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Neuro-pleasure & Neuro-pain Part 1

Neuro-pleasure & Neuro-pain Part 1

Enjoyment is extremely stimulating to the brain, which, being reward driven, is primed to respond to and reinforce pleasure.

Rewards can be defined as the gaining of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This is why you have sassy fun loving neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and brain regions like the pleasure palace of the addiction prone nucleus accumbens.

Eudaimonia and pleasure have been shown to enhance and improve your cognition, productivity, creativity, alertness, problem-solving capability, longevity, health and sociability. Your brain evolved by getting high on all these factors.

Ultimately, pleasure is essential for the survival and replication of your genes through subsequent generations, thus securing you some form of immortality, so your brain and body are wired for it.

Think of your mind-set as a complex system, one that steers an ebullient and sometimes erratic course between chaos and rigidity. You are looking to have an attitude that embodies the qualities of being flexible, adaptable, coherent, energised and responsive to change, whilst retaining overall stability – think of a river winding between two banks.

There’s an awesomely appropriate acronym in the martial arts arena. SAID means Specific Adaptation to Improved Demands and this can apply equally to DIY Neuroplasticity and the Neuroplasticity Mindset Quadrant (NMQ) characteristics that a) you develop to perfect and b) how DIY Neuroplasticity reflects back on your personality and character.

The positive and proactive approach characterised by the NMQ:

  • Stimulates the growth and activation of neural connections.
  • Improves cognition.
  • Enhances analytical capability and clarity of mind.
  • Positively impacts your view of your context and environment – you can decide to make the best of it, or if you find it limiting, work out how you are going to improve it.
  • Sharpens alertness and mindfulness.
  • Generates eudaemonic thoughts.
  • Improves relationships with like-minded people.

As we’ve discussed, thoughts are things that shape your character, experience, modus operandus, and how you progress in life. All actions are initiated by what you think and any change in your life spins out from changes you make to your patterns of thought.

What the mind can conceive, it can achieve, as Napoleon Hill memorably stated in ‘Think and Grow Rich’.

Every thought releases neurotransmitters and thus impacts the brain overall. So thinking assertive, optimistic and eudaemonic thoughts increases the production of serotonin, generating feelings of well being whilst reducing stress-inducing cortisol. This encourages your brain to function in peak performance mode.

When your brain’s reward system is satisfied, dopamine is released, another pleasure predicating and feel good factoring brain chemical. Negative thoughts have the opposite effect and can lead to depression – which is also why avoiding negative and depressed people, although sounding brutal is actually good for your health.

Positive thoughts reinforce brain development and the generation of new synapses, especially in the PFC, which regulates the signals that neurons transmit to other parts of the brain and body. The PFC manages your emotional responses via its close and bidirectional connections to the limbic system. Thus you can focus on what you want to do and achieve, actively developing and rigorously testing your goal-seeking strategies and capabilities. At the same time you are cultivating a finely tuned and calibrated insight into how you think and behave.

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