In Mitigation of Limiting Deprivation Determinants

8 October 2015

Many studies are emerging which indicate conclusively, the profound influences that early life experiences have on adult wellbeing and success. One of the most notable studies in this regard was published in 2013 by The Centre for Economic Performance which showed that emotional health in the child was far more important for later wellbeing, life satisfaction and success than even education. Other studies have convincingly shown that compromised early childhood emotional health is an important determinant of adult inflammation, heart disease, certain carcinomas as well as several other medical conditions. Clearly then, the formative period (which includes in utero influences) can be regarded as the definitive determinant for the rest of the life path of the individual.

Fortunately all is not lost in the face of this seemingly rigid deterministic heritage. For superimposed upon this heritage is our inherent potential for neuroplasticity – the process whereby redundant neural circuitry is cleared and new connections formed. In this way the brain continues to remould according to new experiences and thereby diminishes limiting beliefs. New connections support learning and ultimately, change. Neuroplasticity appears to be mediated at the neurochemical level by dopamine and noradrenaline. At the neuropsychological level this neurophysiology manifests as mind states of curiosity and awe. Add to this gratitude and respect and you’re well on the way to establishing sustained neuroplasticity-based change. These are also the essential components required amongst others, for enhanced wellness, effective performance and inspiring leadership.

The potential for neuroplasticity would vary however depending upon the early life narrative. In regard to intervention, one assumes adequate intrinsic receptivity in the narrative at the outset. In practice however, degrees of receptivity and potential for neuroplasticity become apparent, thus setting the limits for positive change. Positive change may also be impeded by the inertia created from being embedded in a comfort zone. By this I refer to default behaviours which arise out of a deprivation heritage but which in themselves generate levels of dopamine and adequate, albeit short-lasting, moments of gratification. Examples of these would be substance abuse and addiction, eating disorders and even aspects of schadenfreude – deriving gratification from the misfortune of others (shown to generate increased dopamine activity!). To shift such individuals, the intervention-based alternatives would need to offer higher levels of gratification (and dopamine activity) to be effective and sustaining. Based on our own research and experience we have identified five specific source elements which have been shown to enhance neuroplasticity and which have therefore been incorporated into our neuromodulation approach. These source elements include - meaning and purpose, self-efficacy, reward/recognition gratification, achievement and value contribution.







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