Daily Brain Retraining

Many people have asked me, “So what do you do every day to rewire your brain?”

I would love to share a basic outline of what my daily brain retraining looks like, in a way that honors the hard-earned copyright of the DNRS (Dynamic Neural Retraining System) program! If, after reading this, you would like to explore the specific steps of the DNRS program, I highly recommend you either take the online DNRS course, or purchase the DNRS DVD set to learn the steps.  It has been life changing for me and for Travis.

To begin, let’s first consider the topic of neuroplasticity, the science that all of this brain retraining is based upon:

“The term neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change. It is an innate quality of the human brain and is neither positive nor negative; rather, it is reflective of our life experiences. The process of neuroplasticity is involved in all learning. It is how we learn to speak, to eat, and to tie our shoes. It is involved every time we learn a new fact, meet a new person, or see a new landscape.  However, in response to trauma, the ways in which the brain changes are not always good or healthy.  From Dr. Doidge, I [Annie Hopper] learned about the many different scientists in this field and the varied ways in which the human brain can structure and restructure itself, especially to accommodate any number of injuries, disabilities, and seemingly incurable diseases. Dr. Doidge’s description of the plasticity of the brain gave me hope and renewed my determination to find a resolution to my own brain related illnesses.”  -Annie Hopper, Wired For Healing

The study of neuroplasticity is still in its infancy (not even as old as I am), and it is expanding the way that scientists (and, slowly, the medical community) are viewing the onset of disease and recovery from disease.  From the research that has already been set in motion, many chronic and mysterious illnesses may be due to a physical brain injury.  To me this is amazing, and the treatment has been unlike anything I have ever experienced in the past 13 years of trying to regain my health.  Who would have thought that the perfect storm of  viral, emotional, pharmaceutical, and fungal trauma could have caused a brain injury, a physical rewiring in my brain, as a way for my brain to try and protect me from further harm? Not me!


1. Recognize what triggers you. (P.S. We all have triggers)

2. Recognize that your limbic system (the fight-or-flight part of the brain) is responding to these triggers in ways that are not helpful to you anymore. These responses may have been helpful during a time of intensity in your life, but are not supporting the health and healing your body presently needs.

3. Through word, thought, action, and behavior, you physically rewire your brain out of “fight-or-flight” neural pathways and into “rest-and-digest” neural pathways.

4. You train before, during, and after a trigger moment.  (For example, I recognized certain triggers I had with food before I added many foods.  I spent time retraining my brain’s neural pathways to respond differently so that when I DID eat a new food, my body had a new, healthy neural path to travel down, rather than the old one that was stuck in survival mode. I also added things in small amounts.  In this way, I was honoring the process of training “in my zone” and not overstimulation my brain.  A slight challenge is usually considered better than an enormous challenge.) You train on each trigger until it is not a trigger for you anymore.

5. You spend time in past memories and future “memories” in order to help the brain build healthy neural pathways.

6. You give yourself a TON of grace and you congratulate yourself as if you had just walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls because the work you are doing is intense and awesome!  However you need to congratulate yourself and love yourself, you DO it!

7. Reinforce your learning! Some examples: keep a positive results journal, create a vision board with all sorts of things you envision yourself enjoying and participating in, deep breathe, engage in as many positive emotions as possible throughout the day (to engage and grow those new and healthy neural pathways), rest, exercise, learn new ways of doing old things (have a friend teach you how to they tie their shoes – I will bet that it is different than the way you do it!), do things with your non-dominant hand (like sign the credit card machine at Meijer with your non-dominant hand), and mix up your routine (drive a new way to work, walk backwards up a hill on your daily walk (like we do sometimes), wash the dishes starting from the opposite side of the sink as you normally do, wear different colors then you normally do, eat with chopsticks (even try this with ice cream or something really unusual), try different spices in your cooking, sit at a different spot at the dinner table, sit somewhere else in church or in the classroom, go in to work through a new door, listen to different music, wear glasses when you normally wear contacts, chew fruity gum instead of minty gum, try playing a new game…the list goes on! You can be creative!).  These things are support mechanisms for the active brain rewiring that Travis and I are doing, yet you can do these things even if you are not using a program to rewire your brain.  It is all in the category of neuroplasticity.  Plus, it’s fun!

8. See the health and peace return as the days, weeks, and months go by!


1. Annie Hopper informs us that these brain injuries are not our fault.  We do not willfully choose to get stuck in a state of “fight or flight”.  It is an involuntary process that the brain implements in order to protect us. Neither do we choose to wallow in sickness for years on end.  Again, in many cases of chronic illness, the cross-wiring of the brain sent the body false messages, and the body was physically sick/anxious/depressed/etc.

