Metacognition with Dr. Dispenza on Ted Talk

Joe tedtalk.jpgThis morning I saw Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Ted Talk presentation on neuroplasticity and rewiring our brains (cortical remapping) to change our behaviors. I think it was called “Thinking to Doing to Being.” (The location is: https://www.facebook.com/DrJoeDispenzaOfficialNewsFanPage/videos/2122965437728839/  )

Because I have previously commented on this aspect of “Whatever you think, IS—so change your thinking to reflect what you want” I’ll include the link if anyone wants to see it, and I’ll make a few more comments per Dr. Dispenza’s TT advice.

He began by explaining the functions of the 3 main parts of the brain: the neocortex3 parts of brain.jpg (the thinking brain), the limbic (mammalian/emotions/feeling) brain, and the cerebellum (the subconscious/reptilian) brain.  When all parts are functioning optimally and are in coordination with each other, we are in optimal mental health and can direct the course of our lives as we wish.

However, when what we think and what we feel are out of line with each other—like when a disturbing memory association and corresponding body reaction because of it counters our intentions to better control our present-day actions, then we feel we have no control over our lives—we automatically react to everything around us. We become stressed, we lose our temper, we act fearful for no visible reason, etc., and then we tend to blame others for our inability to control ourselves.

brain neuropla.jpgBut humans have an amazing ability to actually observe our thinking/acting processes. It is called metacognition—we can become consciously aware of ourselves and our reactions to life through observation—by pulling back to watch how our mind and our body are trying to take us in a direction we really don’t want to go, and then tracing the behavior back to the trigger point that created the reaction.  When we go into observation mode we can simply watch ourselves being WHO we are being—watch how we are reacting to the stimuli before us—even observe our thoughts at the moment to see what we are automatically thinking when a trigger subject arises. It is self-observation and reassessment before automatic reaction.

The importance of this is that in the ability to simply observe ourselves through metacognition, we then have the opportunity to change our previously-patterned behavior.

Dr. Dispenza went into depth on when you maintain the observer of how you are reacting stance rather than automatically react, you change the neuron-firing patterns of your brain’s neocortex enough so that you actually disrupt the limbic brain’s emotion-charged, chemical reactions to the same subject matter. By doing this you are diffusing the chemical effect that it would normally have on your endocrine system which controls the specific chemicals released into your blood stream like the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands that triggers our natural fight-or-flight response.create your future.jpg

Auto-reactions are carefully created neuropathways in the brain established by patterns of reaction and behavior. “Circuits that fire together, wire together,” he says. “So change your thinking, and you can change your body’s reaction to your environment.”

When you can shift to observer/non-reactive mode and choose how you wish to respond to a situation, you begin to biologically breakdown the old circuits earlier created in your brain that were connected to your old way of reacting to life stressors.  This makes your brain neurons start firing in new sequences and new patterns so that what once might have sparked a stress reactor in you, now is recognized as a trigger that you no longer will allow to affect you in the same way. You’ve taken control of how you think about the situation.

I’ll paraphrase him a bit here: “Nerve cells that fire together—wire together. Think new thoughts and you change your brain’s wiring patterns. This is how you change patterns of behavior—you start by thinking new thoughts and recognizing automatic stress triggers that previously might have adversely affected your body. By thinking about the situation in a less-reactive way—less emotional attachment to the situation, you can establish a new pattern of thought and a new pattern of behavior.”

“Knowledge is for the mind, but experience is for the body.  When you change a pattern of thought over time, you change the pattern of your body’s reaction to those thoughts.  The mind is primarily the neocortex of the brain, where as the emotions and body reactions are feelwhatyouthink.jpggoverned by the limbic (mammalian) brain which sends out the signals for the endocrine’s reaction and corresponding chemical release into the bloodstream to provide the body with additional reaction abilities. To change your body’s behavior, you neuro-chemically condition the body to accept the new behavior or new reaction.  With repetition, new circuits are created and the brain creates new pathways for more calmly dealing with a once-stressful situation.”

The third brain, the cerebellum or the reptilian brain, is the automatic reaction for protection and preservation of the body.  When you establish solid connections between the neocortex and the limbic brains, and develop new patterns of established behavior and reactability, then the cerebellum (the seat of your subconscious mind) can adopt it as the natural reactive pattern—it becomes the new habit, the new second-nature, the new go-to skill.  This becomes innate—it becomes your new way of being.”

“The way we transform the world, is to transform ourselves.”joe destiny

And there you have it.

I liked the last statement best, paraphrased as: “If you want a more compassionate world, then train yourself to react with compassion rather than anger to a situation not of your liking.”

He’s worth hearing.

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