3 Ways To Rewire Your Brain
By Elea Faucheron
The human brain is a vast and mysterious place, with thousands of thoughts blazing around our neural networks. Science reveals we have at least 60,000 thoughts per day! Neural networks are the pathways a thought travels in the brain, like a vast forest with trails throughout. The more you experience a thought, the clearer the path in the forest, and the easier it is to travel again and again. This is why having thoughts like I’m not enough is never a great idea, and why I am peaceful could be a better mantra. Even more fascinating: studies show that between 50-70% of doctor visits for physical ailments are attributed to psychological factors. Not to mention, quantum physics is now proving that what we think affects what we actually perceive and experience on a subatomic level.
Ready to blaze new trails in the forest of your mind? Check out these three tips:
IGNORE THE PEANUT GALLERY
The left brain processes in a more logical fashion, housing our language, linear and sequential data, notions of past and future, critical analysis, and judges right from wrong, just to name a few. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, tells us our left brain’s area that’s responsible for our judgmental inner mantras is the size of a peanut. A peanut!
On the flip side, the right brain is where we house our nonverbal cues, our capacity to be in present moment, compassion, kinesthetic learning, peacemaking, joy, etc. The next time your mind leaves you feeling ridiculed by the peanut gallery, realize you are experiencing just that!
Tip: Give that peanut a personality, a name and an outfit. Then ask yourself, Do I want to listen to the peanut gallery? When the peanut talks do you feel heavy or light? What would it be like to choose peace instead?
LET YOUR THOUGHTS GO OFF-ROAD
One of my favorite bumpers stickers is Don’t believe everything you think! Thoughts reenact themselves over and over – they’re like race cars buzzing around your cranial track. This is why it’s so important to take conscious steps to fuel your brain with the thoughts you want. When thoughts circle around enough, we begin to believe them, which isn’t bad if we’re churning out peaceful thoughts.
Science tells us that on average, 60% or more of our thoughts are negative. Believing in those is a dangerous; it’s a route full of pot holes and dead ends. Taking responsibility for your internal environment means accepting that what races around your track is up you and not outside forces.
Tip: If you have a racing thought notice the car, the track, the weather, describe it in great detail. Then switch your creative attention to imagining a car and track you just can’t resist checking out – go off-road and blaze a new trail!
DO MORE NOTHING
Do more nothing? I can sum that up in one simple word: Meditate. Our constant programming to multi-task tells us that stopping is anarchy. But it’s not: it’s radical self-healing. Mediation actually changes the geography of our brains, just like lifting weights will change your bicep, quieting the mind will change the neuroplasticity of the brain. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and rewire. A mindfulness practice, such as mediation, improves all areas of our lives.
Tip: If sitting makes you squirm, explore the vast array of options on the Internet just by searching “mindfulness.” There are many forms: walking, laying down, deep breathing, chanting, or losing yourself in the presence of nature. Simply find your unique way – to do more nothing – and stick to it!
Khalil Gibran elegantly said, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you, as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you, as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
Take action and avoid spending days, months and years mistakenly believing what your mind thinks about a situation in your life. Foster your ability to see the world through the attitude you choose and ask yourself, What pathways am I building in the mind?