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Do You Want to
Share Your Pain or Relieve It?
Inner Mammal Institute
Loretta Breuning, PhD
Guided
Neuroplasticity
Our brain
creates
endless pain
because
• it confuses social pain with physical pain
• it equates disappointment with pain
• it blends anticipated pain with actual pain
You can escape this loop when
you know how your brain works
You can turn on your
happy brain chemicals in
new and sustainable ways
dopamine endorphin oxytocinserotonin
You can build new neural pathways
to give the electricity in your brain
a new place to flow
This presentation shows you:

1. what turns on the pain chemical (cortisol)

2. what turns on the happy chemicals

(dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin)

3. how to build new neural pathways

to enjoy more happy chemicals and

avoid more pain chemicals
Then you will choose a new behavior or thought
pattern to stimulate the chemistry you want.
You’ll repeat it every day for 45 days without fail.
It’s not easy, but on Day 46
you’ll be so thrilled that you’ll want
to start your next rewiring project
Pain = Cortisol
1.
Cortisol is found in all mammals,
reptiles, birds, fish and mollusks
Cortisol is triggered by bodily harm
(and the anticipation of harm)
Neurons connect when
cortisol flows
This wires us to turn it on
faster in similar situations
Anticipating harm
promotes survival
This monkey escaped a lion by
climbing a tree. Now his brain is good
at scanning for trees.
Whatever turned off your cortisol
saved your life, from your mammal
brain’s perspective
Brains with more neurons can
wire in more danger signals, and
more ways to escape danger
We humans prevent harm
by anticipating it and taking action
But we can end up with

a lot of cortisol
Cortisol works by making you
feel bad so you do
what it takes to make it stop
This zebra would rather be eating,
but smelling a lion triggers
more cortisol than hunger
It scans for evidence of threat so
it can do what it takes to relieve the
bad feeling and go back to grazing
Cortisol is nature’s
emergency broadcast system
Your cortisol makes you feel
bad when you get a whiff of
anything that hurt you before
It alerts
your brain
to scan for
potential
threat
A big brain is good at finding
threat when it looks
When there’s no immediate threat,
you scan out for
distant, subtle threats that fit
the neural pathways you have
The electricity in your brain

flows like water in a storm.

It finds the paths of least resistance.
You can end up feeling
threatened all the time
To make matters worse,
we mammals feel social pain
as well as physical pain
Social pain is the cortisol that
surges when you see a potential
threat to your social needs
In the state of nature,
social pain = physical pain
because separation from the herd is an
immediate survival threat
Your genes are annihilated
if you don’t meet
social needs
Natural selection built a
brain that makes social
disappointment feel urgent
Any social pain in your past
connected neurons that flow
to your cortisol today
To complicate things further,
happy brain chemicals mask
cortisol, but only for a moment
Happy chemicals distract
you from cortisol
dopamine oxytocin endorphinserotonin
But their natural spurts are
brief and they’re soon
metabolized
When a happy chemical spurt ends,
you might confuse that with pain
This is why we keep looking
for ways to stimulate our
happy chemicals
But many ways of
stimulating them have
bad consequences
You can end up with more
cortisol
To make things
even worse,
disappointment
triggers cortisol
It’s easy to see why from the
lion’s perspective
This lion will starve to death if it
keeps chasing a zebra that got away
Cortisol surges when your
expectations are not met, which
motivates you to stop investing
energy in a failed pursuit
This is nature’s operating system
Happy chemicals
motivate you to
approach rewards
and
unhappy
chemicals warn
you to avoid harm
Nature’s operating system
motivated our ancestors

to do what it takes

to survive
in the
harshest
conditions
But we all end up with
some pathways
we’d rather
do without
It’s not easy being a mammal
But you can build
new neural pathways to turn on
your happy chemicals in new ways
You can feel good
when you do things that are
good for you
You can give your electricity
a new place to flow
Let’s look
closer at what
turns on the
happy
chemicals
2.
Good feelings are
brain chemicals we’ve
inherited from earlier mammals
dopamine endorphinoxytocinserotonin
It would be nice if they flowed all the
time, but they are there to do a job
Your brain
rewards you with
a good feeling
when you do
something good
for your survival
But
our brain
defines
survival in
quirky ways
1. It cares
about the
survival
of your
genes
(even putting your body at risk
to promote “reproductive success”)
2. It relies
on neural
pathways
built in
youth
(even though early experience
is rarely a reliable survival guide)
This is why happy chemical spurts
can be hard to make sense of
Your brain turns on a
happy chemical when it
sees a way to meet a need
But the spurt is soon over
and you have to do more
to get more.
This makes life frustrating
for everyone
Our brain evolved to seek
happy chemicals because
in the state of nature,
what feels good is good for you
dopamine endorphin oxytocinserotonin
Let’s see why they spurt in
nature, and why they
droop after they spurt
Dopamine
is the great feeling

