How do States of emotionality aid in neuroplasticity


States of heightened emotionality function as triggers for neuroplasticity. discussed on the that when we undergo very stressful or traumatic experiences, they initially induce a reduction of activity in the prefrontal cortex, preventing the creation of a coherent structural narrative about those events. However, by revisiting these events and triggering the emotional response again, there can be relief from the experience and a re-establishment of a coherent narrative 1. This can be counterintuitive because while distress and trauma typically reduce activity in the prefrontal cortex, recalling these experiences in a highly emotional and negative way actually engages the brain in a manner that can increase ongoing activity in that region, supporting the idea that high levels of emotional arousal can create neuroplastic changes 2.

Moreover, by managing "the big six" core pillars (sleep, nutrition, movement, mental health, hydration, social connectivity), individuals set the stage for more positive affect and are likely to experience more positive emotions, which supports the brain in better prepping for what will happen next. Tending to these pillars ensures a neurochemical and neural environment conducive to neuroplasticity and positive emotional states 3.

Rewiring Through Trauma

Andrew discusses how traumatic experiences can trigger neuroplasticity and the rewiring of neural connections during deep sleep and states of relaxation. He explores the paradoxical idea that revisiting negative experiences can actually provide relief and create positive shifts in mental and physical health. Additionally, he delves into the impact of traumatic experiences on creating a coherent narrative and the confusion surrounding responsibility.

Huberman Lab

A Science-Supported Journaling Protocol to Improve Mental & Physical Health

Behaviour can also be used as a gateway to enter states that allow access to neuroplasticity. This can be beneficial for learning, remembering, and unlearning emotional experiences. Protocols can be designed to engage certain types of neuroplasticity through specific behaviors that stimulate emotional states 4.

Lastly, emotions themselves have persistence and generalization as key components, as described by . These components allow emotions to outlast the stimuli that evoke them and apply to new situations, making them important features of emotional states that change the brain's input-output transformation 5.