Insulation CableMyelin is an insulating layer, or sheath, that forms around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. It is made up of protein and fatty substances. The purpose of the myelin sheath is to allow electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells.

So here’s the thing… I’m no brain scientist but here’s a nuts and bolts explanation of how I understand it.

Myelin is like the insulation that literally helps to protect the thought induced connections in your brain… like insulation around super-fast broadband cabling.

It goes like this…

1st: You think something.

2nd: Neurones fire up.

3rd: A connection is created between those neurones so that the next time you think that thought, literally a physical connection is created so you can access that action, behaviour or feeling faster than before. (The brain is an amazing thing, therefore we are an amazing thing, right?!)

4th: Somehow, who cares how, if we’re lucky enough to have normal brain function,’magically’ the myelin appears and creates a layer of insulation around that connection to protect it from deteriorating.

And finally…

5th: Each time you access that thought and fire up that neural  pathway, more myelin appears and continues to protect and strengthen it so it can travel faster and faster like super fast broadband X 1,000,000 or more, much more.

I’m guessing myelin is in no small part responsible for our ability to retain learning as it must be a physical part of the complex nebulous phenomenon called memory.

However; myelin has no morals and passes no judgment on whether that neural pathway is good or bad, or positive or negative in its impact on you.

So here’s the challenge…

Since research suggests we are hard wired to focus on the negative, I guess because of our survival instinct, we have to consciously work harder to focus on the positive in order to overcome the aeons of evolutionary genes that got us here to be writing and reading this right now.

For example, I woke up this morning with this idea in my head… myelin appears and creates a protective layer around the neural pathway I created simply by thinking something. Next I fire up my laptop and write those thoughts down… more myelin… finally I edit and edit my thoughts so they make sense, at least to me… more and more myelin. As I read and re read my blog entry, more and more and more myelin!

So how does happiness fit into this?

Here’s how. It struck me that I could use more happiness in my life; who couldn’t?

In order for me to more quickly access happiness, I will have to be conscious of all the times during today, and for the rest of my life, that I feel happy. Neurones fire off when I consciously monitor those happy moments, whether tiny or enormous, so the more I monitor/notice/think, the more myelin is produced. The more I mentally ‘note’ those happy moments, the more strength and speed I add to that neural pathway and my access to happiness becomes easier, faster and more stable… result – A greater ability to notice when I’m happy.

I would offer that we should not let any potentially myelin producing happy thought go to waste.

Don’t let even the tiniest happy moment, like waking up and realising the sun is shining, or it’s raining and great for your garden of fields, or watching children play without arguing, or seeing your partner smile when something silly happens, get mixed into the daily soup of feeling and thoughts we experience every day, hour and minute of our lives. Separate the happy thoughts and produce all the myelin you can!

Just a thought…

… and there’s another myelin wrap in the making!