that a reward is at hand
Dopamine
releases energy for the chase
Dopamine
droops
once you
get the
reward,
until

you set
your sights
on another
reward
Oxytocin
is often called
the “love chemical”
Oxytocin is stimulated by
touch
and

trust
Oxytocin droops when you’re
separated from the herd,
which makes
you feel like
your survival
is threatened
Serotonin
is the pleasure of
social dominance
Serotonin
is not
aggression
but a calm
sense that
“ I
will get the
banana ”
Serotonin

is soon
reabsorbed,

so we are
always looking
for ways to
stimulate more
Endorphin masks pain
so you can do what

it takes to survive
Endorphin is triggered by
pain. You get a little bit
from vigorous exertion.
Endorphin droops after
it spurts because pain is
urgent survival information
Dopamine rewards you for the
effort of steps toward your needs.
Serotonin rewards you for getting
respect from others.
Oxytocin rewards you for finding
the safety of social support.
Endorphin rewards you for action
that relieves pain.
3. Let’s see how your brain
builds the pathways that
control your happy chemicals
You were born with billions of neurons
but very few connections between them
Connections got built each time
something felt good or bad
Your pathways got built
from lived experience
Each
dopamine
spurt
connected
neurons that
turn on the
good feeling
in similar
circumstances
Each serotonin or oxytocin spurt
wired you to seek more
good feelings in similar ways
Your electricity flows
effortlessly where it
flowed before
You got wired by the accidents
of your past experience
Reptiles are born hard-wired with
the experience of their ancestors.
They leave
home at birth
because they
already have
survival skills.
Mammal brains get wired
from life experience
The bigger a creature’s brain,
the more helpless it is at birth and the more it
relies on neural pathways built from experience
Experience includes mirror neurons,
which turn on when
we see others get rewards or pain
Mirroring wires
a little monkey
to do what it
takes to meet
its survival
needs
It must master the skill
in order to eat
Mirror neurons can wire you to
reproduce pain you observe
even when you face no real threat
Each mammal gets wired to seek
happy chemicals in ways that
worked before
Building new pathways later on
is not easy because old pathways
feel normal and natural
Electricity flows effortlessly
down old pathways because
they got paved
by a substance
called myelin
Myelination peaks before
age 8, and again in puberty
This is why old patterns may
repeat despite our best intentions
You can blaze a new trail
through your jungle of neurons
But it takes a lot of effort
to activate a new pathway
And after all that, your new trail
will disappear into the jungle
unless you blaze it every day
The new trail may feel wrong
even when you know it’s right
But it will feel natural in 45 days
if you repeat your new pattern
without fail
Your old path will still be there, but your
electricity will have a new place to flow
You can wire in behaviors that turn on
your happy chemicals in new ways
For example, you can stimulate the joy of
dopamine by taking steps toward a goal
Results are
unpredictable but
you can always
adjust your
expectations and
take another step
You can stimulate the pleasure of
oxytocin with small acts of trust
It’s not safe to
trust always and
everywhere.
We’re designed
to make careful
decisions about
when to trust.
You can stimulate the pleasure of serotonin
by finding the good in what you have
You can feel important
without putting others
down or waiting for
them to put you up
You can enjoy endorphin
through laughter and exercise
We are NOT designed to inflict pain on
ourselves. Small endorphin drips are enough.
Habits of a
Happy Brain
Retrain Your Brain to Boost
Your Serotonin, Dopamine,
Oxytocin, and Endorphin
$11.00
Detailed suggestions for each chemical
and a step-by-step plan are in:
by Dr. Loretta Breuning
Don’t just share your pain it.
Relieve it!
You’ll be glad you did
Free resources for rewiring your



happy chemicals at InnerMammalInstitute.org

• Youtube video:

Your Ups and Downs Are Natural …and also learned
• 5-day Happy Chemical Jumpstart
• infographics: You Have Power Over Your Brain
• PsychologyToday.com blog: Your Neurochemical Self

