Updated: Nov 23, 2021
Hi friends! This is the start of a new series here on Rewiring Your Wellness to focus on strategies I've used to unearth what was beneath the rubble of symptoms or illness and reconnect to my essence. I'll be sharing tips here each month.
If you're interested in connecting more regularly, I also have a blog on Brain Gardening called Seeds of Hope where I share more insights from my journey to wellness and wholeness, as well as an upcoming neuroplasticity program.
The path that leads others into the world of brain retraining isn't always the same, but it tends to be similar. When you receive a diagnosis, it is a natural response to seek support. One such outlet are support groups that focus on the condition. That was my primary support base for dealing with the things that eventually led me to brain retraining. However, something I noticed about these spaces was that they really weren't solutions-focused, but more problem-based. I felt validated finally knowing I wasn't alone, but I didn't feel like I was being led anywhere else—more often just walking in circles, still lost, and still reinforcing the idea that I was broken.
The support groups were not typically sources of the kind of support that promoted healing. It felt more like a communal identity around the condition. The diagnoses on their own were dehumanizing— and the environment of the support groups also felt that way as the condition was the primary focus, and I felt stripped of myself and everything else my life could be.
When you build an identity around a condition or symptom, it reinforces to the brain that it's important. Likewise, if you use possessive pronouns such as "my" to reference symptoms, it also makes a subsconcious link to your identity. These seemingly subtle things can hold emotional weight when it comes to rewiring or promoting neuroplasticity and healing, pulling closer towards the condition.
This is why it's common practice within brain retraining programs to dehumanize the condition, rather than yourself—you're taught to step into empowerment already with the simple adjustment of word choices. Words hold a lot of power in our thoughts and in the chemistry that is produced from the emotional attachment to our thoughts.
The brain may be resistant to change or detach from the condition, because it still perceives it as a part of you. You are not the symptoms. Symptoms are merely messengers. They are a part of the experience, not the identity. If the system is dysregulated, they can be false messages or disorganized attempts to signal for restoration. Restoration, in this sense, means restorative neurochemistry—not necessarily rest, but something that will counter any stress chemistry that may be exceeding what the body is able to effectively counter or regulate.
Mood elevating or grounding practices can be a great way to achieve this—plus they shift the focus back on your essence, returning to the body as a safe container that houses a soul that finds joy in hobbies or other favored interests.
Remembering or finding that person unlocks a greater capacity to heal.
If you've experienced health conditions longer than you've experienced health or wellness, you may not be aware of an identity separate from them.
Here are some journal prompts that might bring more clarity and focus in that direction.
Who are you without limitations?
Who do you desire to be?
What does recovery look like to you?
What does it feel like?
Where will it take you?
What lifestyle or dreams do you seek as reality?
What is the destination, beyond recovery itself?
You may not have all the answers for these yet—that's okay! I encourage you to simply focus your attention on developing that part of the story. I know when I first got to the path of brain retraining, my only concern was getting rid of the symptoms. The truth is, that's only part of the process. Finding who you are without them and stepping into the power of possibility is the larger part of the journey.
Until next time. 💗
Alina Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary artist growth mindset coach, and creator of Brain Gardening™, a neuroplasticity resource inspired by her own healing journey. After over 20 years of chronic illness stemming from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), natural disasters, chemical injury, and toxic stress as an adult, Alina found wellness and wholeness through brain retraining—or brain gardening as she prefers to call it.
She now uses her personal story of recovery and professional background as an informational designer to support others on their healing journeys through Brain Gardening™. In addition, Alina is attuned to Reiki Level II and certified from the Integrative Sound and Music Institute. Products and services by Brain Gardening™ are rooted in science and cultivated through the arts. Research materials are presented from a designer lens using simple language, relatable visuals, and interactive tools. The upcoming Brain Gardening™ program combines neuroscience with creative expression, somatics, ecotherapy, and the healing arts for an integrative approach to wellness.
Subscribe to the mailing list for more tips or join the program waitlist at braingardening.com.