Sometimes messages from parents, messages from childhood, patterns behaviors, traditions just stay in our mind, they leave us predisposed to emotional load, to be more sensitive to pain or even to be predisposed to rumination, anxiety or depression.
We often don’t seem to understand that our childhood stage even from early stages such as the womb are critical stages to acquire most of our behaviors, patterns and toxic emotional cycles. Moreover many emotional interactions, neglecting emotional behaviors or emotional attachment issues are being overlooked when in fact the source of many of adolescence and adulthood emotional instability is produced in stages.
Because the development of the immune system is not completed at birth, but rather continues throughout child- hood, environmental stimulation in childhood years can have profound effects on the immune system (1).
Experimental animal models have shown that early-life stress can affect later immune functioning, but observational human studies are needed to test if childhood trauma does affect later immune function- ing in ordinary people. Below, we review key papers that have investigated the association between traumatic experiences in childhood (generally defined as pre-pubertal exposure) and immune abnormalities (1).
Childhood and adolescent years have such important windows for neural and immunological plasticity that if we are not more careful with those stages, many of the epigenetic traits and marks will be imprinted during these years.
We have investigated the association between childhood trauma and plasma inflammation biomarkers among 1037 members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (Poulton et al, 2015). Study members have been followed since their birth in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972–1973 through repeated waves of assessment until adult life with very low attrition. This design enabled us to undertake a longitudinal-prospective assessment of maltreatment experiences in the first decade of life as study members grew up, including behavioral observations, parental reports, and retrospective reports by study members once they reached adulthood. Furthermore, at age 32 years we measured plasma inflammation biomarkers, namely C-reactive protein (CRP), fibrinogen, and white blood cell count. We found that cumulative exposure to childhood maltreatment was associated with significant and graded elevation in inflammation levels 20 years later (1).
Therefore a call of attention should be made to encourage parents, even if they are young, to access and be more informed about the consequences of not fostering a nurturing style that allow the child to be in a safe space, to be emotionally cared, and to allow him/her to have a healthier outlook since he/she begins the story of her/his life and is allowed to finish, to polish and to assemble all of the immunological and neural machinery to have a more prosperous future in any of the endeavors that he/she chooses after in his/her life.
How can you diminish or even regenerate the damage you might suffered earlier?
However not everything is lost, if you were an abused child or you had a rough start during your childhood years or even at the adolescent stage. You are still on time to heal the wounds, you are still able to repair many of the neural and immunological pathways through the amazing “magical” process of brain plasticity which applies either to neural pathways or immune functions.
Depending on the years, depending on the damage, many of the traits, marks or deteriorating processes that your childhood or teenage years left in you, you’re still on time to do the work, to allow your body to rewire many of the pathways that could have been damaged during those moments.
Taking back the control of your life, trying to rewrite your story of emotional damage and allowing yourself to see it from an observer point of view is one of the first steps that has been proven to allow your brain to start reversing the effects of such damage.
As mentioned earlier pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 (Interleukin-10), which are the immunity messengers and Lypopolisacharide (LPS) that also acts as a triggering substance for inflammatory pathways are released during the trauma experiences, to counteract the effect of these toxic messengers exercise, a healthier nutritious behavior and a spiritual practice such as meditation have demonstrated that allow our bodies to start releasing healing cytokines such as IL-1, IL-2,3,4; additionally there are other regulatory and anti-inflammatory messengers such as BDNF and Glucocorticoids that allow our body to be repaired, the immune system to be replenished and rewiring our neural pathways restoring some if not all of the damage that was produced due to the emotional abuse and childhood severe experiences.
Glucocorticoid actions also involve multiple mechanisms, besides direct and in- direct regulation of gene expression, from directly stimulating glutamate release to indirectly inhibiting it via stimulation of endo-cannabinoid secretion and regulation of calcium sequestration and free radical formation via the mitochondria (2).
Positive effects of glucocorticoids on cellular function range from enhancement of adaptive im- mune function by acute stress, to promoting Ca++ buffering by mitochondria, as well as the enhancement of memory related to danger; glucocorticoids also protect against post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms (2).
Without having to depend on pharmacological drugs or any type of synthetic aids, your body is able to create new signals, new pathways, new wiring mechanisms and heal the damage that you might have suffered. If you are able to align yourself with the clear purpose of achieving that task as well as designing a compromise with yourself, with your physical, mental and emotional health that allows you to have a different paradigm, a healthier outlook and that will be able to start reprogramming your mind, your body and of course start generating a profound impact in your epigenetic imprints.
What can you do to start designing a healthier outlook?
Your mind is your hard drive, your heart will be your cleaning software, therefore in order to achieve a deeper cleaning strategy we will have to align what you’re feeling with what you know can think, remember and able to reconstruct from the damage.
