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When I initially heard about using neural retraining as a strategy for recovering from environmental illness, I was astonished and amazed by the recovery stories people were sharing. It was hard to imagine that what they were describing had even been possible: full and complete recoveries in just a matter of months or even weeks by simply "rewiring" the neural connections in their brains! Incredible!

And yet, at the same time, it was so encouraging and exciting to think there might actually be a way to reverse the steady, debilitating decline in my health! In fact, the possibility of hope for even a partial recovery after more than a decade of ever-worsening symptoms seemed almost too good to be true. However, I had played "medical roulette" for so long that I thought it might not hurt to take a closer look, especially since so many people were reporting such astounding, life-changing results.

Unfortunately, though, as I began learning a little more about the neural retraining processes upon which many of these remarkable recoveries were based, I confess: I grew extremely skeptical of, and even resistant to, the whole idea. Because my symptoms were so acute and so longstanding, I couldn't even begin to imagine how simply changing my thoughts could in any way affect my profoundly debilitating physical sensitivities to mold, electricity and countless man-made chemicals. 

Quite frankly, "neural retraining" simply sounded like a lot of superficial "happy talk" to me -- a form of naive "new age positivity" that completely disregarded the harsh physical reality of the health challenges I was facing on a daily basis. Plain and simply, I wanted no part of it -- and, once I turned my back on neural retraining, it took well over a year before I was ready to even reconsider the possibility that neural retraining might actually be a viable therapeutic option.  

In fact, it was only after I had become completely housebound, and my health care practitioners told me there was nothing more they could do for me, that I finally decided to give neural retraining a try, simply as a last ditch effort to find some small measure of symptomatic relief.

Little did I know then that this decision would be the beginning of a fascinating, life-changing discovery, and the catalyst for a sudden and complete recovery...in only 5 days!

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The "ah-ha!" moment that triggered the dramatic reversal of all my symptoms occurred while watching the video documentary (based on the book with the same title by Norman Doidge) The Brain That Changes Itself. (Highly Recommended!)

This documentary reported a piano practicing experiment in which two groups of people (with no prior experience) were tasked with learning to play a simple 5-finger scale with regular, daily practice. The control group practiced at the keyboard, while the test subjects were only allowed to practice in their minds. However, at the end of the experiment, brain scans revealed that the neural changes in the brains of both groups were identical!

With this stunning revelation, a transformational shift occurred for me, and I suddenly realized there is now demonstrable, scientific evidence confirming a "truth" I had never before imagined -- a "reality" I had never before thought possible:

= Thought alone can change both the structure and function of the brain! =

With this realization, I then knew beyond the shadow of any doubt that, like the individuals in the video documentary, I too could change the wiring in my brain -- and, in early December of 2013, I set about to do just that:

♦  Armed with an entirely new understanding of the root cause of my environmental illness symptoms (specifically, limbic system impairment), and based on my new understanding of how neurological change occurs, I began designing my own, personalized neural retraining process. I intensively reviewed, developed and customized this process over a period of several days, and I "practiced" everything entirely in my mind, exactly as the piano practicing test subjects had done.

♦  Then I immersed myself in activities I normally do not do, with the intention of stimulating the growth of healthy new neural pathways. Recognizing that learning and creativity are perfect examples of how neural change routinely occurs throughout our lives, I gathered all my old art supplies out of storage, and spent an entire day making huge colorful posters and mind maps illustrating everything I had learned during the past several days about neuroplasticity, limbic system impairment and neural retraining. 

♦  Since I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, my goal was to:

-- integrate everything I had recently learned about the brain's innate neuroplastic potential;

-- develop a deeper understanding, and an experiential appreciation, of the power of self-directed neuroplasticity; and

-- trigger new insights into how neural change change can, on a practical level, be stimulated on a regular, daily basis.

♦  Later that same evening, when I began incrementally testing some of my previous chemical and mold triggers, much to my astonishment and delight, I didn't react to ANYTHING! 

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Perhaps the most amazing discovery of all was recognizing, in hindsight, that several days prior to my first incremental tests, there already had been several significant signs that I may have recovered even sooner than I had originally realized: within 3 days of beginning to learn more about neural retraining, I was no longer reacting to several environmental conditions that had been extreme triggers for some of my most debilitating symptoms.  

However, at the time, I didn't recognize just how significant this early non-reactivity really was.  I simply thought these "small changes" and improvements were just a fluke, and I didn't fully recognize that my recovery had already occurred. (See Metta's Milestone Log and Track Small Changes provided in the Thrive Neural Retraining program for more details.)

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As I now see and understand the neural retraining and recovery process, the fundamental key to success, and the basis for ALL ongoing "practice", is understanding, and eventually embracing, the fact that: Everything you think, feel and do is wiring your brain. 

The crucial question is: Are your thoughts, feelings and activities reinforcing the results you want?

If not, remember: You are always free to make a different choice!

As Viktor Frankl so wisely pointed out in his landmark book, Man's Search For Meaning:

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms --
 to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way

This is the key to embracing the power of self-directed neuroplasticity

-- each of us has the opportunity to see our experience in an entirely new light; and

-- we each have the power to choose our attitude, and our reactions, in every situation we face. 

This is where true freedom, the power of neural change, and the potential for full recovery lie!

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© 2015-2019 * Metta Zetty

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