In the last post we looked at the negative programming that happens to us on a daily basis. If we are not careful, then that can affect us and dis-empower a person. So in this article, let’s look at some ways how you can reprogram your brain.
Scientists have discovered that our brain in pliable, which they call neuroplasticity. What this means is that we are able to create new neural connections and as such you can rewire your brain. You can actually create new neural pathways, which you can think of like creating new motor ways to get to a destination. What that means is that who you were or how you have been programmed before, does not have to be who you are in the future. Yes, you can change, learn new skills and even improve your health and well-being.
This has many potential implications for us both physically and mentally in your thinking and behaviour. Imagine being able to get back control of your body after having had a stroke. The brain can simply be rewired to take a different pathway to talk to and control the body. Overcome learning difficulties, learn how to play a musical instrument, get rid of depression, stop addictions, become more positive, learn to play a new sport etc. Plasticity can even help the adult brain grow under the right circumstances. Unfortunately this neuroplasticity can also lead to the negative programming that we have already discussed.
If you wish to find out more about neuroplasticity, then the following is a good book to read. In
Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life written by Dr. Michael Merzenich, he talks about 10 core principles to remodel your brain.
So how do we achieve this reprogramming or rewiring of the brain?
Five ways to reprogram your brain.
Below are 5 ways in how you can rewire your brain. These are simply an example of each of these and there is a lot more to be said for each technique.
• Change your lenses.
Imagine that you were on honeymoon, staying in this a beautiful wood cabin. However you get woken up in the morning by woodpeckers pounding on the roof. Some people would say that the stay was a failure.
This happened to Gracie and Walter on their honeymoon. Instead of thinking of the trip as a failure, they asked themselves how they could turn it into an opportunity. By the time they had returned home, they had created the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. Walter was the illustrator and Gracie was the voice. When they were interviewed on their 50th wedding anniversary, Gracie said that the stay in the cabin was the best thing that ever happened. Woody Woodpecker was a huge success.
How was it that something that could have been a disaster for some, turned out to be a success for them? A matter of perception, which shapes our reality. It comes down to the lenses through which we see the world. You can change your thoughts by seeing the world through a different set of lenses. If you keep having negative thoughts, you will create negative things in your life. If you have more positive thoughts and see the positive in everything, then you will create those types of results in your life.
Mindfulness can help us to build on our concentration, attention and to be able to direct our awareness. Example, instead of being in a negative state, we can direct our attention to that feeling you may be experiencing. Where is it coming from? What does it really mean? What else is there that you may not have noticed before, etc. This can help us to better respond to a challenging situation, rather than the automatic reaction that may normally happen. We can change the way in how we experience an event or situation, and then how we respond to it. Thus giving you a greater skill set and more flexibility to deal with those situations in the future.
When a baby learns how to walk, they don’t stand up and do the 100 meter sprint. They practice and practice and practice. Eventually they manage to stand. Then they fall over and over again as they learn to take a step by step. Eventually learning how to walk and then run. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers. Saying that it takes around 10,000 hours of practice to attain mastery in a particular field. The more you practice to do something, the more it strengthens your neural connections and helps to create new pathways. Much like how you strengthen your body through exercise.
• Exercise by learning new skills.
When you go to the gym, for example to build muscle, you need to do certain exercises. In doing so you are able to burn fat and build the muscly. The brain works the same way and very much works on the principle of use or lose it. A couple of ways that you can exercise the brain is to do things in a different way. Example, brush your hair or teeth with the opposite hand. Swop your knife and fork to the opposite hands. If you are right handed, have you ever tried to throw a ball with your left hand? Probably not as good as your right was it? Do a course or learn about a new subject every 12 months. Preferable even more regularly.
By keeping the brain active, you can build on your brain like a muscle. Thus strengthening your brain. Scientists have found that the more we exercise the brain, the more dense and heavier it becomes and more neural connections are made. Whether it is playing Sudoku, learning a new language or playing Call of Duty, etc. Perfect excuse for husbands around the world to buy an X-Box. (Just kidding.)
“All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically. The key to creativity is to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blue print of the desired result” – Stephen Covey-. Author of 7 Habits of highly effective people.
What you focus on is what you create in your life. Visualize yourself achieving the thing you want to achieve. In fact they took a group of basketball players and split them into 3 groups. The first group was told to just go relax, shoot some pool. The second group was told to visualize themselves successfully shooting hoops. The third group was told to actually practice shooting hoops.
When they evaluated the players afterwards the first group had no increase in their ability to shoot hoops. The second group who visualized successfully shooting hoops, had improved in their ability, almost as much as the group who did physically practice by shooting the hoops.
The key for the second group was to visualize themselves feeling and seeing the ball. Then visualizing successfully shooting the hoops. Imagining the ball going through the hoop.
Why reprogram your brain?
The fact is you don’t need to. You can keep on doing the same things and keep getting the same results. If that is what you are happy with. If however you want to have more options, have greater flexibility of behaviour, change the rut that you are in etc, then why not give it a go?
By keeping your mind fresh you not only learn new skills, you also might just also increase your income potential, be a happier person or simply enjoy life more. There is no downside if you choose to be the captain of your own ship and take the actions that will empower you to reach the port of your choosing. On the other hand, if you simply get on the boat and hope that the wind will blow you in the right direction, then I wish you every success.
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