How to deal with a personal health crisis?

  1. Neuroplasticity– It’s true that the brain and the nervous system function like an adaptive machine. If you drive on a gravel road, the car will mentally turn into a jeep and on a Formula 1 track it will turn into a racing car. This property of neuroplasticity is, without question, why we are the stewards of the planet and the dominant species. Thanks to our ability to change, we can also deal with severe crises. We just need to be aware of our awesome powers that manifests as neuroplasticity.
  1. Finding Purpose during a Crisis – As humans, we have the conscious ability to dose these dopamine rewards ourselves in a very subjective way, and Huberman thinks this is where the importance of dopamine levels in times of crisis comes into play. He mentions the famous examples of Viktor Frankl or Nelson Mandela who, under terrible circumstances, had to suffer very much, but they found internal mechanisms that enabled them to prevail and not only to survive, but also endowed them with the ability to thrive in the face of extreme adversities. People who overcome adversity, and the pandemic was the perfect example, learn how to self-dose their dopamine rewards, which will benefit them later in life.
  2. Finding meaning in life and during hard times
  3. Living with disappointments and setbacks.-Huberman explains what a reward prediction error is and how it applies to situations in which a person feels disappointment after an expected outcome. The amount of dopamine we receive before reaching the end goal must be less than the amount of dopamine we receive when we reach the goal. The dopamine that gets to the finish line has to be greater than the dopamine that you had getting there. This also and especially applies in times of crisis.
  4. How friends and family influence our brains to make us feel better even during hard times like a life crisis. There are several chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin that help create a sense of well-being and reward for doing things that are not beyond our reach and will be part of our immediate sphere of existence in the future. These are released when we meet loved ones, when we see close friends, sometimes even when we look at objects that are meaningful to us. They tend to be heart-warming because they trigger activation of some of the neural circuits that connect the gut and brain, and they create a feeling of warmth in the upper body.

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