According to neuroscience research conducted over the past 10-15 years, when we have an experience, an emotion is attached to it. When we then have a similar experience, the brain recalls that emotion and causes a chemical to be released to nerve receptors in the body. This automatic response lasts about 90 seconds. When we consciously hold on to the thought, it continues to release the chemical until we are overloaded with them. We go from emotion to mood to temperament to personality trait.
However, there is a way to interrupt this process. It all starts with awareness and choice. As I said before, the initial response lasts about 90 seconds. Being aware of what is happening allows you to choose to let go of that emotion. The key is practice. Each time you feel something uncomfortable or even overwhelming, be aware and let go.
I am will attest that it isn’t always easy. In fact, it takes constant practice, but the reward is so great. The same research showed that when that process is interrupted, there are significant improvements physically since we are not overloading our nerves receptors and causing stress. There are mental improvements as new neuro-connections are made to facilitate changes in our emotional responses. And most importantly, we become more optimistic.
We learn conditioned responses all our lives but we can change them and go beyond the thinking we don’t have control, because we do. And that is freedom.