19 thoughts on “The Neuroscience of Changing Toxic Thinking Patterns (1 of 2)

  • August 9, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Amazingly useful information. I am in love with your brain!

    • August 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Samuel, I love the humor in this comment, and so appreciate you and your support!

  • August 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Will be using this with my clients next Sat. in Anger Management. I like to use Heartmath as a tool to demonstrate that inner awareness that is so necessary. I also teach a bit about Paul Ekman’s work on our response to facial expressions. Mike

    • August 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks for the support, Mike. I appreciate HeartMath’s tools and will check into Ekman’s work on facial expressions, a fascinating area, as the subconscious picks up these “cues” much faster than the conscious mind. So appreciate your comment. Thanks again!

  • August 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    This is wonderful, very useful for me right now. Thank you. I think I will share this with my therapist (though I’m sure he already knows all this, hah, but I think I will share what I’ve taken from it).

    • August 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      Nice to hear from you, AJ, thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m glad you’re open to share with your therapist, and I’d be interested to hear what you’ve taken from it as well. If you wish to share, email me at [email protected]. In any case, thanks again. I appreciate you.

  • August 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    A lot of good info here, mixed with some ideas that I question. This is my field of expertise. “Toxic” thinking does not stimulate the reward system, just the amygdala/fear/fight mechanisms of the limbic brain. Most thoughts barely have an effect on nonconscious operations in the brain. Repetitious thoughts slowly influence the many behavioral decisions of the nonconscious brain, which is why we have to practice, many times over, learning positive solutions for problems we face. The brain is firing away all the time, and conscious thoughts are just one of the minor parts of the dozens of communication processes that take place. Strong negative words and inner speech will stimulate neural defensive reactions, so overall, her advice is sound and well taken.

    • August 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

      First, I want to say that I love your book and research on How God Changes Your Brain, and make references to some of your findings in my writings. True, the idea of toxic thinking as a “feel good” reward is “new” and somewhat speculative. Defensive strategies such a toxic thinking, however, activate to cope with stress, thus, they relieve or lowers anxiety. It stands to reason that the body would consider them a type a reward. Combined with the brain’s ability to habituate, the strong tendency to resist changes to fear-based behaviors even when harmful, and the compulsive and resistant nature of toxic thinking, I think it is safe to propose that toxic thinking shares some properties with other addictions. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

    • April 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      I agree entirely. The point is that the amygdala is a pivotal point for both emotionality and digestion, which suggests that digestive disorders must be seen in the HPA context. Problem is, that the connection between this ‘paleomammalian brain’ and consciousness is extremely limited. You have no video or linguistic memos. Probably best route is through meditation – some of my informants told me that insight occurred in a ‘flash’.

  • April 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    In research as a medical anthropologist I have encountered people who suffered from inflammatory bowel disease (either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) who told me that struggling to make sense of a toxic relationship (which include memories of abuse including rape)is what made them ill and that ‘converting’ their attitudes so as to deny the validity of others’ manipulative and/or toxic relationships with them took an effort, a paradigm shift that was difficult but worthwhile, and produced autonomy and freedom of choice. The obstacle to overcome was a subliminal appetite for dependency – a need for a mentor, often going back to a problem with being cared for as a child.

  • December 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Wow, this was great… I love what you wrote about your thinking patterns. They need to change if you do not have the life and relationships you desire. Thanks for sharing!

  • December 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Reading this article, at this moment in Life, has been a True Blessing.
    Personally, very much needed to read this information (randomly coming across it on FB)
    it represents a higher, evolved and more educated level of thinking about existence –
    for my conscious & unconscious self = body, mind and soul.
    Bless everyone involved in publishing and producing this work.
    This is a very personal awakening…
    Undramatically, i tell you, my Life has been saved by this article.
    Looking forward to part 2!

    • December 29, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Thanks for your supportive comments, Striver. I am glad you found this article beneficial and a “blessing,” and so appreciate your sharing thoughtful reflections and insights. Thanks for stopping by!

  • December 31, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for this very article, you explain very nice how our mind works, and I understand it well… and I am not a scientist and english is not my native language.B ut a lot of what you say here we can experience if we pay attention and are aware of our thinking and doing. For me it is certain that negative emotions and traumas are the root of sickness. Toxic thinking patterns can in my opinion changed and released, with talking understanding and love.

    • January 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you Erika for sharing your thoughts and insights. So appreciate your stopping by to comnment.

  • May 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    What if your’re a toxic person with Asperger’s and more? Good luck!

  • May 2, 2015 at 1:18 am

    I highly recommend reading the following article from Psychology Today online:

    “How to Keep People From Bringing Out the Worst in You:
    Stay in the Adult brain and don’t react to a jerk like a jerk” by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

  • April 12, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    This is the best article I have ever read on why and how we change toxic thinking patterns. I have recognized and struggled with changing my toxic thinking patterns for most of my life. I have recognized the patterns in myself, understood the impact that they have on my life and most recently (not really that recent about 8 years now) have known about the mind/body connection yet I didn’t know how to change my thoughts and struggled to find ways in which to do it myself. This article is written in such a clear, concise and compassionate manner that you have no choice but to begin right away to make changes and to be more compassionate with yourself, to feel capable of making a change and to clearly understand in an almost tangible way the immediate impact that mastering your mind will have on your life. I read part two of this article first then googled it again to save it as the indelible reference that it quickly became for me and then I came across part one. I am so grateful to GOD that he had me stumble upon this article at this time in my life. I am truly tired of struggling. I had already made some great strides in this area simply because I truly believe in the law of attraction and knew that I would only continue attracting what I thought about and that life will pass you by whether you a living a great one or not but this article and part two has helped me to focus not only on the law of attraction but the need for a lasting permanent mastery of the mind with the understanding that every area of my life will improve. Again thank you for this priceless information. I am inspired to finally have the tools with which to love myself more and consequently attract to myself peace, love, compassion, and abundance and isn’t that what we all really want.

  • April 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you for this my favorite saying is your life is what you make it. Jump over the bumps and climb out of the ditches


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