Values (pt. 2)
In the last post, I wrote about values. I talked about how values transcend culture, race, ethnicity and nationality because values are encoded in us. To many people this hard-coded set of information that helps us discern between right and wrong is called a conscience. These values work like a set of tools to assist us in making decisions. After writing the previous blog about values I began to have more thoughts and impressions that I wanted to share, so I thought it would make sense to create a Values Part II blog post.
As we’ve all experienced, even though we have values that encourage and push us to make good decisions we don’t always follow them. This creates damage because of the internal conflict that creates within our minds. This damage goes beyond the mental aspect because of how the mind works in controlling the physical commands of the body. In short, when the mind is troubled it isn’t able to keep its biochemistry in balance. The inability to balance hormones and neurotransmitters always leads to physical damage and, if not corrected, the rapid development of chronic disease.
Our brains however are designed to reconcile and heal from damage it incurs from wrong choices we make. Whenever we decide to correct our course the brains registers and captures that decision as a good one. This is what makes personal growth and happiness possible. This same mechanism is what also restores personal growth and happiness if for some reason we’ve continuously neglected our values for months or even years, but then make the decision to change and reconcile our lives.
The decision to reconcile and admit our faults to ourselves can be difficult; however it is more difficult to live a life where we are constantly deceiving our own selves. If we don’t reconcile our mistakes – be they large or small – we begin accumulating problem after problem, increasing our burden. This affects the good function of our brain and creates a division of emotions, intellect and instincts. We need to remember that in addition to our brain’s ability to processes thoughts it also has a variety of functions and connections with the rest of the body. When there’s a lack of balance in any area of the brain, it’s a sign that we’re being affected by a series of damage being caused by unreasonable and illogical thoughts. These thoughts bring chronic stress, depression, hostility, feelings of withdrawal, boredom, distractions, fatigue, low self esteem and obsessive behaviors.
Let’s review some of the beliefs are at the root of some of these larger problems. A pessimistic attitude is so detrimental. Falling into beliefs such as “nothing ever works for me” never helps to solve any problems we’re facing. Thinking things are “always my fault” also distorts the truth and reality of our lives. Many times there may be problems that arise that are nobody’s fault. Thinking this way limits the brain’s innate ability to problem solve. Another popular belief would have us think that “there’s nothing I can do to improve.” This is far from the truth. When we believe ourselves or others can’t change we’re denying the most fundamental human trait – the desire to progress.
All of these mindsets and beliefs are toxic to the brain. This ends up affecting the body as well because of the chemical changes that goes on in the mind when we harbor, yield and become prisoners to these paradigms. Usually the majority of the damage starts so slowly that it is imperceptible. Living this way however keeps us trapped and would have us believe that we need the approval of others to enjoy life. Interestingly enough however, the approval is never enough and we’re always left with a lack of confidence in belief even when others do provide some sort of approval or compliment.
So how do these initial changes and damage begin? They come as we begin to compromise our values through white lies or selfish illusions. It’s the little things that add up with the end sum being an empty life. All of this damage, thinking and acting gradually impact our emotional health until we begin to feel like victims, denying ourselves of happiness. Many times these feelings of victimization can lead us to desire the ability to exercise dominion over others, creating in our minds the sense of entitlement and being above others. Other times it can lead us to create a sense of living our lives without thinking or caring about the collateral damage that our actions can have on those around us. Or maybe in our desire to impress others we select which values we want to showcase and use them to create a sense of self righteousness that we flaunt so that we can feel like we’re better than others. However we decide to manifest our sense of hiding from ourselves and the values we know to be true one thing is certain: the longer we live this way the more emotionally insecure and unhappy we become.
There’s a reason why we can’t find happiness this way. Let me describe what happens in the brain when we make changes and justifications that go against the values and conscious that is genetically encoded inside each of us. The cortex region of the brain is responsible for reason, logic and decision making. This region is the center of our conscience. Unlike other networks and circuitry, this mind tool is not created by the brain. Just like any other part of our body the brain is made of tissues. These tissues are made of molecules and atoms.
