Emotional Styles of the Brain – Part 4

In the last three weeks, we defined the first two emotional styles of the brain. The first being resilience to adversity. The adversity can be a wide range of so-called setbacks – from the most trivial things such as someone cutting you off in traffic to the more significant setbacks such as the passing of a loved one. The second being outlook – meaning whether you have a positive or negative view on life. This week, we will continue our theme of emotional styles of the brain by going over how the brain patterns persist or change.

With brain patterns, these questions may come to mind: How long have they been there? It is a brain pattern that existed (or that was established) during childhood as the brain develops? Was it present at birth? Can it be changed?

When Dr. Davidson did research on day-old infants, in the experiments he found that even at birth, there were clear individual differences and left/right asymmetry in terms of activation. Everyone’s genetic makeup is different, but the big question is do these differences persist? Dr. Davidson helped discover that what you are born with is not necessarily what you are dealt with as the brain and behavior can change.

Neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain can change – either for better or worse. The brain has the ability to change in both structure and function. Consider learning and memory – these are constant examples of how our brains are able to change form. When you learn something new and also when a new experience enters your memory, this is the brain changing – expanding and retaining.

Brain structure and function can change in response to two forces:
1. The life you lead
and
2. Thinking yourself into a different brain.

The life you lead, meaning the experiences you have – physical as well as emotional or mental – are signals from the outside world. This is similar to your brain collecting memories and learning new information. The other way the brain can change structure and function is in response to purely mental activity. This is similar to the second brain emotional style of outlook. Higher left activity is associated with a more positive outlook; higher right activity is associated with more negative outlook.  To change the brain grooves, you can think yourself into a different brain by working on a more positive outlook (or negative, as the door does swing both ways).

Next week, we will continue our five part series of the emotional styles of the brain with more on outlook and self-awareness.

Sexual Intimacy Hardships: Don’t Let Hard Times Sabotage Your Relationship

1.9

Surviving Difficulties, Maintaining a Healthy Marriage, and Avoiding Sex Life Sabotage

Every couple faces hard times. That is an inevitable fact of life. It is how you react to those hard times and how you work together to get through them and to overcome the obstacles attempting to stand in your way that matters most. Some couples automatically join forces, preferring to support one another and to work together as a team. Others do not quite find this emotional balance in relationships, allowing the difficulties to threaten their sanity, as well as their relationship. Instead of working together, they overcomplicate matters by working against one another, allowing their frustrations and anger to lead to fighting, poor communication, and distance that can sabotage the relationship and a once-healthy sex life. 

Emotional Circuitry 

Maybe you are facing financial difficulties. Maybe work stress or personal stress is standing in your way.

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