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The Science of Changing Your Mind: Part 2 of an Interview With Joe Dispenza, DC
Dr. Joseph Dispenza studied biochemistry at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He went on to receive his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at Life University in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating magna cum laude. He is the recipient of a Clinical Proficiency Citation for clinical excellence in doctor–patient relationships from Life University and a member of the International Chiropractic Honor Society.
Dr. Dispenza’s postgraduate training and continuing education has been in neurology, neurophysiology, and brain function. He has authored several scientific articles on the close relationship between brain chemistry, neurophysiology, and biology, and their roles in physical health. He has authored the book: Evolve Your Brain: the Science of Changing Your Mind. Dr. Dispenza was also one of the scientists, researchers, and teachers featured in the multi-award winning hit movie, “What the BLEEP Do We Know!?” ™ .
Joseph Dispenza is known by his ability to translate scientific concepts of physics and biology into every day comprehensible language.
Pathways: Can you explain the mind/body connection? What is the relationship between thoughts and the physical body?
Dr. Dispenza: An emerging scientific field called psychoneuroimmunology demonstrates the connection between the mind and the body, and has begun to help us understand the link between how we think and how we feel. We now know that every thought produces a biochemical reaction in the brain. The brain then releases chemical signals that are transmitted to the body, where they act as messengers of the thought. In this way, the thoughts that produce these chemicals in the brain allow our body to feel exactly the way we were just thinking.
Essentially, when we have happy, inspiring, or positive thoughts, our brain manufactures chemicals that make us feel joyful, inspired, or uplifted. For example, when we look forward to a pleasurable experience, the brain immediately makes a chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine, which turns the brain and body on in anticipation of that experience, and we feel excited. If we have thoughts of hate, anger, or insecurity, the brain produces chemicals that the body responds to in a comparable way and we feel hateful, angry, or unworthy. Another chemical that our brain makes, called ACTH, signals the body to produce chemical secretions from the adrenal glands which make us feel threatened or aggressive.
When the body responds to a thought by having a feeling, the brain, which constantly monitors the status of the body, notices that the body is feeling a certain way. In response to that bodily feeling, the brain generates thoughts that produce corresponding chemical messengers, so that we begin to think the way we are feeling. Thinking creates feeling, and then feeling creates thinking, in a continuous biological feedback loop. This cycle eventually creates a particular state in the body—what we call a state of being—that determines the general nature of how we feel and behave.
For example, say a person lives much of her life in a repeating cycle of thoughts and feelings related to unworthiness. The moment she thinks about not being good enough or smart enough or enough of anything, her brain releases chemicals that produce a bodily feeling of unworthiness. Now she is feeling the way she was just thinking. Her brain notices that, and she begins to have thoughts of insecurity that match the way she was just feeling. Her body is now causing her to think. If her thoughts and feelings continue, year after year, to generate the same feedback loop between her brain and her body, she will exist in a state of being that is called “unworthy.” These repeated chemical signals cause the cells of the body to function in undesirable ways, making her sick.