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Emotions and the Brain
How to Control Negative Emotions Print E-mail

 

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The goal of this website is to give support to people who are facing problems in their relationship related to cheating, abuse and narcissism. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

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The brain is an amazing device. Your brain is creating the emotions you are experiencing. There is a saying "we are what we eat". That may not be literally true, but the idea behind it is clear to everyone: By controlling what we put into our mouth we can influence our health and physical condition. Now think for a moment of another saying: "We are what we think". This is literally true.

The thoughts which are occupying our mind the biggest part of the day are shaping our brain and the way our mind works. If our life is going well, we are very likely to think positive things. As a result of this we are happy, endorphins and other pleasure-related substances are being released in the brain and the neuronal networks related to these positive thoughts are being strengthened. A positive feedback cycle is created. If we are being exposed to negative events such as cheating or narcissism in a relationship, our brain reacts differently and as a result of this, a negative feedback cycle forms. If you wish to read more about how to learn to control the way the mind and the brain are working in certain situations, visit page Recovery After Cheating and Narcissism - Learn to Control Your Emotions.

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The Positive Feedback Loop

Our life is going well   >>   We feel happy   >>   The neuronal networks related to positive thinking are being strengthened in our brain   >>   We are more energetic and get things done in our life, we are more pleasant to other people and due to this people around us tend to like us   >>   Consequently, our life keeps going well   >> We continue to feel happy   >>   (Loop continues)

 

Let us take a closer look at this loop. What is the key element that keeps the loop alive and strengthens it? If the key element is a happy life, that would mean we would have to be lucky in life so that things are going well for us, as a consequence of being lucky we are feeling happy and so the loop can be formed. But what if the key element is positive thinking? Let us assume for the moment that this is the case. How would that change things?

If the key element truly is positive thinking, it would change things tremendously. That would mean we truly are in control of our mind and hence our happiness and our life. This has a huge significance in a situation in which individual feels pain, anxiety and depression due to negative events in life such as cheating, insecurity, mistrust, lying, betrayal, narcissism or any kind of a problem in a relationship. You can influence the way your brain (and hence your mind) is working in this kind of a situation. You do not have to succumb to sadness and depression, you can shape the very structure of the neural networks in your brain by altering your behavior and your thinking. Let us now take a look at different kind of a cycle.

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The Negative Feedback Loop

Imagine your life is going well. You have a wonderful spouse who you love and who you feel loves you back. You are living happily due to the effect of positive feedback loop such as the one described above. Now imagine what would happen if this loop is being interrupted at some point due to some negative event in your life, such as cheating or betrayal:

 

>> Your life is going well  >> Your spouse is cheating on you and you find out >>  ??

 

What will happen now? The loop will change from a positive feedback loop into a negative feedback loop:

 

>> Your spouse is cheating on you and you find out >>   You are no longer happy   >>   The neuronal networks related to positive thinking are no longer being strengthened in your brain, instead the networks related to negative thinking will be strengthened   >>   Your energy level goes down, you do not get as much done in your life (for example at work)   >>   Due to this, you feel your life is not going as well as it used to   >>   This makes you feel more depressed   >>   The neuronal networks related to negative thinking are being strengthened more   >>   (Negative feedback loop continues)

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Breaking The Cycle

It is important to realize that you DO have the power to influence this negative feedback loop, just the same way as you have the power to influence the positive feedback loop. If you do not do anything, the loop keeps strengthening itself and as time goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to break the negative cycle. It takes a long time for the brain to change, for better of worse. It takes several years for serious depression to develop. Depression develops as a consequence of this kind of a negative feedback loop, which is not interrupted at any point, but which can strengthen itself in peace until it becomes so strong that one no longer can break free without the help of medication or therapy. In accordance with this, it takes couple years for a person to fully recover from serious depression. The brain can heal itself after depression, but it takes a long time.

If you have experienced something traumatic in your life (for example cheating or narcissism in your relationship) you still have a chance to influence the negative feedback loop in such a way that it will not be strengthened too much. In order to do this you must strike to the "weak points" of the loop. For example, force yourself to do your work as well as you can. Even if you feel you cannot concentrate, try your best to get your work done.

Secondly, you can alter your thinking. Remember, "we are what we think". If you dwell on the memory of cheating or betrayal and only think about the matters related to cheating all day long 24/7, you can be sure that the neuronal networks related to the memory of cheating and negative thoughts will soon become very strong. When this happens, the thoughts of cheating keep entering your mind on daily basis, even if you do not want them to.

One important aspect in breaking the negative cycle is to take good care of one's body and mind. Physical exercise has been proven to release endorphins, brain's own "pleasure substances". Endorphins are relieving the stress and anxiety. If you are already fit, keep doing exercise even if you feel down, in a long run it will benefit you significantly. If you have gained weight and do not have much energy to do sports, you can start slowly for example by going for long walks. When your weight has gone down a bit you will have enough energy to start to do more exercise. Try this out and you will see how even a tiny amount of exercise serves as nature's own "drug" that takes away the sharpest edge of your mental pain. 

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Strengthen the neuronal networks related to positive thinking

You can break the negative feedback cycle by forcing your brain to strengthen different networks than those related to the memory of cheating and betrayal. One strategy to achieve this is to start a new hobby. It can be anything. The more challenging the better, because if the hobby is challenging it is occupying more resources in your brain and you have less time to think about the negative things such as the matters related to cheating. When you are not actively thinking about cheating, the neuronal networks in your brain related to negative memories are not active as often as they would be if you are concentrating only on negative thoughts, and hence these networks will not be strengthened too much. If you do not want to start a new hobby then do something else, but make sure you do SOMETHING every day, instead of only sitting alone and thinking about cheating or betrayal.

It is fascinating to think that we can alter our own thought processes by using relatively simple methods and mental exercises. If you wish to read more about these issues and learn ways to influence the way your mind is working, visit page Recovery after Cheating and Narcissism If you are feeling depressed or anxious due to the problems in your relationship, visit this page to learn what you can do to help your brain and mind to recover: Training the Brain.

If you wish to read more about me and my background, please visit page Site Overview. From Site Overview you can read short description of the contents of this site. If you are interested in topics related to cheating, narcissism, mind and brain, please feel free to read my blog. If you are in relationship with a narcissistic mental abuser, you find useful information from this website that will help you to heal. You can go to other sections of this site by clicking Main Menu links (left bar).

- Maria

If you wish to submit your own story and get feedback and support for your situation or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 


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