The matter (the molecules and atoms) that make up this part of our brain does not have the ability to intelligently create it. Rather, this part of the brain is created by design by God. Just like the heart was created to pump a certain way; just like our lungs are designed to filter air in a specific fashion; so is our brain designed to understand truth and error to help keep us healthy and live fulfilling lives. The ability to choose for ourselves is embedded in this cortex of the brain. It is an inherited gift provided so that we can be responsible for decisions we make. This area of the brain also helps us receive information, process information, learn new concepts, recall memories, and provides a way for us to behave and interact with humanity.
The cortex section of the brain also sends signals to the limbic section. The limbic section is the area of the brain that processes thoughts consciously. These signals the cortex sends to the limbic section are impressions that guide and help us make better decisions – be they to stop us when we’re about to make a bad decision or to encourage us to make a good one. These impressions are ways that the brain communicates to us how to improve and repair our mental and emotional health. All of us have at one point or another felt these feelings that seem as though they come from nowhere, yet at the same time feel like something beyond our own logical, conscious thinking.
Each of us is a works in progress and has healing and reparation that needs to take place. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful to help remove ourselves from emotional challenges that we’ve placed ourselves in:
Remember that your cortex region is the brain is vigilant of behavior and ready to rescue us from ourselves. Follow the impressions that come to you.
Connect yourself with your family and with nature on a regular basis.
Aspire to expand your vision. Don’t let your ego dictate your purpose; rather let your desire to help others be your guide in how you shape your future.
Make sure you sleep enough hours. Also make time to meditate and think. Make time to study something that interests you.
Make time for physical activity
Put time aside for healthy entertainment
Avoid alcohol, smoking and the use of legal or illegal drugs
Unless you are anemic or have osteoporosis, don’t worry so much about always using supplements. If you eat healthy and incorporate nutritious foods you’ll receive every vitamin and micronutrient you need.
Don’t isolate yourself. If married, maintain a stable relationship with your spouse. Make a commitment to work with them on projects that will help each other, your family and the community.
Remember that all negative behavior begins with a thought. As we repeat negative behaviors neural circuitries in the brain begin to form, creating packets of thoughts. In an effort to keep itself from using too much energy, the brain will make these behaviors automatic. Anything that triggers these packets of thoughts turns on areas of the brain that create strong emotions. These emotions create feeling such as sadness, fear, anxiety, resentment, hate, etc. The manifestation of these feelings depends on how you choose to react. Do you think you are a victim? Do you believe you’re superior to others? Do you think you have to have control over others and over every situation? How these circuitries and thoughts are designed, and the reaction that takes place, varies from person to person.
As an example of how this all works, let’s say for example that I have repetitive thoughts where I tell myself that I’m foolish. There are areas of the brain that will get activated. If I say my life is always a mess, other areas of the brain will become activated. If I have sexual thoughts, instinctive regions are activated as well. Conversely, when we think positively, certain the brain is also activated. When I follow an impression for example, the frontal cortex develops intuition. If I believe I can learn, intellectual areas of the brain become active. The key to how we think lies in balancing our lives between the intellectual, emotional, instinctive and intuitive. It’s important to maintain this balance because if we’re constantly only using one part of our brain, the other areas will regress in their development. Balance brings happiness, emotional health, physical health and a feeling of belonging.
As we maintain balance an innate desire grows within us to explore and learn. Creativity increases. Remember that if we put ourselves in undesirable situation or areas where we are compromising our values, the body will always be affected and provide warnings. Symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, mood changes, lack of motivation, pain or illness are all ways that the body warns us that something is wrong. We have to keep in mind that we’re imperfect and that we’re going to make mistakes. The key isn’t in living perfectly; the key is in being quick to reconcile our imperfections and mistakes. This is how we fix ourselves from damage.
Phytotherapi is made of up people like you and me that have a higher goal to help in rooting out problems that cause us pain. As you begin to think and consider areas that you may want to reconcile and change you can start with asking yourself the following questions:
Am I living my life based on false perceptions or thoughts?
What is my motivation for acting how I act?
Why do I think how I do?
There are so many ways to view the world around us. Understanding the basis of our thoughts is the beginning to finding healing. Are we basing our thoughts and how we act on fears? Are we trying to hide our insecurities? When we accept the realization that we’re not perfect and that we have been provided in our minds a set of values that can help guide us to live a happier, healthy more fulfilling life, we’ll allow our brains the ability to reverse any damage that we may have caused to ourselves.