• a training program
Dopamine
Serotonin
Oxytocin
Endorphin
Plan your new circuits:
Dopamine
Dopamine makes you jump for joy
when you reach a goal or get a toy.
Innature,ithelpsfindfoodwhenyouneedit.
“Eureka, I got it!” A memory gets created.
Dopamine causes expectations.
Correct predictions bring good sensations.
Dopamine feels great so you try to get more.
It rewarded our ancestors trudging through gore.
Cocaine triggers dopamine. Caution to all:
Joy without goal-seeking leads to a fall.
Dopamine flows when you feel like “I’ve done it.”
Whenothersdoitforyou,yourdopaminewillshunit.
Serotonin swells your chest with pride
When you get respect and needn’t hide.
Yourbrainfeelsgoodwhenyouboostyourselfhigher.
But when others do this, it provokes your ire.
“I don’t care about status. It’s other who do.”
Butyouspurtserotoninwhenthelimelight’s on you.
You are quite modest and don’t like to boast.
But no serotonin flows when you coast.
Status doesn’t depend on money.
You can be clever or helpful or funny.
But when others one-up you, your mind agitates.
‘Cause serotonin droops ‘til you lift your own weights.
Serotonin
Oxytocin
Oxytocin makes you trust your mates.
We love the bonds that it creates.
Oxytocinflowswhenyoustickwiththeherd.
“Notme!” youmaysay,“I’mnobovine orbird.”
But without social bonds, your brain feels alarm.
This protected our ancestors from all kinds of harm.
Thoughtheherdwillannoyyou,thepackhurt you so.
When you run with a pack, oxytocin will flow.
“My pack is great and the other is nuts.”
This thinking prevailed since the first mammal struts.
You’re above all this foolishness, obviously.
But it feels good when I trust you and you trust me.
Endorphin
Endorphin helps you mask the pain
Of injuries that you sustain.
Yourancestorsescapedfrompredatorattack
‘Causeendorphinfelt goodwhile theyranback.
Endorphin feels great when it eases your pains.
But only real pain makes it flow in your veins.
Exercise triggers it, experts alert you.
But first you must do it ‘til body parts hurt you.
Endorphin receptors let opium in.
So you feel like you’re safe without lifting a shin.
Laughing and crying can trigger it too.
But just for a moment– then the job’s through.

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Do You Want to Share Your Pain or Relieve It?

