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We Have a Choice: The Power of Neuroplasticity

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brain_drawingWe Have a Choice: The Power of Neuroplasticity

By Dr. Carrie McCrudden, Owner of Colorado Therapy Care, PC

On April 20, you have the opportunity to gather with about 400 other women to get support in building a more enjoyable, empowered and realistic mix in your life.  Looking at the realities of navigating work, family, home, self and community, Cindy and Nicole offer opportunities to learn how to connect with other women, equip yourself with tools and empower you to move forward feeling more in control and content with your unique mix of these five critical categories of life.  As in any large group, there will be women there who are a lot like you, and many who are quite different from you and your life.

One thing we will all have in common at the work-life summit is our human brain, arguably the most complex structure known in the world.*  Our brains tend to occupy only about 2 % of our weight, but use 25 % of our oxygen stores, and 20 % of the glucose in our systems.  Our brains are always on, even when we’re sleeping, and its incredible network of neurons (we have about 100 billion of these) enables us to take care of basic physical functioning activities like breathing and sleep, as well as  activities like thinking, reasoning, and having a conversation.  If we consider our brains to be our physical structures and our minds to be the mental activity that occurs within the brain, we can then examine how the mind changes the brain and the brain changes the mind.

Now this sounds really complex, and in some ways the mechanics of all this is.  However, you are actually using your mind to change your brain and your brain to change your mind all the time!  Ever felt tired, drank a cup of coffee (brain) and felt more energetic (mind)?  You used coffee to change your brain, which in turn changed your mind.  The good news?  We can use our minds to change our brains and improve our lives.  This is the basic concept of neuroplasticity.  Literally, we can change our minds and brains, even if we are all grown up, or have no knowledge of neurology, even if all this science stuff isn’t your favorite (and if science is your favorite, that’s great, you can change your brain too).

So how does this relate to your mix?  Why should this matter to you and how does it inform the Work-Life Thrive Summit?  Well, the basic concept of neuroplasticity means that what you incline your mind towards, grows.  Not only does it grow, it can actually change the shape, structure and functioning of your brain.  Thus you can deliberately use your focused attention to make your brain and your life better.  We will be giving you more information on how to use the power of your mind to move your life forward in the next few months leading up to the Summit, and we will have easy to do, effective and enjoyable exercises scattered throughout the Summit to help lead you through this process.

For today, I want to leave you with one action item to start the process of using the power of neuroplasticity to make your mix easier to navigate.  Take a moment right now to sit quietly and notice your thoughts.  Where does your mind take you?  Do you notice self-criticism, or your to do list, or a lovely feeling of gratitude?  Check in with yourself and see where you tend to incline your mind.  What words do you use to describe your life?  Are you the person who always says she’s busy?  Or tired?  Or stressed?  Those are reflections of where you are inclining your mind.  Just notice, without a bunch of judgement, where your mind takes you. Then if you don’t love the lean, give yourself permission to incline your mind in another direction.   Then repeat, repeat, repeat.  We’ll talk more about all this, and be sure to make it really easy to do, but for today, just notice where your mind goes.

* Check out www.rickhanson .net for more brain research, stats and information.

 

carrie1About:
Dr. Carrie really enjoys living a healthy, happy life, and wants you to get the opportunity to live healthy and happy too!  She has been working in the therapy field for 20 years, and is dedicated to helping people win over tough problems like anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, mood disorders and other life challenges.

Dr. Carrie received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, her Masters in Counseling from the University of Denver and her Bachelors in History, emphasis in Latin American Studies, from the University of Virginia.  She has specific training in treating trauma and PTSD with a special type of therapy called EMDR.  In addition, she seeks out research and information about mental health, behavior change, habits, relationships and other areas essential to a great life.

Dr. Carrie takes care to make sure her own life is filled with joy, connection, excellence and balance and hopes to help you move closer to whatever it is that would make your life more fulfilling and enjoyable.  Let’s thrive! Website: Colorado Therapy Care, PC

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