I’m no expert in the many myths that abound regarding the coming end of the world, but I am an expert in how it feels to consider such a possibility.
I’ve been considering it for years, like many of you. What would it be like if this year were the very last year of life as we knew it? Whether 2012 is prophesized to be the end of the world, the beginning of the golden age, or any other such destiny, I decided years ago not to wait until then to begin transforming the world starting with me.
I am sharing a simple twelve month plan with you designed to make 2012 the best, most healing and transformational year of your life in the hopes that you look back in 2013 and marvel at your own power, strength, courage, humor, adaptability, sustainability, radiance and magic.
The plan is simple, but takes a commitment and a high regard for your own worth in order to stick to it. Are you up for the challenge?
January 2012 – Exercise
Exercise a few times a week. Research shows that just twenty minutes of consistent cardiovascular exercise a day can increase endorphins, increase your brain’s production of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), lower cortisol levels, boost metabolism, increase circulation, enhance mood, burn fat and much more. We know all this already, right? But did you know that high levels of cortisol increase your likelihood of depression, type II diabetes, cardiac arrest, high cholesterol,
adrenal burn out, hippocampus degeneration, inflammation, increased free-radical production, and mitochondrial fatigue to name a few.
Additionally, BDNF is known to be responsible for neurogenesis—the growth of new brain cells. This enhances proper long-term memory access and proper mediation of our fight-or-flight response. This cycle reduces your likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, and other severely debilitating neurological disorders. So, why aren’t you exercising again?
February 2012 – Diet
Rather than preach the “proper” diet, I’ll ask you some questions. Are your moods swinging with your sugar intake? Are you dependent on caffeine to get energized? Are you bloating after eating? Do your joints hurt inexplicably? Do you have sugar crashes? Do you notice frequent confusion, aggression, fogginess, irritability, or even headaches? What percentage of your diet is fresh vegetables and healthy proteins versus carbohydrates and processed foods?
Your answers can help you make dietary shifts to better support a thriving body. I know what kind of diet works for me, and I’ve seen the opposite work just as well for others. So without preaching a particular diet I simply stand firm against highly processes foods and sugars. Neither contribute to any sort of health in anyone’s body. A simple reduction in carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods will boost many healing functions in your own body.
March 2012 – Brain Foods
Add some common items to your diet to prime the brain for healing and higher-order functioning. Antioxidants are a vital source of detoxification, free-radical reduction, and glutathione stimulation. Poor diet and stress produces excessive amounts of free-radicals and signals cell death of healthy cells rather than unhealthy cells. Free-radicals increase inflammation and cause our immune system to fight against itself. They also contribute to many neurological diseases. Key brain-foods that support an antioxidant healing regimen include turmeric—the tasty yellow Indian spice. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, and helps stimulate glutathione which regulates free-radicals, detoxifies and reduces inflammation. Add broccoli, blueberries, cherries, green tea and walnuts to your daily diet for additional high-power anti-oxidant support.
You can also support the health of the prefrontal cortex with DHA from fish oil, and the medium chain tryglicerides common in coconut oil. A healthy prefrontal
cortex mediates our fight-or-flight response, stress levels, cortisol production, and enhances our higher-order brain functions like compassion, empathy, joy, creative problem-solving, and more. You’ve started some critical healing processes, and you are even regenerating and regaining some vital cognitive abilities. You are getting younger. It’s time to rewire your neural landscape. You are ready to sculpt.
April 2012 – Neurosculpting Primer
I created this concept from a fusion of the many different meditational modalities I’ve used in my life. We constantly rewire, exercising our brain’s neuroplasticity. Our thoughts wire patterns and reactions into our mindscape. Our patterns then reinforce those neural pathways yet again. Simple, non-threatening stimulation to the prefrontal cortex sparks neural mapping with ease and intent. Begin by using your non-dominant hand for routine tasks such as brushing your teeth, tying shoes, or folding or clasping your hands in the opposite manner.