To summarize, whatever chronic issue you are dealing with is “not all in your head”. It is a physical brain injury.  

2. You do not need to rely on external therapies for your healing.  What you need is within you.  This is an inexpensive and astonishing form of treatment.

3. These are tools that you can use the rest of your life for keeping your brain and body healthy!


If you want to learn how to rewire a few triggers in your own life, and be amazed at the power of the brain, check out the DNRS website, and read these books:

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, by Dr. Daniel Amen

The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Dr. Norman Doidge

If you are dealing with a chronic illness or a mysterious illness (often they come together), or if you would like further reading on neuroplasticity and the brain, read these books:

Wired For Healing, by Annie Hopper (founder of DNRS, the program we are using to rewire our brains)

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, by Dr. Joe Dispenza

The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton

My Stroke of Insight, by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor


We each paddle boarded and loved it! We are retraining on back pain (Travis) and stamina (Mariah). Yahoo!

We eat burgers now!

I shop in the international aisle at the grocery store now.  Friends, this is a dream come true (it’s always my FAVORITE aisle at any grocery store!).

We have been eating fun new meals (pomegranates and eggplant!) and meals from our childhood, like open faced tuna sandwiches (big deal for me!)

We have gone for many bike rides together- and on some solo ones!

We have been searching for a home. Lots of brain retraining has gone into this!

We are learning as a couple how to expect health instead of dis-ease in our life together.

With love and gratitude,

Mariah and Travis

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. Thanks for sharing this Mariah.
    It is fun to try new ways to do things and invite alternatives into our daily routines…


  2. Wow! What a journey you guys have been on. Best going forward, together. . . .with you, JRK and Sharon

    On Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 9:30 AM, Mariahs Health Journey wrote:

    > mariahdaniellewest posted: ” Friends, Many people have asked me, “So what > do you do every day to rewire your brain?” I would love to share a basic > outline of what my daily brain retraining looks like, in a way that honors > the hard-earned copyright of the DNRS (Dynamic Neural ” >


  3. So glad to read this and so excited to know things are going well (if slowly) in the brain-retraining. Just this week I have been exploring what it means to have a “damaged” Limbic system. So this is fascinating on several levels to me. All blessings as you keep on keepin’ on (a *really* big deal for those of us with chronic health issues!) and yay for being back in Holland…will continue to pray for your housing situation!


  4. I am so amazed at this but not surprised. In the middle of my teaching alternative high school career about 25 years ago, I experimented with speaking only positive, constructive messages to my students. The results were phenomenal–the students worked harder, had greater success in class and earned better grades!


  5. Mariah, I stumbled upon your blog today and was very encouraged. I have been experiencing health issues for probably 10 years with the last 4 years being the worst. I was recently diagnosed with CIRS and was really hoping we could chat sometime. Please send me an email if you would be willing to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would very much like to chat with you if possible! I have biotoxin illness because I lived in a moldy home, and now I can’t seem to get better even out of the home! I am so sensitive I have to wear a respirator everywhere I go. I have gone through the whole DNRS DVD set months ago, but have recently restarted them. Please, would you be willing to talk with me? My email is elizabethahayes1@gmail.com. Thanks so much!


      • I didn’t see any recent posts so you may not be gong to this site anymore. But I feel like I was led to your site. 3/5 of my family has CIRS. We react in and around mold. As well as having alpha gal, a tick born illness that causes me to severely react to mammal products. All this has happened in the last 3 years. Our house has had water damage and mold develop and we are afraid even with remediation we will still react. So, what are your thoughts on this? do you think Dynamic Neural retraining can help us? I bought the system a few months ago and have been waiting to get out of mold to try using it. I hope you read this and can reply. My email isrsbrown1099@bellsouth.net. Thanks for any help or thoughts on this! 😊


  7. Hi Mariah, I’ve been dealing with mold illness/hypersensitivity for almost 10 years. The years have been agonizing. I made a record run at my current house being able to stay here for almost 5 years but now am down to sleeping on a section of the floor in the living room area. Planing to move. I’ve started the DNRS program about 6 days ago. Is it possible we can talk sometime?


