Jan. 4, 2022

E168: Changing Your State with Neuro-Associations | Trauma Healing Podcast

In this episode, I talk about neuro-associations, how our associations with stimulus determine our behavior, and how the stronger our neuro-association is, the more likely we are either going to do something that makes us feel good because we're doing...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e168-changing-your-state-with-neuro-associations-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes

In this episode, I talk about neuro-associations, how our associations with stimulus determine our behavior, and how the stronger our neuro-association is, the more likely we are either going to do something that makes us feel good because we're doing it out of pleasure or we will avoid things that could possibly be good for us because we are avoiding them out of pain.

There is a reality that you have to understand and that you are simply having a neuro response to a stimulus. You have to change your state in the way that you are thinking about what is possible.

Today, I will give you different examples tied to your understanding that you have a bond biological experience.

What excites you? What gets you fired up? Where are you at your best? Where do you feel unstoppable?

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. Super excited to be back with you with another episode. I was recently in Tony Robbins, personal power course, and he was talking about this idea of neuro-associations and how our associations with stimulus, determine our behavior and how the stronger our neuro-association is the more likely we are either going to do something that makes us feel good because we're doing out of pleasure or we will avoid things that could possibly be good for us because we are avoiding them out of pain.

And I was thinking about this for a long time because I can reflect on so many experiences of not only my life but many of the clients that I've worked with and how at the beginning typically and generally speaking probably more often than not, and experience that in me and my clients of being at a roadblock, there is this reality that you have to come to understand and that you are simply having a neuro response to a stimulus.

Now, what does this really mean?

So many people operate in their life either only to avoid pain or only to have pleasure and that's a very dangerous place to operate because when you're moving through the world only moving in an aspect of heading towards pleasure then you avoid painful experiences, why? Because it's so much easier to be in a place of pleasure than it is to be in a place of pain and people get stuck like – what is stuckness really mean? And I think about this a lot. Stuckness is that link that we have or even the separation or the breakdown of the link that we have between the thing that we need to do and the outcome.

You see because often we tie the outcome first to determine whether or not we are going to move forward with something that may actually make our life different. And this could be an association that we place around pain and we've looked at these hard things that we have to do in our life, and we find justification and not doing them.

Now, many of those things they're programmed in their condition and to us from the youngest age, right? I remember one of the reasons that I did not work out as a child is because I and even as a teen, until I started getting really deep in sports, was associated working out with pain because when I move my body, there was a likelihood that I was going to have an asthma attack because I had asthma as a child and I listened to my mother and the Doctors and people around me say; Don't run, don't play, don't have fun, you have asthma every single time you try to do anything you're probably going to die. And because of that, I found myself being an inactive child, right?

When I was 8-12 years old, while all the other kids if we were in recess or gym or whatever we're playing, I wouldn't play because I was in so much fear of the potential of pain that I couldn't bring myself to do it, it was very miserable because all I had heard in the back of my head was, if you are active, you are going to have an asthma attack and died.

Now, is that true? Yes, to an extent, right? But think about this, I had an inhaler with me, I had teachers who were there, I had the ability to listen to my body, and yet, I did not move, and what was really fascinating. And many people say you may grow out of asthma, sure, I don't know whether that's true or not. I'm not a doctor, but one day I just started saying I don't care what's going to happen, I'm going to do this anyway. And when I did that and I change my association that I had with physical movement to pleasure, it really changed my life because, by the time that I was like – 11 years old, I joined the wrestling team, I was on the baseball team, I was on the football team and I think honestly between 10 or 11 years old and even today I have not stopped being active well minus that stunt in my twenties, which I know many of you know about I have not stopped being active as a whole and I think I've had an asthma attack twice.

Now look, I get, that that's a physical thing and that is an autoimmune disease and that is something that can be very dangerous but what if you applied, those same ideas, ideations and mentalities to another thing?

Let me give you an example.

Recently, I got completely out of debt and the reason that I'm sharing this with you is that it's very, very important.

My association with money for the longest time was that everyone is in debt, so you have to be in debt whether business debt or personal debt, regardless, if you are not in debt, then you're not living life to your fullest. And so you have to borrow money to be able to feel fulfilled, you have to always struggle. Now a lot of this came from the conditioning that I had as a child, right? Growing up homeless, growing up in poverty, never having money, being fearful of money, looking at my life in this aspect of money, is the worst thing ever, I don't deserve to have it, if I have it I can't keep it, if I keep it I'll blow it and it's going to be something that's ultimately in my way. Access money, having access to money, having money to feel safe is too scary, I don't deserve it.

And what happened was a couple of years ago, I started changing the way that I associated my emotional state with money. I got excited about it, I said, yes, I can have money. Yes, I deserve to be out of debt. Yes, I can be successful and save and build and ultimately on a long enough timeline, which I'm nowhere near, but build wealth for myself, and for my family and for the generations of my name that come on the backside of this. But it took the state change, it took me getting in this very excited place about it, being hyped up about it, being excited about it for me to change the neurological conditioning that I had associated with it because all I ever said was I'm not good enough, so I'm going to live in fear, so I will do things to sabotage myself when it comes to finances.

Some of you are having that same experience, but what if you didn't, what if you simply looked at your life and said, I am excited about the prospect that I can have financial freedom. I'm excited about the prospect that I will not be in debt that I don't anyone owe a penny that I am living freely of my own accord. Right now there are like sacrifices, right? Because it would be amazing if self-care and building confidence was as simple as just telling yourself, you love yourself but it's not and I wish it was, I truly do wish it was, but it's not.

