Have memory issues? Have you had a head injury? Maybe you have some PTSD and it prevents you from doing things you love. Well, there is good news for you! You can change your brain. Neuroplasticity is the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behavior in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.

All humans have patterns of behavior, or paradigms from which we operate. In the brain these patterns are called neural pathways or neural networks. Once we develop a paradigm, it becomes old hat, easy to follow and frankly, difficult to change. We develop these paradigms as we learn. Initially the pathway is rough, unpaved, but with time, if we reinforce the pattern, the pathway becomes fixed. Many paradigms come from early childhood and are so ingrained in us, we don’t even realize they are there. Paradigms also come from life events both positive and negative.

If you want to actively change your brain, you have to decide you want to learn something new, do something different, or act a different way. YOU have to initiate this. And this means you have to first become aware of what you want to change. Maybe you don’t like how you react when confronted with a new idea. You find yourself thinking “Oh, this is gonna be really difficult” and then you notice your body contracting, your mind shutting down and then, yes, its difficult because you are not open to it.

With some work, you can change your reaction.

Notice your physical reaction-—how do you feel, where do you feel it in the body
Notice your emotional reaction-—do the possibilities frighten or excite you, or are they somewhere in between?
Become curious-how will this new idea change or affect my daily routine?

As you begin to engage yourself, your whole self in awareness around a situation, event or activity, you can then change your reactions and responses on the spot. If you notice anger creeping up in you after a meeting, step back, breathe deeply a few times and take yourself back into the meeting. At what point did anger begin? Who was talking and what was being discussed? Now notice your physical reaction and where you feel it. What made you angry? Why did this make you angry? Decide, in this reflective moment, how you would like to respond when this situation shows up again. Ask your brain to remember the trigger and the new response. Take your mind through this exercise several times to help it create a new path for the old anger trigger. You can do this technique with anything you want to change. Try it and please send me your story.

Read more here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201702/how-do-neuroplasticity-and-neurogenesis-rewire-your-brain

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/brain-exercise

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy:  The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, Norman Doidge; “Your Plastic Brain: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Norman Doidge; “Neuroplasticity: can you rewire your brain?,” Dr. Sarah McKay;  Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life, Dr. Michael Merzenich; My Stroke of Insight, Jill Bolte Taylor.

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