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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Controlling the Brain and Stress Shrinkage

Here's another example of how the 'mind' can manipulate the 'brain':

This study reminds me an awful lot of Dr. Ramachandran's famous discovery for the treatment of 'phantom limbs':

In the 'mirror box,' the person suffering from phantom limb pain places his remaining limb in one part of the box that has a mirror, which make a mirror image of the limb in the other side which appears to be the phantom limb.  The sufferer can then look into the box and see the phantom limb, and his brain will tell him it is real and give him the sensation of its reality.

The treatment of depression using imagery of the brain appears to resemble this phenomenon.

What does this tell us?

If depression has a physiological component, and this component can be manipulated by thought, then mood is not only influenced by thought, but can also be changed by guided thought.  Does this mean that we can simply decide to change our moods at any time?  No.  This study does not suggest this at all.  But, it does bring up important questions about addiction.

The question is this: how much of our cravings and impulses, the ones that seem to run so deep, are attributable to the imagery we receive and the changes this imagery has on our brains?  Do we see the world as bleak and hopeless because we have created bleak and hopeless worlds around us?

I think we need to look at how we are influencing ourselves, and whether this influence is positive or not.    What does modern architecture do to us?  More importantly, what is the entertainment industry drumming into our heads in ways that we do not realize?

Sure, there are not accompanying photos of the brain to 'reinforce' the message as used in this study, but the study is showing a very short period of time where demonstrable changes were taking place.  The study opens the possibility that brain changes can be made, and accelerated using brain imagery, but this does not exclude slower processes without the confirmation.

Again, we are talking about the 'brain' as opposed to the 'mind.'  Perhaps, the mind may be able to function well on a certain plane which the brain suffers for it.

Here's another study:

This one concludes that stress 'shrinks' the brains of people who have 'healthy' minds.  Eventually, the damage done to the brain system then, in turn (like depression), affects the mind in a negative way.

So, we may think that our minds are dealing well with the stress, but in reality we are experiencing brain damage that will affect our minds later on when we exit the stress.  If we are bombarding our minds with negative images, could we be altering our brains in such a way that escaping the draw of these images becomes inescapable?

I suppose my real question is this: are we creating the modern escalation of addictions by flooding our minds with images that alter us and leave us vulnerable to addiction?  

It would seem that our modern world has expanded to a point we cannot tolerate according to our nature.  We are aware of far more than we ever have in any point in history.  We are intimately connected to the entire world, and see consequences in every act.  Are we overloading ourselves with concerns and cares which increase our worries and concerns, making them intolerable without some reliance on a Higher Power to keep this world of madness from exploding?

I have not even gotten into music and the forces of nature battling our sedentary lives...

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