The only way you're going to build confidence, the only way you're going to change these neurological associations is by doing difficult things that put you in a position to make them come to fruition, right? So what do you have to do if you're like where I was and you were deep in debt? Well, the thing that you have to do is make sure that you're not spending money on things that don't matter that don't move you towards your goal, you have to make sure that, you know, if you want to go out to dinner with friends, sometimes you got to order the salad, right? Sometimes you don't go to the bar or get the coffee, you know, it's the little things that matter because you start to build confidence when you see things around, you change this applies to everything, right?

Think about it from a relationship perspective.

If your narrative is, I don't deserve to have a relationship because I was abused as a child and nobody loves me, and pain is the only way that I have validation in the world that is how you're going to operate because you are in that place. You have made a decision that it is more painful to change your mind about what is possible than to be in your comfort zone of what is known.

So, think about this for a second, if your association with love is being screamed at that, is what you will seek in a relationship. If your parents screamed at you as a child and you associate it with love admiration and affection, well, then guess what? That's what you're going to seek in a relationship and that's not ideal and you know that. So how do you change that? You have to first understand that you're having that biological experience, you're anchored to that filling, you're stuck in that emotion because you've been conditioned into it. And when you focus consistently unchanging that your life will change, and so how do you do that?

First and foremost, it's about behaviors, it's about the patterns that you put yourself into.

If you are in your fifth relationship in a row, where you're with someone who's yelling at you, you might need to actually take a look in the mirror and recognize that the common denominator is you.

And I've been there, I've been in toxic relationships, I've been in relationships where we yelled at each other, where we screamed at each other where we belittled each other. I've been in healthy relationships also where there was love and care and compassion because I changed my neurological association.

I got excited. Guys, you have to get excited, you have to feel worthy of the reality that you can have that relationship of love, of happiness, of joy, of success, of pleasure but the thing that you have to do is be willing to give up the old reality that the only way you can have love as to pain, right?

Do you see? These are three very three different examples that are all tied to your understanding that you're having a bond biological experience.

And so I want to challenge you here right now.

If you're listening to this and you're in this place in your life where you feel stuck about the decisions that you have to make because you're scared or because you're so tied into the pleasure that you haven't made the decisions because you're too comfortable and even though, you know, you need to get uncomfortable so your life can become different or better, you don't move forward.

You have to change your Association.

You have to change your state in the way that you are thinking about what is possible and that starts with thinking about what excites you? What gets you fired up? Where are you at your best? Where do you feel unstoppable?

And then adding in the thing that you're scared of in changing the association because if your fear is, I can't be physical because of pain, (what if you changed it to) I can be physical because it brings me pleasure because it makes me stronger which helps me operate better in the day, which makes me a better father, mother, brother, sister, human being and person.

What if it was I can have money, I deserve to have money in my life because when I have money, I can give to the charities, I can give to my church, I can give to the community, I can take care of myself by getting sick, I can buy the things that I want and give to others when they are in need.

What if you change your association with relationships and worth and you said; I deserve to have a relationship of love and compassion and happiness?

I'm fired up about that, I want it, I need it, I desire it, it's right here for you.

You know these limiting beliefs about what you deserve to have, they can change like that, it happened so quickly, but you have to get in a place of excitement. You have to be fired up about it, you have to be ready for it.

If you're glum about it, if your hoo-ha about, if you're nonchalant about it, nothing in your life will change but if you change the association's even this, I'll give you one more.

You're in this position in life, where you, like – I want to lose weight, but you associate eating chocolate with pleasure and I know this is far-fetched so bear with me but you associate the foods; let's call it food instead of chocolate, you associate the foods that you eat with pleasure and you know, those foods are bad for you. The fried chicken, the macaroni and cheese, the chicken-fried steak, all the things that, you know, are poisoning your body, you associate pleasure with those things because they taste good for a moment and you're always, like, I can never get off this diet, I'm always trying to lose weight, but it never comes off because I'm not moving my body, and I'm always eating the same old foods. Okay, but what if you changed your association with those foods to pain? Because again, think about this as humans, we only operate either in pain or in pleasure, and if you change the association that you have to pain, IE, and even pleasure.

So, I'll give you both because there are two ways to do this; one, the food that I eat makes me feel sick and because it makes me feel sick, I can't operate, I can't show up in the world, I can't take care of myself, my community, my family, my children, my business thus, I will not eat those foods, right?

That's operating through a scope of pain because again, we operate through pain or pleasure. So, if you associate pain with eating foods that, you know, are taking away from your ability to be a successful person you will stop but you can also do it through pleasure.

This is what I tend to aim towards. I go, all right, the chicken, the macaroni and cheese, the chicken fried steak. I don't eat those because I feel so fucking good when I don't. I can operate in scope of showing up for my community, myself, my friends, my family, my body feels good, my cognition feels good, I sleep better, I operate better, I think better a more coherent, I'm able to write, I'm able to read, I'm able to meditate better, I feel inside of my body, I'm not being avoidant. Wow! See the difference there?

You have the ability to make meaning of every situation in every circumstance of your life, but you have to be willing to look at it through understanding that the neuro-associations that you are making in your life, on a day-to-day basis, are determining your behavior.

So whether you apply pain or pleasure to what is happening in your life, that is what is determining your action.

So, my friends, I hope this was an incredible episode for you.

I know when I learned this a few years ago, it changed my life forever and I'm super happy I get to share it with you, that said.

Thank you so much for listening.

Please always, as always, like, subscribe, comment, share.

Tell a friend.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.



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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.