Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mental Programs

Wow! Amazing news about cells! I’ve been reading Candace Pert’s book, “Molecules of Emotion” and I’m starting a revolution in my mind! Did you know that each one of your cells is like a little brain that stores memories and communicates with all the other cells in your body through an intricate system of chemistry that makes the Internet look as primitive as smoke signals?

You can put this system to work for you just by knowing this—because once you know this, you’ll be communicating that knowledge to all the cells as well! That is, once you involve your conscious brain, you can think thoughts and make decisions that will affect not just your mood and energy levels, but things like chronic pain, blood pressure level, your immune system, and your overall health and well-being.

This is a huge topic with an infinite number of ways to put it to good use, but let’s start with using it to help you stay motivated to stick with a healthy lifestyle. The choices you make every minute of the day that determine what you would call your “lifestyle” have been put in place by you because of the chemicals in your brain that make you happy, your endorphins. Your response to seeing a pile of French fries vs. a clean, green salad is similar to the way the filing system in your computer works. You make associations with foods, experiences, etc. that you’ve had before and every time you have that experience and think the same thoughts, you reinforce a “default” response.

Often when people start a new fitness program or diet, unbeknownst to them, the deepest part of their mind thinks that it’s going to be a temporary situation. They haven’t yet created a new “default” response to their new choices. So how do you reprogram these default settings? First you have to very gently and very seriously ask yourself about what kind of pleasure you may be getting from your previous habits. This isn’t just the obvious stuff like, “Well, French fries are just superdelicious!” Because if you know that they’re bad for your health (and they really are!) but you continue to choose them anyway, you’re going against goals you’ve set for yourself and you’re going to end up feeling bad about that choice later. So you’ve got to really get into the deeper parts of your mind and ask why you’re not taking your new goal seriously.

Then, of course, you’ll need to create positive mental associations with the things you’ve chosen to be your new habits. For instance, while you’re eating something healthy or sticking with your plan to exercise, make a point of thinking about how happy you are to be doing something so good for yourself. Over time, the association will be automatic.

By approaching your system this way, you will develop a clear communication with your body and your subconscious mind that will become easier and easier to make use of.


  1. I think that our positive associations with bad foods mostly come from our traditions; birthday cake overeating on holidays, Christmas cookies, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and apple pie on the forth of July...and how many of us got "rewarded" with dessert or a trip to a fast food restaurant as kids (good grades, making the team, etc)? Maybe the trick is to associate healthy foods and habits with other activities that we love; pre-record a favorite TV show and only watch it when you're on the exercise bike, listen to your favorite music or save a new album that you purchased for your time exercising, and perhaps developing new food traditions for celebrations. Much of the trick seems to be in undoing a lifetime's worth of conditioning!

  2. Those are some good ideas, Jen!

  3. Do not know if you have ever listened to John Tesh,but he did a segment on this and one of the points he brought out was that it takes about 2-3 weeks for your body to recognize a change in your eating habits and for it to adapt.