Mental Health or Brain Health?


Let’s look at brain health instead of mental health and start Loving Your Brain.

I was listening to a podcast with Daniel Amen, MD. He is a double board certified psychiatrist, the founder of Amen clinics and a 10 time New York Times bestselling author. He inspired much of this episode today. He said:


Calling someone “mental” you are shaming them.

Call someone a “brain” you elevate them.

Maybe you lost touch with reality. Maybe you were sad, anxious, tired or having panic attacks.

How do you think you could have lost touch?

Maybe your life was difficult or stressful.

Or a host of many other things.

We need to treat our brains like an organ, not just something that we never see or think about.

It is because we don’t see it, that we don’t think about it.

And we don’t feel it really. When you have a stomach ache, you really feel that, even though you can’t see it,

and when you have a cut, you see it and feel it …..

but our brains are so often forgotten about.

Daniel Amen also said “The organ of reality is your brain.”

We need to be aware of our brains and nourish our brains and take care of it like we take care of our bodies.


Eat healthy foods, remove toxins, give it healthy things.

Good Mew, by doing this you can decrease depression.

So I always say that taking 5 deep belly breaths can help brake the cycle of stress.


While listening, I learned that Diaphragmatic breathing, can help in breaking a panic attack. Which IS the belly breaths that I refer to.


Daniel notes 3 things:


1. Brain Envy - care about your brain

2. Avoid things that hurt your brain (exercise it)

3. Do things that love your brain

Covid caused chronic stress for all of us and that started a frenzy of triggers to surface and bad habits to start.

I read the book, “The Body Keeps The Score” where Bessel Van Der Kolk explains how your body is aware of trauma and triggers before your brain is even aware of it. But once your brain is aware, how is it reacting?


When our brain is full of negative thoughts and past traumas and past bad habits, you will be so filled with hopelessness and despair.

Did you know that trauma can actually shrink your hippocampus?

The hippocampus has a major role in learning and memory.

I also learned that marjiuana makes your brain smaller, research has shown.


So I heard this great analogy when I was doing some research online and I just love it.

It said that if you look at your brain like a filing cabinet with 3 drawers and at the bottom of the filing cabinet drawer is all of the past and everything that already happened to you, so that drawer would be full


Then the second drawer would be the present which would only have one thing at a time in it as things happen one at a time in our lives.


and then the top drawer would be your future and it would be empty because it hasn't happened yet.

What we tend to do however, is take everything from our past and some of our present and we put it into the future drawer so we're filling that drawer up with stuff that already happened and not allowing it to be what it should be, something different something new to grow into.


We fill it with past habits and patterns and fear.

We need to start taking care of our brain and nourishing it with healthy food and clean thoughts and purpose in our life along with things that feel good and make our brains grow rather than stay stuck in stagnant.


We need to remove the negative entities from our life and create the safe spaces so that our brain can have a break from everything and all the toxins and toxic behaviors of our society.


You can’t control everything but you can control what happens within your own life circle.

But it has to start with you and it has to start with you making a decision that you want a fresh start and you want to heal your brain along with your emotional wounds.

As we know the body and the brain go hand-in-hand with emotional trauma and past emotional experiences. As I always say, it takes disconfirming experiences to turn things around….. that kind of thing feeds your brain.

Feed your brain with experiences that are going to feel good and that are going to prove that life doesn't have to be the way you think it's going to be or the way your past has dictated it should be.

Along with all of that we do need to eat healthy food and get rid of all of the toxic elements whether its food or lotions that you put on your body or people in your life that are causing you pain.


Let’s not forget that when we focus only on mental health or “brain health” we don’t want to leave out the “emotional health” that is completely connected to our brain health.


Mastin Kipp has said that mental health is primarily emotional health and that regulation is the nervous system's ability to navigate the highs and lows of activation and return to calm. So you see, the brain and body (mental and emotional) go hand in hand.


We have developed inflexible nervous systems over the years by our pasts and therefore we are having difficulty returning to calm. If we try and think our way or talk our way through something, it might not work because we need to consider our bodies, our emotional nervous systems.


I’ve talked in the past about Efferent pathways which are 20% Brain to Body

And Afferent pathways which are 80% body to brain.

So keep that in mind when you are thinking about healing your entire self. Yourself as a whole.

Suppressing your feelings with pills or alcohol or drugs or any other buffering habit is only covering up what is really happing inside, right?


We need to come full circle with our health.

So what happens? We go to the gym and we get our bodies in shape and we feel good on the outside but on the inside we're dying.

And then we might do some meditation and things like that and we ignore our bodies so then we don't feel good because our body is out of shape but our mental clarity is better.

Or we read a lot of books and learn a lot of things but we're not actually doing anything or taking any action and we're still stuck in a space that we might not like.

As you can see we need to feed our bodies, feed our brains and make it a whole experience of healing. Take care of YOU first, so you can take care of others.


Our brains don’t like to change and our brains are good at remembering but that creates problems many times. Our brains will remember all the bad stuff and it'll keep track of all of our habits and it will keep us doing the same things over and over which doesn't allow us to progress and move forward.


But on the other hand you want to have a good brain that remembers things if you're trying to make it through school or you're trying to do a good job at your employment. Knowing the difference is important.


Feeding our brains with useful information and new information and future focused information is what we want to start doing. It's time to stop living in the past and thinking past thoughts and creating more of the past.


It is time to start growing your brain, building possibility and having a purpose filled future.

As always, you know I can help you with this, so reach out and let me know if you would like a 30 minute conversation all about you.


karenmessina.com

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