I was very grateful for a fantastic IGTV organised by Jada Sezer, interviewing Dr David Hamilton.
He was a guest for this very first video, about how we feel, the power of the mind, how just thinking can be extremely powerful, impact on the way we feel, even heal the body. Lockdown is giving a chance for that, indeed. Jada has been exploring the content and was very keen to explore more on the topic. Really fascinating.
Dr David’s Mum suffered from post-partum depression and he really wanted to help her. One day, a book fell from the shelf while he was at the library. Its title was “The magic power of the mind” and covered skills, like meditation. This made him want to study more of that.
It started with the placebo effect (one of Dr David’s Hamilton’s interests). What is it really? Thinking of cheap pills and pain killers (Ibuprofen, for example) we get at the supermarket and how we mentally believe that the more expensive ones will heal us. Spending more money sometimes feels that things are more valuable. What happens in the mind? In our psyche we perceive that is better and the brain creates its own version of morphine (an internal “pharmacist”) it is about what we believe and chemicals get delivered instantly, based on what we expect to happen. What we believe can produce what we expect.
Brain scans in studies gathering evidence on a daily basis have shown that even imagining to play piano can make a structure in the brain that makes us look like real piano players. “Not even having to lift a finger” (Dr Hamilton’s joke). This is about muscle growth and in other words, for the brain, the power of Neuroplasticity (brain version of building a muscle). That part of the brain gets bigger by imagining. It is very powerful. The part of the brain involved in the process of imagination gets bigger, indeed, exactly like exercising a muscle. More information is sent to the muscle.
Jada came across a course on Neuroplasticity (while looking for Meditation courses) during lockdown and took a Diploma. Meditation helped her, too.
Self-esteem, confidence, the science of self-love were also at the core of the discussion.
Dr Hamilton just published a book about it. How to nurture this? Struggling with self-esteem, “self-love deficit” (as defined by Dr Hamilton) can be common. Self-esteem can be both inner and outer. Many people, in fact, rely on external self-esteem, valuing other people’s validation. Inner self esteem, on the other hand, a sense of worthiness and value do not depend neither on our success, nor on what you achieve in life. Inner stability is very key to experience a sense of groundedness and balance.
There are easier ways to discover this. When we are in an environment where we struggle with self- esteem, for instance, our body language acts in a specific way. Our shoulders drop and our eyes, our chin goes down, too. Physical expressions make us feel in that way. It is beneficial to notice and correct it. Stretch the spine, for example, take a breath and the body is sending information to our brain and the brain responds to what the body is doing. It is bidirectional, it is a two way process. Showing awareness that there is an inner sense of value can convey this, too. This will cause an alteration in the brain chemistry by reducing cortisol. A neurological change in the body follows. It is not all about the mind. A whole neurological transformation happens, as a consequence. Mind and body are interconnected.
Jada and Dr Hamilton discussed what the opposite of stress is. It is not happiness, as we might feel. It is kindness. The power of kindness.
In a piece of research, some people filled in a form for three weeks and wrote about their stress journey. Stress and acts of kindness make a real difference. High kindness means low stress. Stress is undoubtedly part of our life but the warm feelings support to reduce stress by producing hormones of kindness. Feeling stressed produces cortisol. The amygdala turns down the neurological effects of stress. It softens the walls of the blood vessels and kindness is an organic cardio protector. Thanking someone can be a good act of gratitude, too. It is all about the feelings and the warmer we feel the more resilient we become.
The R of kindness vs. the R of coronavirus. If you are kind to someone that person will be kinder to 5 people. Amazingly, it does not stop there. They will also be kind, and kinder to another 5 people multiplying. Every act of kindness can benefit 25 people from this ripple effect. A pebble is a metaphor for an act of kindness, setting the waves in motion and creating the ripple effect. Even the smallest act of kindness can go very far. Extremely effective
Finally, Dr Hamilton shared the top 3 tips to support and improve the mental health state.
- Meditation (breath and notice that we are breathing)
- Kindfulness (i.e. kind thoughts to people)
- Get into nature (green leaves, nature)
- Holding on a posture that makes you feel inner worthiness (a fourth one was generously shared)
Our ancient ancestors, where people emerged from, were mostly settled in Botswana. There was a whole green surroundings, which is instantly calming. Struggling with health conditions, turning illness into wellness can help, too, due to the deep interconnectedness.
A new book which is planned to be released in September.
Dr David is author of several books and “I Heart me. The Science of Self-Love” (mentioned in the blog post) is available for only 71p on Kindle currently. A real deal!
You can watch the full IGTV on here
Thank you so much Jada and Dr Hamilton!