All posts in Neurobiological Research on Change

A Teaspoon of Novelty can Change Your Life

85d36569a82bd21ca9cad843921d4756    ” When people are inspired , they have more brain real-estate” –  Says Julia Volkman of  BrainBasics in this excellent article on boosting your learning ability through harnessing the power of inspiration. Indeed, this and other recent research all seem to point what we’ve known intuitively for a long time now – when we like and are stimulated by something – we learn better. 

Lisa Wimberger , founder of The Institute of Neurosculpting, has taken our brain’s love of inspiration  & novelty to a new level. In her novel brain-training visualisations, she boosts the brains’ learning capacity through introducing interesting & novel tasks which involve right and left brain collaboration. Instead of a more typical ‘let’s talk about what you’re feeling’ approach, she mixes it up a little. Asking someone to name (left brain) an emotion , whilst paying attention to the sensation ( right brain) it may be creating in the body and any colour/texture/visual object it evokes ( novelty) is an example of this. The result? A stimulated brain, with neural pathways that are open and ready to learn. Continue Reading →

Staying with Intensity – Why Hot Yoga is My Therapy


It’s Friday morning and I’m probably 30 minutes into my 1 hour Hot Hour Bikram Yoga class, which in the 15 years that I’ve been practicing on a weekly basis could be the 3648 time I’ve done this – and yet as I feel the heat emanating off my mat, feeling into my warrior two pose, I find myself convinced the teacher has somehow made a mistake with the temperature dial in the room and all of us , engaged in the class are now faced with another 30 minutes of life-threateningly high heat. I look towards the door for my escape. Someone surely should say something before someone passes out? I look around the room and everyone just seems to be continuing , oblivious to the life or death scenario before us. My brain, on loop now, starts communicating one word quite perceptibly over and over again – “Run”. Continue Reading →

6 Minutes to a Stress-Free Life?


What if I told you you could get rid of stress and heal yourself in 6 minutes? While it may sound a little too good to be true, and I’m the last person to advocate quick-fixes in therapy, that’s what James Gordon is offering as an effective solution for stress-reduction in his latest interview for Psychotherapy Networker.  Gordon, who is the founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine,  is also a leading authority on mind-body approaches to treating depression and says that with this 6 minute “soft belly” breathing technique, you can experience immediate relief from stress. Continue Reading →

The Power of Self-Compassion

images-1Self- compassion is always an interesting and well deliberated topic in my therapy room- and it comes up ,with most clients, at least once across the sessions that I see them for. Central to the Buddhist tradition of non-duality, its often embodied in the form of a lotus flower ; a reminder of the path towards peace and unity that lies within us all. This path, of course has proven itself over and over again to be elusive even for the best of us – yet I can promise with a bit of self-work and the right tools, that you too can find a place within yourself where things just sit right – where stress falls away easily and you find yourself bouncing back from challenges with grace – where real vitality, happiness and a sense of pride runs through all the tasks and roles you take on in your life.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha Continue Reading →

The Neuro-chemistry of Positive Conversations

LightbulbThink about the last time you had a really good conversation with a friend. How did this conversation make you feel? What thoughts did you have while you were having it and what emotions did you leave the conversation feeling?  Now think about the last time you had a negative conversation- (perhaps with your boss for example)  – what thoughts and feelings did you experience then both during and after this conversation?

Chances are that during the ‘good’ conversation, you would have felt anything ranging from positive about yourself and the relationship, optimistic, uplifted, motivated, energised, supported and cared for. The negative conversation on the hand might have left you feeling negative about yourself and the relationship, threatened, disoriented, anxious, fearful, misunderstood, lethargic and less motivated. Continue Reading →

Talking to Our Emotive Brain

 A lot of the work that we do as therapists involves helping clients to become more comfortable with and aware of their ‘less-than-comfortable’ emotions – and indeed some of my articles before this one have addressed the importance of learning to become more open to negative feelings, instead of responding reflexively and shying away from them. In his article on “Unraveling Emotional Triggers”, George Altman examines what happens to us on a brain level when we have a negative emotional reaction and proposes some practical ways in which we can begin to create greater awareness and use language to speak and soothe our emotive brain in these moments. Continue Reading →

The Neurobiology of Personal Transformation

It was once the long-held belief that the brain itself and it’s connective pathways were subject to little change after a certain point in a child’s development. This had implications for both therapists and also clients seeking personal transformation, because it suggested that the brain itself would biologically restrict the aspects and degrees of change a person would be able to undergo, especially as they got older. Viewed from this perspective, patterned responses to stress for example, conditioned in childhood, supported by wiring also laid down at the same time, would be very difficult to change in adulthood. Continue Reading →