How I'm Using 'The Sound of Music' to Help Heal my Limbic System
This iconic image of Julie Andrews doing her introductory twirl on an Austrian hilltop in 'The Sound of Music' is how I felt when I recently reached a six month milestone in the Dynamic Neural Retraining System (DNRS), a self directed neuroplastic approach for healing Limbic System Impairment (LSI.)
I’m pleased to report that with much daily effort, I’m continuing to see improvement in my quality of life. If I had to put a number on it, I’d estimate a 20% improvement in my energy levels, productivity, pain management and overall progress.
A key component of the DNRS program is using positive emotions like love, joy and gratitude to elevate one’s emotional state throughout the day - this stimulates desired neurotransmitters in the brain such as oxytocin (aka: the cuddle hormone), endorphins, and serotonin which aid in the potential for neuroplasticity by creating a friendly environment for new neural, neuronal and synapsis growth.
One way to promote this elevated emotional state throughout the day is to have a happiness toolbox, or quick tricks on hand that can enhance one’s mood. Maybe this is a favorite hobby, a type of music, or an old TV show. For me, it’s 'The Sound of Music', a pleasing musical to the senses that I grew up watching and associate with happy songs and simpler times.
So from the start of my DNRS journey, I’ve incorporated this film and all of it’s glorious music into my day. Beginning with the soundtrack as I wash up and dress in the morning to set a positive, happy tone. The songs are so upbeat it puts me (and my husband) in a good mood!
Another key component of re-wiring one’s brain using the DNRS program is to avoid negative thought patterns and conversations, or as Annie Hopper calls them “Pathways of the Past, or POP’s.” We’re taught in the program to identify and recognize those pathways associated with a LSI, so that as they arise throughout our day - we can learn to redirect our thoughts and in turn to “act back” on the brain with the ultimate goal of rewiring new, optimally functioning neural pathways.
For instance, a POP that I struggle with is that my subconscious has a habit of returning to old painful memories, traumas, or regrets in my life. So now when this happens, I redirect my thought process by immediately singing the inspirational song, “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music.
When I catch myself thinking or focusing on taboo topics like chemicals, pain, or mold — then I swiftly shift into singing (or humming,) “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!”
And when I notice myself scanning the environment for potential triggers (to avoid), I sing to myself “Do-Re-Mi.” Because ultimately, as we learn in The DRNS program, avoiding such triggers reinforces the negative feedback loop that results in misfiring and miswiring in a LSI as described in this previous post: Aha Moments Using DNRS for Brain Rewiring.
If I need a pick-me-up or am feeling especially low, I watch the 1965 production of ‘The Sound of Music' and it quickly projects me to a carefree time in my life and raises my spirits.
One of the wonderful effects DNRS has had on me is that it has opened my mind to new possibilities. For instance in this post: Using the Dynamic Neural Retraining System for Complex Chronic Disease, I share that just a month into DNRS I decided to start jogging again for the first time in 10 years!
Well about four months into DNRS (2 months ago), I borrowed my friends’ daughters’ keyboard and began learning how to play the piano using the SimplyPiano App. This is significant for a number of reasons. 1) I have absolutely no musical background. Prior to this, I could not read music and I had zero musical experience to work from. 2) Before DNRS, I couldn’t sit upright for prolonged periods of time, I was often reclining. 3) Prior to DNRS, I didn’t have the mental clarity to play piano much less teach myself!!
So now two months later, not only am I learning to play an instrument - which brings me great joy - but I’m also learning to play songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ such as “Edelweiss” and “The Sound of Music Theme Song.” This new reality ups my joy factor substantially, and by upping my joy factor it enhances my emotional state.
Enhancing my emotional state raises my neuroplastiticy potential and that increases my chances of healing my limbic system, and ultimately my body. And that, my friends, is one sweet sound to my soul.