"You cannot see the way out of a challenge if you are looking at it every day from the same level of mind, emotions, thoughts and feelings of the past....To change our state of being we have to change how we think and how we feel" - Dr. Joe Dispenza
What is Brain Retraining?
The brain is neuroplastic, meaning that it changes in response to our environment and in response to events in our lives. While it can be advantageous to have a brain that is adaptable, there are times where it works against us. Chronic and Environmental illness (including Long Haul Covid & chronic pain) are examples of this. In conditions such as these, due to a combination of predisposing factors and experiences, our brains and nervous systems get stuck in a hypervigilent or overactive state. Over time they become increasingly sensitized to our environment or things that they perceive as threatening to us (including energy output). This leads to more symptoms and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, making recovery feel impossible. (For a more comprehensive overview of this concept please visit the Gupta Program website)
Luckily we can learn the tools and skills required to override this overactive response and retrain our brains and nervous systems to respond in the way they were originally designed. As a result, we alleviate our symptoms and gain health, vitality and quality of life. It may sound too good to be true, but it is possible with commitment and dedication.
"Don't believe everything you think, because your brain is sending you false messages" - Jeffrey Schwartz
How does Brain Retraining Work?
By learning to actively direct our thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a specific way, and to calm and better regulate our nervous systems, we can begin to change the dominant pathways that are operating in our brains. Since the brain is the control center for optimal health, this affects the experiences we are having in our bodies. That is not to say that your symptoms are all in your head. They are not. They are a very real experience. And, the way that our bodies are responding are a direct result of the way the brain and nervous system are firing. This is the root cause of chronic health issues.
Brain retraining uses the principles of neuroplasticity and learning to assist us in changing these brain pathways. The processes used in brain retraining programs must be repeatedly regularly over a period of approximately six months to make lasting changes in the brain. That doesn't mean it takes six months to start seeing result. Many people notice positive differences earlier on in the process. It is not enough to understand the concepts, the tools have to be actively implemented and repeated to create the alternative pathways and make them dominant.
Which Brain Retraining Program Should I Use?
Brain Retraining has become quite popular in recent times and there are many programs from which to choose. I recommend the Gupta Program, as it has been around for over 20 years now, it takes a holistic approach that targets both the brain and nervous system, it is constantly evolving, and there is scientific evidence to back it up.
Joe Dispenza's approach, although different from the Gupta Program, is also very effective. He has written several books (I highly recommend reading "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself") and he has a lot of empirical evidence to support his approach to helping people heal. Many of the healing stories from participants in his program sound like miracles. This is what happens when we learn to harness and actively direct our brains and bodies in a way that support the return to optimal health.
It is highly recommended to work with a coach when implementing any brain retraining program. Coaches can help you effectively implement the tools and overcome barriers that may be slowing your progress. Most programs have coaches or mentors associated with them. I am familiar with many of the brain retraining processes and I work from a holistic, strengths based perspective to support people in improving their health and quality of life.