  • 1. Do You Want to Share Your Pain or Relieve It? Inner Mammal Institute Loretta Breuning, PhD Guided Neuroplasticity
  • 2. Our brain creates endless pain because • it confuses social pain with physical pain • it equates disappointment with pain • it blends anticipated pain with actual pain
  • 3. You can escape this loop when you know how your brain works
  • 4. You can turn on your happy brain chemicals in new and sustainable ways dopamine endorphin oxytocinserotonin
  • 5. You can build new neural pathways to give the electricity in your brain a new place to flow
  • 6. This presentation shows you:
 1. what turns on the pain chemical (cortisol)
 2. what turns on the happy chemicals
 (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphin)
 3. how to build new neural pathways
 to enjoy more happy chemicals and
 avoid more pain chemicals
  • 7. Then you will choose a new behavior or thought pattern to stimulate the chemistry you want. You’ll repeat it every day for 45 days without fail.
  • 8. It’s not easy, but on Day 46 you’ll be so thrilled that you’ll want to start your next rewiring project
  • 10. Cortisol is found in all mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and mollusks
  • 11. Cortisol is triggered by bodily harm (and the anticipation of harm)
  • 13. This wires us to turn it on faster in similar situations
  • 15. This monkey escaped a lion by climbing a tree. Now his brain is good at scanning for trees.
  • 16. Whatever turned off your cortisol saved your life, from your mammal brain’s perspective
  • 17. Brains with more neurons can wire in more danger signals, and more ways to escape danger
  • 18. We humans prevent harm by anticipating it and taking action
  • 19. But we can end up with
 a lot of cortisol
  • 20. Cortisol works by making you feel bad so you do what it takes to make it stop
  • 21. This zebra would rather be eating, but smelling a lion triggers more cortisol than hunger
  • 22. It scans for evidence of threat so it can do what it takes to relieve the bad feeling and go back to grazing
  • 24. Your cortisol makes you feel bad when you get a whiff of anything that hurt you before
  • 25. It alerts your brain to scan for potential threat
  • 26. A big brain is good at finding threat when it looks
  • 27. When there’s no immediate threat, you scan out for distant, subtle threats that fit the neural pathways you have
  • 28. The electricity in your brain
 flows like water in a storm.
 It finds the paths of least resistance.
  • 29. You can end up feeling threatened all the time
  • 30. To make matters worse, we mammals feel social pain as well as physical pain
  • 31. Social pain is the cortisol that surges when you see a potential threat to your social needs
  • 32. In the state of nature, social pain = physical pain because separation from the herd is an immediate survival threat
  • 33. Your genes are annihilated if you don’t meet social needs
  • 34. Natural selection built a brain that makes social disappointment feel urgent
  • 35. Any social pain in your past connected neurons that flow to your cortisol today
  • 36. To complicate things further, happy brain chemicals mask cortisol, but only for a moment
  • 37. Happy chemicals distract you from cortisol dopamine oxytocin endorphinserotonin
  • 38. But their natural spurts are brief and they’re soon metabolized
  • 39. When a happy chemical spurt ends, you might confuse that with pain
  • 40. This is why we keep looking for ways to stimulate our happy chemicals
  • 41. But many ways of stimulating them have bad consequences
  • 42. You can end up with more cortisol
  • 43. To make things even worse, disappointment triggers cortisol
  • 44. It’s easy to see why from the lion’s perspective This lion will starve to death if it keeps chasing a zebra that got away
  • 45. Cortisol surges when your expectations are not met, which motivates you to stop investing energy in a failed pursuit
  • 46. This is nature’s operating system Happy chemicals motivate you to approach rewards and unhappy chemicals warn you to avoid harm
  • 47. Nature’s operating system motivated our ancestors
 to do what it takes
 to survive in the harshest conditions
  • 48. But we all end up with some pathways we’d rather do without
  • 49. It’s not easy being a mammal
  • 50. But you can build new neural pathways to turn on your happy chemicals in new ways
  • 51. You can feel good when you do things that are good for you
  • 52. You can give your electricity a new place to flow
  • 53. Let’s look closer at what turns on the happy chemicals 2.
  • 54. Good feelings are brain chemicals we’ve inherited from earlier mammals dopamine endorphinoxytocinserotonin
  • 55. It would be nice if they flowed all the time, but they are there to do a job
  • 56. Your brain rewards you with a good feeling when you do something good for your survival
  • 58. 1. It cares about the survival of your genes (even putting your body at risk to promote “reproductive success”)
  • 59. 2. It relies on neural pathways built in youth (even though early experience is rarely a reliable survival guide)
  • 60. This is why happy chemical spurts can be hard to make sense of
  • 61. Your brain turns on a happy chemical when it sees a way to meet a need
  • 62. But the spurt is soon over and you have to do more to get more.
  • 63. This makes life frustrating for everyone
  • 64. Our brain evolved to seek happy chemicals because in the state of nature, what feels good is good for you dopamine endorphin oxytocinserotonin
  • 65. Let’s see why they spurt in nature, and why they droop after they spurt
  • 66. Dopamine is the great feeling
 that a reward is at hand
  • 68. Dopamine droops once you get the reward, until
 you set your sights on another reward
  • 69. Oxytocin is often called the “love chemical”
  • 70. Oxytocin is stimulated by touch and
 trust
  • 71. Oxytocin droops when you’re separated from the herd, which makes you feel like your survival is threatened
  • 72. Serotonin is the pleasure of social dominance
  • 73. Serotonin is not aggression but a calm sense that “ I will get the banana ”
  • 74. Serotonin
 is soon reabsorbed,
 so we are always looking for ways to stimulate more
  • 75. Endorphin masks pain so you can do what
 it takes to survive
  • 76. Endorphin is triggered by pain. You get a little bit from vigorous exertion.
  • 77. Endorphin droops after it spurts because pain is urgent survival information
  • 78. Dopamine rewards you for the effort of steps toward your needs. Serotonin rewards you for getting respect from others. Oxytocin rewards you for finding the safety of social support. Endorphin rewards you for action that relieves pain.
  • 79. 3. Let’s see how your brain builds the pathways that control your happy chemicals
  • 80. You were born with billions of neurons but very few connections between them
  • 81. Connections got built each time something felt good or bad
  • 82. Your pathways got built from lived experience
  • 83. Each dopamine spurt connected neurons that turn on the good feeling in similar circumstances
  • 84. Each serotonin or oxytocin spurt wired you to seek more good feelings in similar ways
  • 85. Your electricity flows effortlessly where it flowed before
  • 86. You got wired by the accidents of your past experience
  • 87. Reptiles are born hard-wired with the experience of their ancestors. They leave home at birth because they already have survival skills.
  • 88. Mammal brains get wired from life experience
  • 89. The bigger a creature’s brain, the more helpless it is at birth and the more it relies on neural pathways built from experience
  • 90. Experience includes mirror neurons, which turn on when we see others get rewards or pain
  • 91. Mirroring wires a little monkey to do what it takes to meet its survival needs
  • 92. It must master the skill in order to eat
  • 93. Mirror neurons can wire you to reproduce pain you observe even when you face no real threat
  • 94. Each mammal gets wired to seek happy chemicals in ways that worked before
  • 95. Building new pathways later on is not easy because old pathways feel normal and natural
  • 96. Electricity flows effortlessly down old pathways because they got paved by a substance called myelin
  • 97. Myelination peaks before age 8, and again in puberty
  • 98. This is why old patterns may repeat despite our best intentions
  • 99. You can blaze a new trail through your jungle of neurons
  • 100. But it takes a lot of effort to activate a new pathway
  • 101. And after all that, your new trail will disappear into the jungle unless you blaze it every day
  • 102. The new trail may feel wrong even when you know it’s right
  • 103. But it will feel natural in 45 days if you repeat your new pattern without fail
  • 104. Your old path will still be there, but your electricity will have a new place to flow
  • 105. You can wire in behaviors that turn on your happy chemicals in new ways
  • 106. For example, you can stimulate the joy of dopamine by taking steps toward a goal Results are unpredictable but you can always adjust your expectations and take another step
  • 107. You can stimulate the pleasure of oxytocin with small acts of trust It’s not safe to trust always and everywhere. We’re designed to make careful decisions about when to trust.
  • 108. You can stimulate the pleasure of serotonin by finding the good in what you have You can feel important without putting others down or waiting for them to put you up
  • 109. You can enjoy endorphin through laughter and exercise We are NOT designed to inflict pain on ourselves. Small endorphin drips are enough.
  • 110. Habits of a Happy Brain Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphin $11.00 Detailed suggestions for each chemical and a step-by-step plan are in: by Dr. Loretta Breuning
  • 111. Don’t just share your pain it. Relieve it!
  • 112. You’ll be glad you did
  • 113. Free resources for rewiring your
 
