Love Actually Changes The Wiring In Your Brain

Maybe you’ve seen this article in the NY Times about how love can change your brain (thx for sending, Sharon!)…

If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will. 

I love it. 

It’s beautiful to note that:

“The brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life.  In the end, what we pay the most attention to defines us.  How you choose to spend the irreplaceable hours of your life literally transforms you.” 

It’s amazing how much control we have over our own experience!!  The article talks a lot about how the love we receive affects our brains, but it also hints that the love we GIVE can rewire our brains (yes, yes, yes!): 

One can decide to be a more attentive and compassionate partner, mindful of the otherโ€™s motives, hurts and longings.  Breaking old habits isnโ€™t easy, since habits are deeply ingrained neural shortcuts, a way of slurring over details without having to dwell on them. Couples often choose to rewire their brains on purpose, sometimes with a therapistโ€™s help, to ease conflicts and strengthen their at-one-ness.

This is SO powerful!  Since we can’t really control the love that we are receiving from others, I say we decide to rewire our brains regardless by CHOOSING to have love for others (& we hope every week to give you real ideas about how to do that!)

Also – one other thought….

If you are just now making some changes in your life – even little ones – and it seems you have a long way to go or it feels as though it’s proving to be difficult….

Do. not. give. up!!

Keep moving forward, because….

It will get there.  It needs time to build up what I call a “muscle memory”.  Things will get easier, little by little.  ๐Ÿ™‚  I promise!

I can pinpoint the first day I chose to rewire my brain, on purpose.  It was during my first marriage and it was the first day I made a deliberate choice to react differently than I would have otherwise, IN THE MOMENT.  TALK ABOUT HARD!  LET ME TELL YOU!

Oh man, I wish SO much that I could tell you the details.  It is one of my most awesome stories & one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to choose in a moment.  But I deliberately decided to react in a different way to something (& it involved choosing to have love, which I think is the only power that could have helped me to do what I did).  Never in my life had I felt more empowered.  And I can site this moment as the beginning of my own journey – the beginning of the rewiring of my own brain.  And it has gotten easier & easier to react this way ever since.  It only makes sense that my brain has changed.

Can you recall a time when you deliberately rewired your brain and altered your own experience?  Do you think this is possible?

Here’s a challenge for today:  Think about something recurring in a relationship of yours that would normally annoy you.  Think about how you could react to it differently by adding love/forgiveness/patience/etc. to the equation.  Decide that the next time this annoyance arises, that you will be ready for it.  See if you can rewire your brain.   ๐Ÿ™‚  ๐Ÿ™‚  ๐Ÿ™‚

Love to all,


P.S.  Danny & I have a photo shoot tomorrow with a lovely woman I can’t wait to meet, Melanie Mauer.  She’s a photographer who is in town doing shoots and offered to take our photograph while she was here (so nice!)  We are meeting her on the corner in Manhattan where Danny & I first met.   Oh my, it actually makes my heart race thinking about it!!  I, too, am reliving our ‘Love Story‘ right along with you all.  Like you, I don’t actually know what comes next in the love letters until I read through it and prepare a post…so it’s exciting to me, too, to see what comes next.  And it will be great to have some photographs to share with you when the time comes  ๐Ÿ™‚  ๐Ÿ™‚

P.P.S.  Joe Fresh just opened in NYC.  My Canadian friends have been telling me about it for years.  We visited it today and love it….and the prices are really great….

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  1. cecilia April 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I did read this piece and immediately sent it to my husband. I think the research coming out right now on habits is fascinating. Doing the same thing and expecting different results IS the definition of insanity, and now it seems we have insight into how we can change our micro-behaviors and forge more sane realities for ourselves.

  2. Lottie April 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I am going to read this piece right now.

    And I am trying to rewire my brain about my husband's messiness–I am going to be more patient, well that is the aim, hopefully.

  3. Lizzi April 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    This is all true! About 6 years ago I became obsessed with losing weight and subsequently was struggling with I guess you could call anxiety or depression, OCD.. I'm not sure what. It was really difficult. I started having panick attacks and really really crazy times, long story short. Then I took a psychology class where this idea of rewiring your brain was introduced, and I read a book that my brother-in-law who's studying neuro-psychology suggested called the User's Guide to the Brain and it all clicked. What I had to do was find the trigger thought that started my panick attacks and reroute them to something else less consuming or destructive right when they began. It took a lot of work, and at first you feel like your brain is on fire. It's so hard not to give in to those easy thoughts. But after a few weeks everything calmed down and I was able to function semi-normally. I still have to work at it periodically, but it's a lot easier to do knowing that it's working. It's like you're brainwashing yourself, but if it frees you from constraining irrational thoughts and helps you function within your life and relationships, then I don't see the issue. I don't think I had a real mental illness that some people have, so I wouldn't tell someone who has a serious mental condition that attempting to rewire their brain would solve their problems, it's much more deeply biological than that for some people, but I think at the very least, it couldn't hurt to try. It is very empowering ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Rik April 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    This is fantastic. I love your posts on these types of things because it's a great reminder to me to control my reactions. Today I practiced ๐Ÿ™‚ and I am so much happier! I struggle with taking life too seriously a lot of times, so this is so great! I'm feeling lighter today. Less worry, less frustrations, less anxiety. All because I choose to react differently. Awesome!

  5. Jaclyn April 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    so i was just introduced to your blog today and it instantly found it's way to my reader feed. i feel really excited about what is to come. this article is quite riveting. thanks for sharing.

  6. Lindsey April 3, 2012 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    I heard Diane Ackerman talking about this on NPR yesterday. One thing she said that really stuck with me was that successful relationships/marriages often involve falling in love multiple times, with multiple "people." But what she meant was that we get to fall in love with the inevitable changes that take place in our lives, and in our partners. This idea made me very happy and excited about the rest of my life with my partner :o) I am very much trying to "rewire" my brain to be accepting of new situations, and welcome changes, even not so great ones, into my life.

  7. Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I keep coming back to this post for inspiration. Our deeply-ingrained tape loops from our pasts (for me, mugs
    Ily of origin) are so, so hard to rewire. Sometimes I really do feel helpless to the reactions that bubble up. Further insight/encouragement welcome!!

  8. abby latayan December 7, 2012 at 10:37 am - Reply

    hello there mrs. Mara ๐Ÿ™‚ i tried to email you but i dont know what happen the email can't be send, i just red you blog and honestly inspired me. Since few months ago i've wanted to write a Blog and sharing my thoughts to other people but the thing is I'm not sure that I can. I think about many stuff and so many ideas but I don't know how to start. I hope you can give me some advice and help me to make the big step of start writting.

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