Synapses are where the business of the nervous system happens.
Lately, we’ve been talking about the basics of self-brain surgery to learn how to think about our thinking, and the ideas behind the new book I’m writing, Infinitely Happier: A Neurosurgeon’s Thoughts on Thinking.
But this isn’t just some “self-help” or motivational speaker-type thing. Because the vast majority of your life, the decisions you make, the relationships you have, the things you accomplish or strive for come out of how you think: your attitudes, your thought patterns. Everything about how you handle stress, unexpected challenges, and the hard parts of life is determined by your thinking.
But the problem is, most of us spend our lives reacting to our thinking, because we never think about our thinking.
And the reality is, our baseline thoughts are not very reliable most of the time. Why? That answer is rooted in the science of how our nervous systems are wired. The bad news is that your nervous system has a set of responses to challenges, threats, and stresses, and that set of responses isn’t very specific. In other words, you basically feel the same things in your body when a tiger is actually chasing you as you do when you hear a sound in the next room and wonder if someone’s breaking into your house- even if it’s just the icemaker. Those triggered responses aren’t very helpful when they make us reflexively freak out.
But the good news is, your brain can be trained to separate the response from the stimulus. But it requires brain surgery.
That’s why I’m always saying, “You can’t change your life until you change your mind.”
In other words, if you keep thinking the same thoughts- if you never change how you look at things or the mental framework from which you approach the world- then you’re going to keep experiencing the same patterns and outcomes.
And the part of the nervous system that connects two nerves, or nerves and muscles or other organs, is called a synapse. In your brain, there are about 100 trillion of them. Trillion with a T. And when those synapses don’t work right, you don’t work right.
Today, we’re going to look at two diseases that affect the synapses between your nerves and your muscles. And I want to show you a little of how the nervous system works, so we can see how important it is to make sure we have healthy synapses.
If you want to become healthier, feel better, and be happier, you’ve got to think about your thinking. But sometimes life creates unhealthy connections- sick synapses- that trigger thought patterns and behaviors in us we’re not even aware of.
You can’t change your life until you change your mind. And severing sick synapses- breaking down those bad connections life has created and making better ones- is a key to getting that done.
Remember Proverbs 17:27-28 in The Passion Translation (TPT):
27 Can you bridle your tongue when your heart is under pressure?
That’s how you show that you are wise.
An understanding heart keeps you cool, calm, and collected,
no matter what you’re facing.
That’s one of the secrets to becoming Infinitely Happier, friend.
Learning to stay cool, calm, and collected no matter what we’re facing. That’s useful during a global pandemic, but it’s also useful in everyday life. And it doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by severing sick synapses. My friend, we’re going to learn how, and we’re going to start today.