mind

REWIRING YOUR BRAIN

REWIRING YOUR BRAIN

Fundamentally I believe humans would rather not get angry, impatient or be in a negative headspace. Unfortunately in everyday life this can happen often throughout the day. With some determination and a great deal of self-awareness, we have the capacity to change. 

NEURAL PATHWAYS

When certain thoughts and behaviours are repeated neurons fire together creating a ‘neural pathway’. If you’re on the tube and it’s jam packed and you’re hot and people are pushing you, and your reaction is anger, that fires a series of neurons together. The first time you have a reaction to something you are laying down the foundation for that neural pathway. Each time you have the same reaction you are reinforcing the neural pathway and eventually it becomes very easy to have the same angry or negative response. In fact, the response is no longer a unique reaction to a unique stimulus, it is a habit. A well known phrase to describe this is ‘neurons that fire together wire together’. 

The below explanation explains it clearly for us:

“Just think of your brain as a dynamic, connected power grid, with billions of roads and pathways lighting up every time you think, feel or do something. Some of these roads are well travelled. These are your habits; your established ways of thinking, feeling and doing. Every time you think in a certain way, practice a particular task, or feel a specific emotion, you strengthen this road, and it becomes easier for your brain to travel this pathway.”

Scientific research has now proven that we’re able to change the way we think. Where as previously it was thought that the adult mind was fixed and hard to change. Now it has been proven that we can alter our mind patterns by rewiring our neural pathways that regulate our emotions, thoughts, and reactions. This means we can create new neural pathways that lead us to compassion, gratitude, and joy instead of anxiety, fear and anger. With a great deal of awareness, mindfulness and acknowledgement of the present we can begin to reprogram our brain. But this is no easy task!

This process of rewiring your brain by forming new connections and weakening old ones is called “neuroplasticity”. 

The brain is constantly adapting and rewiring itself. Our thoughts and behaviours influence this process. If we consciously change and adapt our thoughts and behaviours we can begin to rewire our brain to a more positive state. SO…..

How can we begin to change our neural pathways?

  1. INTENTION SETTING - think of a situation where your emotions are triggered and set an intention to change the way you react. Set positively phrased intentions (click here for more on intentions). 
  2. VISUALISE - visualise the situation that triggers a negative reaction and then visualise yourself reacting different in that situation. 
  3. PAUSE - when you feel your emotion bubbling. Stop. Pause. Connect To Breath. If we can find a moments pause before we react we can then consciously react to the situation, rather then habitually. 
  4. COMPASSION - once you’ve paused put yourself in their shoes. If it is a person imagine what kind of day they could of had. You never know what someone else has gone through. Dig deep and practice compassion and find kindness for the situation and see how that changes your perspective. 

STAY CURIOUS TO BE PRESENT

 

|| Stay curious to be present ||

One of the main reasons why I loved Burning Man so much (which many of my dear friends know about) is that it brings a child like curiosity out in you. There is so much random, beautiful, amazing, interesting, inspiring, sensational.. you get the point, things going on. It’s mind blowing. You suddenly find yourself being this curious kid cycling round the desert experiencing things for the first time, and it lasts a week!!! It's the first and only time in my life that for a whole week I was really living in the present moment and didn't even think about 'real life' for a second, until we had left.(It helped having no access to the internet or signal). If only we can find a way for every moment in daily life to be this interesting and engaging!

Even though routine can be great and work has it’s up and downs as does all relationships. We can still enter everything with a sense of curiosity. Even in our asana practice…. Even holding Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) for the umpteenth time you can enter it with a sense of curiosity. Each day is different, the body feels different, moves differently, is experience different things, each day something changes. Developing that sense of curiosity into everything that you do is a skill but also helps you be more focused and engaged. It’s like an ad blocker from boredom, negativity, judgemental thoughts, anxiety, doubt… you name it!

It’s something I’m working on and trying to bring into my everyday. Be curious in the moment and stop worrying or thinking about other things that most likely are irrelevant to that moment.

 

 

BE COURAGEOUS

 

|| BE COURAGEOUS ||

This is a topic that really resonates with me. So many of us our victims of life. It’s so easy to wish that we had this, or was like that person, or if only we had done that and then we could do this… bla bla. My recent motto is ‘stop wishing, start doing’. Each time I find myself wishing or longing for this or that I have firm words with my internal thoughts and realise that a lot of it stems down to having courage. Many moments or maybe every moment of my life that I’m proud of or has given me happiness and pleasure has come from courage – taking a step into the unknown.

I have a life long dream of living abroad by the ocean. I desperately want to make this happen but I’m scarred/fearful of something. And that something stems down to the unknown, what if?, failing, making the wrong decision. But what is worse……

1.     Never knowing and never taking the risk?

2.     Or taking the risk and it not working out how you might have thought?

The chances are reality will never play out exactly how you envision. Each of us are different and each of us have different risks to take but whether it’s a job you want that you don’t feel worthy of, or whether it’s a city you want to move to but you have no friends there, or if you want to start your own career… surely being courageous and going for it is the best answer?

There are sensible decisions and completely stupid ones so I’m not saying do something completely idiotic but follow your dreams, find it in your heart to believe in yourself and be courageous.

I hope this post inspires others and helps you find courage to believe in your ability. If you don’t believe in you no one else will. 

|| FINDING COURAGE ||

All very well to say we need it now we have to find it!

1.     Speak to a friend, a loved one that you trust who knows you and believes in you and write down 4-6 powerful, meaningful, short, snappy words or phrases that you can carry with you that will help you be courageous.

2.     Start looking into the unknown. If you’re someone that needs a bit of planning a bit of prepping, warming up, push yourself and start investigating looking deeper into the possibility of it actually happening.

3.     Believe it’s going to happen at all times! Even if you’re inner thoughts are telling you otherwise.

4.     Do everything in your power to make it happen. Write a list of all the things you can do. People you can email, things you can research, contacts you already have.

5.     Feed yourself with inspiration. Read inspiring books, watch Ted Talks, going to lectures, do things that you know will give you drive. Drive comes from within but we need to find the things that trigger that drive!