Your brain notes something new or different is happening and it pays extra attention. Take advantage of this focused intention. Choose a mantra or thought to repeat during those actions to associate with that new neural pathway you’re developing. Some examples of phrasing could be “I have more clarity, I am healthy, my life is effortless.” t helps to choose a believable mantra. Once you become proficient in using your non-dominant hand for those actions, try new ones to stimulate even more neural activity.
May 2012 – Neurosculpting the Social Brain
Feelings of inclusion, trust, status, respect, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and belonging engage neurological networks that strengthen the prefrontal cortex and help down-regulate the amygdala. This inverse relationship is critical to healing, transformation, and even mental, emotional and spiritual shifting. Find like-minded individuals to spend some time with. Possibly join some new clubs or groups or engage in group activity and discussion. This activates these social neurological networks. Taking the initiative at work to personalize your environment, finding opportunities to contribute more in constructive ways, and even viewing others as mirror-images of yourself can also activate these networks. At this point, five months in to your simple regimen, you are charting a healthier dynamic in your own brain and shifting our of thoughts of fear and lack, and into trust and potential.
June 2012 – Neurosculpting the Emotional Brain
We are emotional beings. Rather than preventing certain emotions, we can strive to observethese emotions as they arise. As we witness our emotional states,
particularly the stressful and angry ones, rather than get stuck in them, something miraculous happens: we reduce blood-flow to the amygdala and reroute it to the prefrontal cortex. A linguistic approach is easy, fast, and has instantaneous results. For example, when you are experiencing stressful emotions rather than saying “I AM so angry….” Switch your language to “I FEEL so angry….” This simple shift has measurable and immediate impact on the activity in the amygdala, and mitigates our fight-or-flight response. The more you do this, the more you will reinforce the dynamic you’ve been shifting into for the last six months.
July 2012 – Neurosculpting the Mental Brain
Our logic mind either gets in the way, or supports anything we do. Our conscious mind makes up only about ten percent of our total brain’s functioning, yet it often claims itself to be the authority. In reality, it’s the last to know in most cases. Allow your left brain some attention this month. Catalog your accomplishments and victories over the last six months, from the very minor to the most obvious. Note each time you’ve chosen a healthy food over an unhealthy food and celebrate those moments. Look closely at any improvements in your health, mood, social world, professional life, and family life and give yourself a pat on the back. Do this for five minutes each day this month. Your will boost feel-good neurotransmitters with each perception of accomplishment.
August 2012 – Neurosculpting the Spiritual Body
Our brains change and rewire for the better when we engage in a healthy form of worship or practice. This month build your spiritual practice for greater prefrontal cortex activity, and lower stress response. Maybe it’s through prayer, attending a church or group discussion, walking silently in nature, meditating in the morning, or donating time and goods to a charity. Perhaps you are just starting a practice. Nature and charity both activate similar pathways in the brain as prayer and worship do. This month, make it a point to spend some time outdoors in a serene environment in a park, by a lake, or even in a plant atrium in your office building. Commit to a regular amount of time each week in these areas and to make a donation. This activates your brain’s reward center and down-regulate your stress response. You are well on your way to creating life-changing habits, and reinforcing a brain that defaults to prefrontal cortex functioning, reward stimulation, and amygdala mediation.
September 2012 – Neurosculpting Meditation for Forgiveness
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are immense: we access an alpha brainwave state of relaxed awareness, reduce our fight-or-flight response, access higher-order brain functioning, stimulate our immune system, reduce our toxicity and inflammation, regenerate brain cells, and literally perceive a world in which black-and-white thinking yields to an expanded sense of more possibility. Even if you’ve never meditated before, it’s never too late to start. You are the story teller and this life is yourstory. Write a story of a moment in time you’d like to forgive. Literally, write it on paper but with a different outcome, a better dialogue, or a positive context.
