If you think you can and if you think you can’t you are correct. Your mindset allows you to achieve the goals you want out of life or not. It is so important to take the time to create a strong mindset so that you can accomplish any and every goal that you have in life. There maybe things that will hold you back, but your mindset should not be one of them!
A Quick Primer on Neurotransmitters
Lets look into the science of the brain because once you can understand the science behind your brain, you can take the necessary steps to begin to control it! When using mindfulness and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), it’s possible for you to change the way you react to stressful situations and to essentially reprogram your stress response. Likewise, you can use this to improve your happiness, get better sleep, and much more!
But when you do all this, what you are really doing is affecting the chemistry of your brain. You are changing the neurochemicals (which are organic molecules, such as serotonin, dopamine, or nerve growth factors, that participates in neural activity) in your brain. That in turn is changing the way you feel and even the way you perform.
This is why it is a good idea to learn more about what neurotransmitters really are and how they work. Once you do that, you will have more of an idea of what it is you are actually doing to change your brain functions and in turn this will make you more effective at it.
What Are Neurotransmitters?
Your brain is made up of a large network of different cells called neurons. This network is sometimes called your ‘connectome’ and essentially each of these cells represents a thought, an idea, a memory, or a sensation.
As you think or experience the world around you, these cells ‘fire’ by releasing an electrical signal like a circuit. That signal travels over a chemical synapses, which is the gaps between brain cells, such as a neuromuscular junction from one neuron (nerve cell) to another “target” neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell.
In terms of the way that a cell fires, it can either be ‘on or off’. That is to say that there aren’t ‘levels’ of firing, but after a certain amount of excitation occurs, a cell fires and then stops firing.
But that’s not to say that the signal is entirely binary because at the same time the brain also releases chemicals called neurotransmitters which are known as a chemical messenger that have endogenous chemicals that enable neurotransmission. This can alter how likely it is for the cell to fire again. It can strengthen the connection between two cells that can give you the feeling of happiness or sadness.
Your Brain Chemistry
Your brain is filled with neurotransmitters which affect receptors on the brain cells and have a short lifespan. At the same time, hormones like testosterone and cortisol can also affect the brain in a similar way acting like secondary neurotransmitters.
These hormones and neurotransmitters are moderated partly by your thoughts. If you change which cells fire, you can change which hormones and neurotransmitters get released.
But it’s much more complex than this. For starters, your hormones and neurotransmitters are tied closely to your lifestyle and various biological factors. When you are hungry for example, low blood sugar encourages the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. This in turn encourages the release of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
When you have high blood sugar though, you release insulin and this increases the tryptophan in the brain. That tryptophan is converted to serotonin making you feel good and this is later converted into melatonin, the sleep hormone.
In short, your physical health is directly linked to your mental state and vice versa, putting you firmly at the mercy of your biology. With that being said, using mindfulness can allow you to regain control over this situation and to decide exactly how you want to feel and when!
It is time to take back control of your mind and not allow these hormones or ‘feelings’ to control your life or dictate the way your life should be and you are not alone in this journey!
Here is a tool that has helped me in my journey to mindfulness!