Let’s get ready to start ..the healing process:
i) Our mind is not always the most reliable source to interpret, perceive and appreciate the damage that we could have suffered. However we’ll try to make it as objective as possible to give us a draft blueprint of where to start, therefore during this stage we will place ourselves as a third party that will be able to see things without judgement even if the emotion is there. This step is the most critical in terms of being as specific as possible and also it very likely be the most painful as you will be reliving some of the experiences that is why you should try to detach from the emotion as much as possible and see it as if you were telling the story of someone else.
ii) Once you’ve drafted the experience with all the details that you might gather from your mind recollection, you will find out as much as possible what was the trigger for the situation in terms of the offender point of view, either the past trauma history, the emotional triggering situation that the person could have lived or an unidentified pattern, you’re not trying to justify anything, you’re just trying to create a more coherent scenario that allows you to see the things with a more empathic perspective and a compassionate heart feeling. Here and by looking at the background triggering effects that the “offender” had you will be able to generate a connection with your heart and see the things with a forgiveness outlook that will allow you to release some if not all the emotional load that you’ve been carrying.
iii) Next, you will allow yourself to rewrite the experience with a healing perspective, meaning you will change the narrative of the situation to a positive experience, completely changing the environment and scenario of what happened, and here you can allow yourself as empathic as you want in order to be able to rewire that experience now in your brain. This means, that you’ll do an effort to stay with the positive scenario and release as much as possible the negative experience, which should be less difficult once you were able to see that the “offender” had a previous history of abuse, neglecting issues or emotional severe experiences as well.
iv) Often times, we try to assign guilt, we are predisposed to blame people without being empathic and compassionate and most of the times, people that behave as “offenders” whether they’re from your own family, friends, or strangers they have a history, they have a background of pain, emotional hardship which have been accumulating over years and not to be in a permissive state or justifying their actions, but being able to finally release your emotional wounds and heal them, compassion, empathy, forgiveness and aligning your heart and brain will be the most useful tools that will allow you to thrive during the journey towards letting go of the issue.
Extracting the most powerful positive sentences/statements when you were doing the writing exercise allow you to feel positive and start feeling healing emotions. That will allow you to be able to create a narrative that will stay with you, that will finally rewire your brain and through empathy and compassion you’ll be able to let go of the negative emotions.
v) Finally allowing your mind to create the habit of repeating the positive phrases and sentences, describing the experiences that you want to have and crossing the toxic messages you had is what in the end will allow you to form a new habit, a new healing pattern.
Therefore, your healing process begins in the present moment, creates opening up your heart, allowing the connection with your brain, the best and easiest way to do it... is to start being grateful for the things, for the moments, for the people, for the events, for every single major or not “so big” but essential that you are enjoying in the moment, those grateful thoughts will start feeding your mind and opening Your heart until both of them achieve a state of synchronicity which will propel you to thrive, to gain traction and to build resilience connecting you with a field of new possibilities, with your future, with the thoughts that you already drafted, with the idea that you clearly detailed when writing your new behaviors that you want to incorporate as part of your new way of thinking.
If you use this set of steps, if you allow yourself to be constant, disciplined and most of all you create a compromise with yourself...then I have no doubts that you’ll achieve the installation of the new pattern.
Just be patient, be kind with you, remember that when you received the toxic messages, there was not quick for your mind to take them, when you had your emotional neglection or abuse in order for your mind to accept it, to internalize it there were years and you allowed yourself to replay the pain, the damage and the suffering over and over again.
Thus, now If you really want to heal, if you really desire to have a different outlook, a different future, a different life, you’ll need to be constant, repetitive, diligently, patiently and kindly to install the new software in your brain.
Just as a computer software that once it is released you receive probably 10 or 20 updates so that it starts to work smoothly and much more efficiently, your brain needs at least 3-4 months to install the new version of the software, and yes ..you’ll have to update the software with a strong will, with a strong outlook, with confidence that eventually that kind of pattern of thought is the one that will stay with you.
And even if you have some days, were the previous toxic software wants to re-appear in your mind, use your antivirus to dissolve it, which is all of your grateful thoughts, which is all of your compassion, empathy arsenal of positive emotions that will counteract the effect of that toxic set of patterns.
Don’t be afraid, don’t be desperate..takes time, but believe me once you are enrolled in the path of doing the right things, of cleaning your life of toxicity, you’ll be finding a much more supportive environment with new people, with new endeavors, with doors that will start to be opened just because you decided to change and you’re doing the job and showing up to do it everyday!
In summary, it’s completely worth it to do all the work required to update your old, toxic software and start removing all those viruses that keep sabotaging your life, that keep making you feel that life is punishing you and that many times it seems that you’re on the right track and just when you least expect it, something comes up triggers your mind, turns on the memories and you lose most of what you’ve already won!
You are not destined to repeat any patterns, you’re not wired to repeat stories, you’re not wired to stay in darkness, suffering and play the victim role for the rest of life ..however in order to have the protagonist role of your life and start being the star of your movie, you need to learn the lines of the new script, you have to align your body and mind to act as a successful, wealthy, abundant and healthy person, and the more you’re disciplined and constant to do it, the faster you’ll be witnessing the amazing results of reprogramming your mind to succeed!
#reprogram #mind #rewire #brain #plasticity #hardship #pain #memories #patterns #habits #healing #mind #body #align #heart #meditation #journaling #discipline #create #wellness #health #abundance #success #Danese #McEwen #Ortega #daveortegab
1. Danese, A., & Lewis, S. J. (2017). Psychoneuroimmunology of early-life stress: the hidden wounds of childhood trauma?. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(1), 99.
2. McEwen, B. (2015). Preserving neuroplasticity: Role of glucocorticoids and neurotrophins. PNAS