then our
brain releases chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol now people with depression
and anxiety have higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol in their brains
and this this creates a heightened stress response so a cycle of being
stressed out about being stressed out and they tend to get more stressed out
than the average brain then a person who doesn’t have depression it has been
proven that with many people if they are taught how to think differently about a
situation how to interpret that work assignment as not being stressful or
overwhelming then the brain releases less cortisol and is less flooded with
adrenaline and therefore creates a more healthy balance of chemicals inside of
it so we can actually change those stress chemicals we can decrease the
level of the stress chemicals in our brain by changing how we think the third
aspect of our brain that we’re going to talk about very briefly in this course
is brain function how we think changes our neural pathways so we think along
these little neural channels and they’re like roads and the ones we use the most
become broad like highways the ones that we rarely use are narrow and thin and
when we don’t use them at all they get trimmed off because the brain likes
efficiency so when we start thinking negative thoughts like this is hopeless
or I’m no good or nobody’s gonna like me then those pathways become thicker and
broader and easier for the brain to send signals on we become habitual in
thinking that way and that shows up in our in our biology but when we change
how we think and we start thinking hopeful thoughts like I can do hard
things or I can reach out and love other people and they’re gonna respond with
love to me and those neural pathways become broader
and wider and those physical structures in our brain actually change the last
aspect that we’re just going to talk about briefly is our genes now we know
there’s a genetic aspect to mental health and mental illness so depression
tends to run in families and anxiety tends to run in families for many people
this feels like we’re predestined to feel the way we feel now there’s some
recent research that’s coming out that’s really exciting that has shown that we
have the ability to influence which of our genes get turned on and which of our
genes get passed on to our descendants based on the experiences that we have so
how we respond to our experiences and how we think can impact which genes get
turned off and this emerging field is called epigenetics it gives us some
degree of influence over a very impactful part of our mental health our
genes so therapy isn’t the only way to change our thinking it’s just the one
that has the most research behind it so cognitive behavioral therapy has lots of
research showing that it’s effective for 65 or 70 percent of people when it comes
to improving their symptoms of depression and anxiety and we know that
it works because it not only changes how we think but it changes the biology
that’s going on in our brains there are other ways to change how we think things
like self help and courses and seminars books and and new experiences can all
change how we think cognitive behavioral therapy is just one way that’s been
refined down to a skill that is a very efficient way to help people change
their brain chemistry now I realize that this segment has kind of been more of an
overview and if you’d like to learn one specific way to change how you think
check out this video I made on black and white thinking when we resolve black and
white thinking we increase our brains ability to be healthy and happy so if
you want to change your brain chemistry start changing how you think
you


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