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The Word Creates What It Says

Rebuild your brain with NonViolent Communication (NVC)

N.F.S. Grundtvig, The Danish priest and philosopher, was aligned with recent neuroscience when he wrote these words in 1829. Or as Martin Brofman, American cancer survivor and healer puts it: »The words you use to describe your reality, create your reality«.

The same Martin Brofman suggested 29 years ago that I replace ‘I hate you!’ when watching my mirror image with ‘I love you?. This ? in addition to other disciplines that you can read about in this blog – has helped me transform an inner reality as though I was living in the sewer into the wonderful life I am leading today.

Grundtvigs words mean simply said that when we occupy our minds with something scary, sad or intolerable, we will most likely get more of it. If we instead focus on what we would like to happen, it is more likely to happen. This is proved by brain science 150 years after Grundtvig passed away.

Physical reconstruction of your brain – now? And now? And now?

Our brain is divided into several work departments. Short term memory has one location, the defense system another and our logic a third. Just as the body provides a working muscle with blood, the active areas of the brain receive more blood, oxygen and nutrients than the passive ones.

The brain is changing through our entire life. When a particular cluster of nerve cells are active, they form new connections, more junctions and become faster at transmitting the nerve signals. Neurons, which are less used, will become weaker ? just as a gravel road becomes less passable when nobody uses it. Remember what happened to your ability to orientate yourself after you got your first GPS – if you have such a device!

At the same time, an impulse passes much more easily through, once a highway has been formed. Worry and pain reach the consciousness faster if we have a tendency to worry. On the other hand, if we habitually focus on what makes us happy, we will spot it much easier and miss out on what might drain us.

Focus on needs builds new neural pathways

It is not a good idea to suppress our feelings when we are sad, scared or angry. Life must be felt, lived and understood, and that includes the whole palette. Our negative emotions are there to tell us what important needs of ours are not fulfilled. For this reason, we welcome our emotions, include them and understand them.
If we want to feel better, it is very helpful then to direct our attention towards the longing behind the feeling. Fear often longs for security. Loneliness for community. Anger is often an expression of the need for respect. Try and ask yourself: What is it that the feeling I?m experiencing right now wants for me?

By spending 10-15 seconds imagining how it would be if this attractive state of being was present right in this very moment and really inhale the sensation with our full awareness and the whole body, we exercise our brain in this particular mode. This frequently provides momentary relief, but that is not all. Often it leads us to becoming more creative and courageous so that we seek situations that better meet our needs. And we rebuild our brains to notice and catch the good when it is there.

NVC as an alternative to the meditation cushion

If you ask some of the popular brain scientists and therapists such as Daniel Siegel and Rick Hanson, they point to mindfulness meditation as an indispensable tool for re-orientating our consciousness. NVC can do the same – and even when we live our lives together instead of sitting isolated in meditation.

NVC invites us to focus on what we long for when we are connected to what hurts. This strangely enough happens not automatically, to which brain science also has an explanation ? that will be the topic of a future post :) . Practicing NVC, we also, in addition to what has already been said, learn  a simple way of achieving interpersonal connection.

My longing when starting to write this post was to ease some of the worries out there and to inspire to believe that it works, that it is possible for us to get a good life, all together, together. Were you inspired? Let me know through a comment here or on Facebook.

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