 happy chemicals at InnerMammalInstitute.org
 • Youtube video:
 Your Ups and Downs Are Natural …and also learned • 5-day Happy Chemical Jumpstart • infographics: You Have Power Over Your Brain • PsychologyToday.com blog: Your Neurochemical Self
 • a training program
  • 115. Dopamine Dopamine makes you jump for joy when you reach a goal or get a toy. Innature,ithelpsfindfoodwhenyouneedit. “Eureka, I got it!” A memory gets created. Dopamine causes expectations. Correct predictions bring good sensations. Dopamine feels great so you try to get more. It rewarded our ancestors trudging through gore. Cocaine triggers dopamine. Caution to all: Joy without goal-seeking leads to a fall. Dopamine flows when you feel like “I’ve done it.” Whenothersdoitforyou,yourdopaminewillshunit.
  • 116. Serotonin swells your chest with pride When you get respect and needn’t hide. Yourbrainfeelsgoodwhenyouboostyourselfhigher. But when others do this, it provokes your ire. “I don’t care about status. It’s other who do.” Butyouspurtserotoninwhenthelimelight’s on you. You are quite modest and don’t like to boast. But no serotonin flows when you coast. Status doesn’t depend on money. You can be clever or helpful or funny. But when others one-up you, your mind agitates. ‘Cause serotonin droops ‘til you lift your own weights. Serotonin
  • 117. Oxytocin Oxytocin makes you trust your mates. We love the bonds that it creates. Oxytocinflowswhenyoustickwiththeherd. “Notme!” youmaysay,“I’mnobovine orbird.” But without social bonds, your brain feels alarm. This protected our ancestors from all kinds of harm. Thoughtheherdwillannoyyou,thepackhurt you so. When you run with a pack, oxytocin will flow. “My pack is great and the other is nuts.” This thinking prevailed since the first mammal struts. You’re above all this foolishness, obviously. But it feels good when I trust you and you trust me.
  • 118. Endorphin Endorphin helps you mask the pain Of injuries that you sustain. Yourancestorsescapedfrompredatorattack ‘Causeendorphinfelt goodwhile theyranback. Endorphin feels great when it eases your pains. But only real pain makes it flow in your veins. Exercise triggers it, experts alert you. But first you must do it ‘til body parts hurt you. Endorphin receptors let opium in. So you feel like you’re safe without lifting a shin. Laughing and crying can trigger it too. But just for a moment– then the job’s through.