Neural restructuring is the deliberate scientific modification of our brain’s neural pathways. Science confirms our neural pathways are continually realigning. We have been feeding our brain irrational thoughts and concepts since the onset of our psychophysiological malfunction (neurosis). What is irrational? Anything detrimental to our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Simply put, it is irrational to hurt ourselves.
Our brain cannot differentiate between rational and irrational. It does not think; it provides the means for us to think. Our brain is an organic reciprocator. Its job is to provide the chemical and electrical neurotransmitters and hormones that maintain our heartbeat, nervous system, and blood–flow. They tell us when to breathe. They stimulate thirst, control our weight, and digestion. They establish and affect our behavior, moods, memories, and so on.
Hundreds-of-billions of nerve cells (neurons) arranged in pathways or networks make up our brains. Inside each of these neurons, there is electrical activity. Every stimulus we experience causes its receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. A stimulus occurs at every experience―a muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, the prick of a needle, a twitch―every part of our living being. Because of our PPM, we have structured our brain around unhealthy feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Our brain sustains this irrationality by naturally releasing pleasurable chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine). It does not know any better; it just works off our input.
Plasticity is our brain’s capacity to change with learning. Functions performed by our neurotransmitters are learning functions. Neurons do not act alone but through neural circuits. These circuits strengthen or weaken based on chemical and electrical activity. This process is called Hebbian learning, and this is important. Our brain learns at an incredibly accelerated rate, and what has been learned can be unlearned. We unlearn our unhealthy beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy ones. As our brain reciprocates our positive activities, our neural network restructures itself accordingly. Over time, through deliberate repetition, healthy, rational thoughts and behaviors become habitual and spontaneous.
Neural restructuring is science, not hyperbole. The power of our words, thoughts, and actions is life-altering. We all can change the direction of our lives through Hebbian relearning, but the restructuring does not happen overnight, which is it must begin on day one of commitment to recovery.
A primary function of our neurotransmitters is the release of chemicals that establish and affect our behavior, moods, memories, and so on. Individuals affected by personality disorders have been inculcating their brain the irrational thoughts and behaviors that sustain the malfunctions, rather than filling it with thoughts essential to mental and emotional well-being. Our unthinking brain, designed to keep us functioning on all levels, has structured itself around the information we have provided over the years. It doesn’t know whether that information is good or bad, rational or indifferent.
Our brain doesn’t think; it provides the means for us to think. Our neural network works as a mechanical reciprocator; it responds in kind. It goes about its business of keeping us physiologically sound. It structures itself to our habitual input. It’s analogous to the brain of an inveterate gambler, or an addict, or a pathological liar. It doesn’t happen overnight, but a brain constantly fed by the same compulsion or pattern of thought will construct itself into a solid, formidable structure that supports that compulsion―a structure resistant to change. So, if you someday decide you don’t like the architecture and want to renovate, prepare yourself for a lot of laborious work tearing down one structure and building another.
Serotonin, the “happy chemical,” is pumped into our system under certain conditions―to relieve stress for example, or to reenergize tired muscles. It’s that euphoric sensation you get when you’ve come after a hard day’s work, grabbed your favorite beverage, kicked off your shoes and slowly sink into the cushions of the couch.
Your system is going to receive chemical and electrical support no matter how your brain has structured itself. All our mood enhancers receive instructions from the neural network constructed by our input. If we have input unwarranted fears, pessimism, and self-doubt then we will receive pleasurable chemicals from our neurotransmitters for things that should not be pleasurable. This makes any commitment to remedy difficult; our body is physiologically acclimated to what it knows. We have settled for the lesser version of ourselves because it has become the natural way to function properly. That’s why change is so difficult; it’s a rational response to a brain which thrives on irrationality.
Our brain is comprised of hundreds-of-billions of nerve cells (neurons) arranged in pathways or networks. Inside each of these neurons there is electrical activity. Between each neuron there is a miniscule gap in which the chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are released by way of structures called synapses. Neurons are the core components of our brain and our central nervous system. Our functionality is generated by a hugely complex system of synapses, axons, and dendrites working in collaboration with our nerve cells to stimulate our Integral Human Complex (mind, body, spirit, and emotions) with multifunctional neurotransmitters and hormones.
Neurotransmitters perform vital functions: they regulate heartbeat, tell our lungs when to breathe, stimulate thirst, affect mood, control our weight and digestion, etc. Neurons are often connected to multiple other neurons, so at any given time a neuron may be subject to multiple neurotransmitters.
Our neurons don’t act by themselves but through neural circuits. These circuits strengthen or weaken their connections based on chemical and electrical activity. This process is called Hebbian learning, and it’s this concept of learning that’s important; functions performed by our neurotransmitters are learning functions. Our brain is always learning at its incredibly accelerated rate, and what can be learned can be unlearned; beliefs, and behaviors can be unlearned, as new beliefs and behaviors are learned. That’s the function of Restructuring and we all have the capability of making it happen.
Our brain sends and receives messages. A stimulus occurs at every activity and event―a muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, the prick of a needle, a twitch―every part of our living being. As indicated earlier our brain contains around 100 billion neurons and each neuron makes, on average, several thousand synapses. It impossible to comprehensively observe an active network among the thousands and thousands of transmissions-per-second necessary to maintain our entire structure, although researchers can now determine the region of the transmission.
There are thousands of activities going on simultaneously. When our neurons transmit signals to one another, they release a little bit of a neurotransmitter so that the message can be delivered.When our neurons fire repeatedly, they wire together. The more repetitions. the quicker and stronger the new connection.
The brain is a learning tool, categorizing and analyzing without awareness of conscious effort. Plasticity is the capacity of the brain to change with learning. Learning is a component of everything that happens to a person; it is comprised of infinitesimal moments of experience. Studies in brain plasticity show the brain’s ability to change at any age.
The purpose of Restructuring is to replace irrational thoughts and behaviors with enlightened ones. Our beliefs and concepts, thoughts and behaviors have been learned and practiced from early on. We are conditioned to them. There is unappreciated power in the words we use and the thoughts we keep. We can choose to remain miserable and distracted or reinvigorate our appreciation for life. Rationality is the sane and sensible clarity of our authenticity which is defined as being true to oneself, and living in accordance with our desires, motives, ideals, or beliefs as they manifest as beneficial to self and society.