"Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8
YES! I made it to Day 21 of focusing on overcoming my food addiction to MAD, the Modern American Diet, which is saturated with sugar! According to Dr. Leaf, renowned Cognitive Neuroscientist, it takes 21 days to build a permanent memory. The minute we go beyond 24 hours of focusing on something, whether it is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, we activate a group of proteins that deposit information into dendrites and begin to build long-term thoughts, aka "memories". If we do not have a good understanding of new information, or we don't pay attention to the information, then the dendrites will not firmly attach to the neuron. After 24-48 hours, little vacuum-cleaners called glial cells remove the branches and place them into "inaccessible memory", which means we forget the information. However, when we set our minds (attitude based in love), and when we pay attention and think deeply about the information, we build healthy, everlasting thoughts. As thoughts become grounded, they also become automatic. Automatic thoughts create automatic behaviors. If I automatically think I will choose healthy food, then I will automatically choose healthy food thereby building healthy behaviors around food. Yes, it's incredible! Thoughts are not imaginary things. They are real substances in our physical brain! Healthy thoughts build healthy brains by sending healthy and balanced electrochemical messages, while toxic thoughts build unhealthy brains by sending unhealthy and unbalanced electrochemical messages. This concept is the scientific baseline in neuroplasticity. Scientists used to believe that brains could not change, and that people had to learn to adapt to their biological prison. However, as Dr. Leaf says, "science dies one funeral at a time" as we explore and learn more about ourselves, our earth, our universe and our creator. Today, we know that the brain is able to build new physiological connections. According to Brainline, a website about Brain Injury and PTSD, "from the time the brain begins to develop in utero until the day we die, the connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to our changing needs. This dynamic process allows us to learn from and adapt to different experiences."
According to Dr. Leaf, geneticists have found that there are genes that create what is known as free will. These genes are located in the corpus callosum which lies beneath the cerebral cortex and connects the right and left sides of the brain. The corpus callosum acts like a light switch allowing the two sides of the brain to work together. It intellectualizes and thinks about information from two perspectives (detail to big picture and big picture to detail). When we acquire information and think about it deeply, we have the ability to make good choices. When we use all aspects of our being (spirit, soul and body) to offer input and help us process information, we make even better choices.
Dr. Leaf also suggests it takes three cycles of 21 days, 63 days, to create automatic thoughts and habits. Today, I want to celebrate making it through my first cycle! I am already feeling better emotionally and physically. I refuse to focus on the few negative set-backs I've had, and I choose to focus on the more positive choices I've made along the way. A failure is a learning opportunity and success is the equivalent of learning from and overcoming past failures.