Read and think of this new story each day with your eyes closed in a relaxed state. If your mind gets pulled to the actual events and feelings of regret, anger and disappointment simple go back to the new story line, or open your eyes and read your written story again. Telling a new, non-threatening story to a healthy and activated prefrontal cortex stimulates neural mapping that no longer activates the fight-or-flight response in reaction to the event. Note how you feel about the event by the end of the month. Journal or note any emotional differences.
October 2012 – Neurosculpting for Living in the Here-and-Now
What does it mean to be present? This is a core principle of many spiritual practices, yet it still seems illusive and enigmatic, even unattainable. You can literally wire yourself to experience this state. Similarly to the Neurosculpting Primer exercises, you can use the phrase; I am in present time, free from the past or concerns of the future. You can repeat this phrase each time you use your non-dominant hand to do some new activity. The more you do this, the more you emotionally associate being in the present with the actual neurological act of paying focused attention and creating a foundation for learning.
Additionally, you can apply this concept to the Neurosculpting the Emotional Brain exercise. Each time you switch your language from “I AM…” to “I FEEL…” take a minute to notice your reaction and then repeat the present time phrase. You will link your ability to down-regulate your amygdala with the concept that you are in the present moment. Over time I have noticed this exercise easily pulls me out of rehashing or regretting the past, and prepares me to deal in a more attentive way to the present moment.
November 2012 – Neurosculpting for Abundance
With just two months left of the year you have exercised amazing mastery over your own life, shifted in deep ways, and likely view your world differently than you did eight months ago. I challenge you to deny any changes for the better if, in fact, you’ve followed the regimen. It’s almost impossible. When we are in states of stress, disease and amygdala activation it’s difficult to recognize and integrate positive opportunities that come our way. Often, we miss them, as we impatiently wait for a miraculous shift. At this point, your healthy prefrontal cortex can exert control over your negative thoughts. Now you can see abundance and good fortune at the very moment it enters your life, and you can maximize on that recognition by acting on that good fortune.
Create an abundance exercise to prime your brain for this awareness. Start with a clear definition of abundance that is not dependent on a monetary value.
Expanding your definitions of abundance enables you to notice it when it appears. For instance, rather than defining abundance as $100,000 you can define it as having everything you need for comfortable and effortless survival. Write down many new definitions of abundance, and look for and note some of the ways in which that shows up. The more redefine abundance, the more you will experience it.
December 2012 – Pay it Forward
You have spent the last year transforming your life into something miraculous – a life in which you take ownership of your destiny. Now pay it forward and watch the ripple effect. Choose someone (or a group of people) to share your journey with. You are the mentor and the leader by example. Recruit others to the understanding that we are not victims; rather we are story tellers telling our own stories. Make a commitment to continue your own transformation. What could happen if each person who reads this article commits to this shift? It wouldn’t take long before our world shifted to a healthy emotional, mental, spiritual and physical state of empowerment.
Don’t wait for anyone else. Everyone is waiting for you!
Lisa Wimberger holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Stonybrook, NY. She is a certified MBTI consultant and a private healing and psychic practitioner, teaching clients who suffer from stress disorders. Lisa studied Ascension training for four years with Ishaya monks. She completed two and a half years of psychic awareness training at ICI, applying the tools of the Berkeley Psychic Institute. She spent a year and a half in post-graduate studies and is certified in the Foundations of Neuro Leadership. Feel free to tell her your story and visit her website to learn more about how these techniques are targeted to First Responders.
Lisa is the Founder of the Trance Personnel Consulting Group. Lisa has created and facilitated leadership trainings for executive teams in Fortune 500 companies, the Colorado State Department and worked individually with international management. She has created and facilitated Emotional Survival programs for Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies and peer counsel groups. Over the last two years, 500 police officers have attended her workshops. Lisa writes for CopsAlive and partners with the Law Enforcement Survival Institute. Additionally, Lisa’s services are sought on a national level by individuals in law enforcement looking to find a new way to navigate through their stress patterns. Lisa is a member of the National Center for Crisis Management and ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association