Warning: This is a longer UPdate and reading it could physically alter your brain.
“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” Wayne Dyer
Your mind. It is one of your most valuable resources…depending on how you use it. Ever notice that sometimes you are using your mind for evil rather than good by repeatedly thinking negative, limiting or untrue thoughts?
Something that has significantly helped me and my clients shift our thinking has been learning about how our brains work.
Your brain is not a static, unalterable organ. It is possible to change the physiology of your brain, which in turn alters your thoughts.
You have experienced altering your brain chemistry many times like all of a sudden thinking you’re a great singer after having a few cocktails. Or enjoying a positive attitude from the high you experience after an endorphin-releasing workout.
So how do we change our brain in a way that creates more life enhancing, affirming thoughts? Let’s start with a little very basic science (disclaimer: obviously I am not a scientist or doctor, but this has been explained to me by a scientist and doctor). Repetitive thoughts in our brain form these things called neural nets in our brain that are clusters of chemically connected or functionally associated neurons. What that means is if you think the same thought or type of thought over and over again, it forms a physical cluster of neurons in your brain. Over time, these neural nets create grooves in your brain that your thoughts gravitate toward. For instance, if you repeatedly think along the lines of, “I am not good enough;” you create a neural net around that limiting belief/thought. Once that neural net is formed, it becomes easier and easier (even habitual) to think in the direction of “I’m not good enough.”
This will make more sense if I give you a metaphor. Visualize a house in the middle of a really overgrown field. See yourself in a truck that is a football field’s distance from the house and your job is to drive the truck to the house. On your first trip, it’s going to be a bumpy ride as you have to get through all the weeds, bushes and rocks. You are holding onto the steering wheel pretty tight and focused on your destination. Now, imagine that you drive the same truck down the same path day after day. Over time, the wheels would create a path in the field and eventually, the truck will just naturally gravitate down the road you carved by driving down the same path day after day. It would not require much steering or effort at all.
But say you want to create a different route to the house. The first time you steered the truck off course it would once again be a bumpy ride.You’d have to steer with focus again to get the truck from going down the easier, well-carved path. But if you drove the truck down the new path day after day, a new road would form that eventually would feel as natural as the first road you carved.
Your brain is like the field and your thoughts are like the truck. If you want to change the direction your thoughts naturally gravitate toward, you are going to have to consciously steer them off their natural course and create a new neural pathway in your brain.
Let’s go back to our earlier example of the neural net created by the thought “I am not good enough.” If you want to create a new pathway in your brain, when you notice yourself thinking that limiting thought, IMMEDIATELY redirect your thoughts in a new direction. Over time as you choose new life enhancing and affirming thoughts, you will create new pathways and neural nets in your brain that you will more naturally gravitate towards. Thinking the thoughts you want to think will become easier as you change the physiology of your brain.
We take our bodies to the gym to alter our physique. Why don’t we give our brains a workout to alter our state of mind?
And do so with loving discipline. Remember, your thoughts about what is happening in your life have a far greater impact on your well being than what is actually happening. Use your mind for good not evil!
P.S. I have a new podcast where I coach people LIVE on the air. Head over to Over it and On With It and listen in for inspiration and action steps.
Christine Hassler has broken down the complex and overwhelming experience of recovering from disappointment into a step-by-step treatment plan in her new book Expectation Hangover. This book reveals the formula for how to process disappointment on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels to immediately ease suffering. Instead of wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, or anger, we can see these experiences as catalysts for profound transformation and doorways that open to possibility. You can find more info on her website, and follow her on Twitter and FB.
Image courtesy of Léa Dubedout.