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What is a thought

What is a thought

The first problem with describing what happens in your body when you are thinking is that not everyone agrees on what constitutes a thought.

For example, this morning while lying in bed you might have had the thought, "I don't want to get up."

Is the thought "I don't want to get out of bed" something that spontaneously appeared in your mind? Or was it triggered by something? Is it just a physical process of your brain or the manifestation of something deeper like a soul, spirit, or other entity?

Anatomy of a thought

Anatomy of a thought

Scientist would argue first that the thought you had was not spontaneous and random. instead, your thought was likely a reaction to something around you.

In this case, it might have been an alarm clock, checking your phone to see what time it is, or hearing something like the garbage truck go by that reminds you of time passing. In other cases, thoughts might be triggered by memories.

now, once you have that thought, what happens?

How to change your thought and change your body

How to change your thought and change your body

Get very clear about the triggers of your thoughts and you will have the power to change your emotions and you health.

example: you've got a mental association between the alarm clock and the thought "i don't want to get out of bed"

you've worn a mental groove in your brain, so to speak, that instantly connects that trigger with that thought. so if you want to change that reaction, you either need to change the trigger of break the association with that thought.

Stuck in a traffic jam and feeling irritated and frustrated? The thought, "I can't stand traffic" will send signals from your brain to your body to speed up your breathing and tense your muscles. Whereas the thought, "I can't control this, might as well relax," will send the signal to your body to calm down.

Regulating your thoughts

Regulating your thoughts

Whenever you have thought, there is a corresponding chemical reaction in your mind and body as a result.

this is important to realize because it means that what you think can affect how you feel. 

If you accept the scientific view that your thoughts are physical parts of your brain and that changing your thoughts can have an effect on your body, then you've just developed a powerful weapon.

Of course, your thoughts don't arise out of a vacuum. For example, you are reading this article and gaining new ideas from it that you can potentially put to use in changing your thoughts.

  • You're starting to think a different way.
  • You've started to feed your brain different information.
  • You've surrounded yourself with information that programs your brain to start thinking the way that you want it to.

What this means is that if you want to start changing your thoughts, you need to be aware of the triggers of your thoughts and also the patterns of thoughts that you have in response to those triggers.

Thoughts and emotions

Thoughts and emotions

we know that your thoughts can influence the neurotransmitters in your brain.

So, if you throw the covers over your head, and that triggers other thoughts such as "I'm tired," "I can't get up," or "Life is hard," complex interactions in your brain may send signals to other parts of your body. 

if you reverse that and think something elke, then the signals will be different.

Your brain is constantly receiving signals, whether from the outside environment in terms of perceptions or memories from your past. It then activates different patterns through waves in the brain through billions of synapses. In this way, your thoughts grow more complex as they interact with other content produced by your brain functions.

Some neuroscience terms defined

Some neuroscience terms defined

The brain operates in a complex way with many parts intersecting and interacting with each other simultaneously. So, when you have that thought in the morning, it's likely that all these different component of your brain (prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, neurons, neurotransmitters, etc.) are all involved at the same time.

  • Action potential: sudden burst of voltage caused by chemical changes ( how neurons signal one another)
  • Neuron: a nerve cell through which signals are sent
  • Neurotransmitter: Chemical messengers released by neurons that help them communicate with other cells (e.g., dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine)
  • Prefrontal cortex: Part of the brain involved in planning, personality, decision making, and social behavior.
  • Hippocampus: part of the brain crucial in variety of memory functions
  • Synapse: A structure that allows a neuron (nerve cell) to pass a chemical or electrical signal to a target cell.

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CURATED BY

rogierhoekstra

I'm passionate about helping people live their best lives. I'm a lifestyle coach and fitness trainer, and I also write and take photographs. Check out the link below for more and follow me on twitter!