    • Glenn,

      Due to the volume of requests that I receive to talk with people regarding mold illness and DNRS, I am not able to personally connect with every person. At this point, the most helpful thing I can do for you is to point you to DNRS as a very viable treatment option for recovery from mold illness. If you have further questions about DNRS, you can contact their headquarters via the website. http://Www.retrainingthebrain.com. Since you have started the program and have the tools available to you now, seeking out DNRS coaching is a great way forward. They will be able to answer all of your questions. I did coaching two to four times per month throughout my recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mariah,
    I would love to hear what you say when you do your steps. I am stuck on what to say for past. I am suffering from many food intolerances and chemical smells. What do I say to cover both of these issues? I would love your feedback. I am so happy this has helped you so much.
    Sincerely, Marisa


    • Marisa,

      Hello. I am very glad you found my blog. It sounds like you are doing the DNRS program and are having some questions coming up that are very common to DNRS participants. Have you accessed the online forum yet? There is a world of helpful ideas and friendly, caring, people that are on there who are also going through the program. Also, there are trained DNRS online forum employees who can answer specific DNRS protocol questions such as you are asking here. The DNRS online forum employees check the forum every day, so you can leave a question there and it should be answered soon, by either a DNRS forum moderator (employee), or a fellow DNRS brain retrainer. Have you looked into the possibility of hiring a DNRS coach? For me, that was invaluable. I was able to work through the many questions that came up as I did the program. I have two journals full of questions and answers that I asked during my DNRS coaching calls. I utilized coaching roughly every 2 weeks for a year. For me, this was the most effective way to get specific questions answered when I felt stuck along the way. If you would like to connect with me on the forum, (just look me up and send me a friend request on the forum) I am happy to use that avenue to answer any specific program-related questions you may have.


  9. Hi Mariah – fantastic blog! How did you and Travis manage to handle the (hopefully former) illness? Did you get a lot of support from Travis? How did Travis manage to keep himself occupied whilst being so nomadic? How did you keep yourself occupied? And finally – if you’re able to connect with me, please do! Would love to have a chat! I am from Australia!


  10. Hi Michelle, I do not recommend extreme avoidance, such as wearing masks. When you start DNRS, you will be retraining your brain to be around things like mold without feeling a hypersensitivity to it. I was on cholestyramine when I started DNRS only because I had been doing the Shoemaker protocol under my doctors supervision. I was not seeing improvement under the Shoemaker protocol. I was not seeing improvement by practicing extreme mold avoidance either.

    I was living a life of extreme avoidance until I started DNRS. After a month on DNRS, I stopped the Shoemaker protocol. After 2 months on the DNRS program, we moved back to Michigan from California. It was no longer necessary to live there, because DNRS helped my brain rewire in miraculous ways.


  11. Hey Mariah. 12 years with Lyme and coinfections, CIRS (both susceptible mutations), CFS, Gardasil vax damage, autoimmune diseases, etc. I have just started the program and was feeling super positive, however I’m up to the part where I’m to access memories and create future visualisations and I just cannot for the life of me access ANY past memories that are longer than a 5 second snapshot, or make them up for any longer than 30 seconds. It has me in an absolute panic, which I know is a POP, but I feel like the memories and visualisation part is crucial and if I cannot do it, this won’t work for me – it was literally my last hope. If you’ve got any tips, I’d be ever so appreciative! I do understand you’ve been inundated and are likely no longer responding to comments/emails. However, if you are, I can be contacted at ajcardamone1@gmail.com. Thank you 🙂 Alana.


    • Dear Alana, my first suggestion is to get an appointment with a DNRS coach. For me, it worked wonders! You are not alone. What you are experiencing is very common. The DNRS coaches will have TONS of help for you! They did for me! For now, do what you can. If you can do a 30 second visualization, then do it. One thing that has helped a lot of DNRS retrainers is to find a lovely nature photo online, like a stream or a beach or something that speaks to you, and look at it while you visualize. Describe what you see and how you feel as you imagine yourself there. Touch on as many senses as you can – hearing, sight, sound, touch, taste, and really try to FEEL it in your body. For me, the most important and healing part of the steps was the part where you move the feeling through your body and really feel it internally. I would spend as long as I could in that step because it seemed to make the most profound difference to me. Take heart! You are not alone! With care, Mariah


  12. Thank you for this article, I just found out about DNRS after having an aha-moment related to the connection of the limbic system and chronic fatigue. I’m not diagnosed because here where I live doctors don’t really know about this, but I only know what I’ve been going through for the last few years. Now it’s clear, after reading about the polyvagal theory that there is a huge connection between my symptoms and chronic stress response.
    Now I’m searching for resourses about what exersises to do, my current budget is not much and I cannot afford DNRS now. Your article was very inspiring, so, thank you again 🙂 Would you have any suggestions like books or websites where I could find more detailed information about exersises/ practices I could do? Thank you!


    • Hi Cinnamon,

      Yes, DNRS is an investment. You may want to shoot them an email to see if they have any sort of assistance for people right now. It may be worth saving up to try the dvd program when you are able. It made an enormous difference in my life.

      For resources I suggest reading Dr. Daniel Amen’s books based on the brain, Rick Hanson’s books, Annie Hoppers book, and perhaps Joe Dispenza. You will not get any of the DNRS steps there but they are good resources for learning.



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