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Curiosity: Reshaping Your Brain



In this episode of JoyLab, hosts Dr. Henry Emmons and Dr. Aimee Prasek explore the element of curiosity and how it can work to reshape our brains. We become what we think, and by changing the way we think we can reframe how we see things. Curiosity can help us see things in different, positive ways that help us reprogram the neural pathways in our minds. Tune in to this episode to explore the element of curiosity and how we can use that to foster joy in our lives.

In This Episode: 

  • [03:00] How we create neural pathways in our brain by repeating thoughts over and over again.
  • [6:00] Bringing conscious awareness to negative paths we’ve created in our minds and how to instead choose to see things in a more positive way, repeating those thoughts over and over to change that path.
  • [8:00] The Buddhist path to a more joyful life is referred to as the middle way which also goes along with a mental health concept: The spectrum of rigidity to chaos.
  • [11:00] Identifying two key dimensions of curiosity, external and internal, and how they can affect our thoughts and mental health.
  • [15:23] Sitting with the element of discomfort can create a broader perspective and allow you to see things in a new light and create new neural connections.

Key Takeaways:

  • We create a neural pathway in our brains by having the same thoughts over and over again. That means repetitive negative or fearful thoughts become increasingly difficult to stray from.
  • Living at either extreme of the mental health spectrum, rigidity or chaos, is not ideal. This creates looping thoughts and emotions that can get stuck, putting an end to curiosity and creativity pretty quickly.
  • Learn to strike a balance between healthy seeking and constant distraction by staying somewhere in the middle of these two actions. The benefits of curiosity can cause some discomfort, but that’s also where the learning happens. Curiosity teaches us that there’s always more to learn, there is no final mastery and there’s always something new before us.

Watch on YouTube:

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Joy Lab content (including the podcast and program) is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice and is not a replacement for advice and treatment from a medical professional. Consult your doctor or other qualified health professional regarding specific health questions. If you're in a crisis, call the NAMI helpline 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741. Visit NAMI for more. Please see additional terms.