Between the stimuli (what happens in life) and the response (what you give back in the form of words, thoughts, behaviors, actions, character), is a space, and in the space is your power and your freedom.
Let’s start off with some brain trivia about an organ that processes information via massive networks so that you are able to comprehend the world in which you live.
So here we go:
The most impressive part of our brains is that it is neuroplastic. Meaning, this amazing structure once thought in science to be fixed and unchangeable, does have the ability throughout your life to be molded, transformed, upgraded, adaptable, and rejuvenated. The flip side of course, is that you may stay exactly as you are even if it doesn’t seem to be working for you and life has shown you evidence that you need to change.
UCLA Neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni, MD, PhD, states, “The brain has an almost boundless capacity for reshaping itself over the years, for adapting, for expanding its power, while accumulating knowledge and recording experiences. Modern neuroscience tells us that the aging brain is no longer the declining brain, but rather a learning organ whose limits are still unexplored.”
So how do we change and mold our brains so we have greater well-being (which translate to better sex lives)? According to Richard Davidson, PhD, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center for the Studies of Neuroscience, says, "What we found is that the trained mind, or brain, is physically different from the untrained one," he said. In time, "we'll be able to better understand the potential importance of this kind of mental training and increase the likelihood that it will be taken seriously."
Mind training in meditation, yoga, Tai-Chi, and breath work, are methods for such training that from studies have proven to create thickening in the grey matter (remember we want to increase this and keep it our lifetime). Also, evidence of reducing inflammation in the body, reducing stress which reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone), improve immune function, and increases our sense of well-being. Remember, neurons that fire together, wire together. Begin cultivating neurons that fire and wire together through practicing methods that are proving to generate a healthy state of mind. When we have a healthy state of mind, the texture of our life will reflect our inner world. So do a 30-day challenge with a practice in meditation, yoga, Tai-Chi, or breath work and see for yourself how your well-being shifts.
Here are some resources to get you started:
Rick Hanson: How to Change Your Brain
A typical science quote for neuroplasticity: "Neurons that wire together, fire together." So mindfulness helps guide us to wire healthy networks that will fire together and over time creating a healthy well-being.
Dr. Oz recently featured a panel of 3 sexuality experts including medical doctors who addressed the topic of pornography and erectile dysfunction. They mentioned that a growing number of young men have been seeking help for ED and the traditional pharmaceutical treatments are not effective. The cause, they theorize, is a desensitization of the brain and genitals due to a maladaptive pornography viewing habit and an idiosyncratic masturbatory style. They present a great discussion of all the biological and psychological causes and present helpful techniques that can help.
Watch all 4 parts, starting here
“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
― Kahlil Gibran
Last week many lovers shared a special time together on Valentine’s Day celebrating their love together. However, there were many of us that were not with a partner and some of us were experiencing a heart break, myself included. Going through a divorce or breakup creates a cascade of physical symptoms, emotional upheavals, mental ruminations, and spiritually, asking why and what grace may be received to ease the pain or even have your partner back.
In going through a split-up, this trauma propelled me into studying the health risks to understand what my body and mind have been experiencing. It’s evident that what we go through physically and emotionally takes some toll. The loss experienced in break-ups include that of security, a family life, the sexual relationship, a home, and even more, there are long-term health consequences that result.
The University of Arizona review of 30 studies found a 23% increased risk of early death in divorced adults when compared to those married. Divorced men fair worse than women with higher rates of substance abuse (70% of chronic drinkers are the divorced male), suicide (2.5 times greater risk than married men), and increase in weight (suggesting that food selection is still often done by the women). Divorced women have higher rates of cardiovascular disease (11% in divorced woman versus 7.3% of married woman). In both men and women, studies suggest increase cancer rates, insomnia, and mental health illnesses.
How can we help minimize these impressive statistics while navigating through the troubled waters of a broken heart? Here are some recommendations that will help reduce some of the immediate physical and emotional symptoms, but also knowing that the journey through the loss and the grief can be mindfully explored while being with this difficult process.
Sherri Aikin is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Sex Counselor, Mindfulness Facilitator, and Life Coach.
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