Dear Candy Blog - Neurochemistry Rebalance
Updated: Sep 27
Hello Everyone! Thank you to all of you who wrote questions in the chat yesterday at the retreat, and to those who have sent me questions via email. I look forward to answering them all!
Today's question: What do I do if elevating emotional states and releasing happy-feel-good neurochemistry creates the feeling of having too much caffeine or being on an adrenalin rush?
First, it is helpful to understand what is actually happening in your brain that is creating this. Because of neuroplasticity, our brains adapt to the level of each neurochemical that is released and transmitted through your brain. Remember that the neurotransmitters we activate are released in the brain from one neuron, travel across a gap, and are taken back up by receptor sites specific to that neurotransmitter on the next neuron. The number of receptor sites to take back up those neurotransmitters change depending on how much of that specific neurotransmitter is being released.
So for example, if we spend a lot of time in a negative emotional state, we will have a lot of receptor sites for those negative emotion neurotransmitters. Our brain will be used to having lots of that neurochemistry and will have adapted to that. So then let's say we start changing our emotional state. We start really working on actively cultivating joy. All of a sudden there are a lot more different neurotransmitters that are being released in the brain. But the brain is not used to this (yet) so there are not as many receptor sites to take back up those happy-feel-good neurochemicals. This means those elevated neurotransmitters stay in the gap for longer, sometimes causing a sense of excess excitement and over activation. If we stay the course regardless and keep activating those elevated emotions, the brain will start to adapt. It will add more receptor sites for those neurotransmitters and we won't get that rush anymore. Having elevated emotions will become the new normal.
If you are going through this process, being able to understand and interpret what is happening in this way, while it is happening, can be really helpful. We can say to ourselves, "this is just my brain adjusting to new neurochemistry." We no longer add fear or worry to the situation, and we think greater than how we feel in that moment.
It may also be worth adding something soothing or calming right after you elevate your emotions, at least initially, while your brain adjusts. If you find it hard to be still, go for a little walk or do some gentle movement or stretching, while focusing on something beautiful in your environment or listening to relaxing music or nature sounds. This helps to create the association in your brain that this experience is safe and non-threatening.
Give your system time to adjust. It will!
Next week's post: Enhancing our curious observer of self.
Remember if you have any questions you want answered, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com