Power of Positive Change
Most of us run our lives on autopilot. This is because our neural pathways operate under the law of least effort, or the path of least resistance. We tend to now realize that the majority of time we are simply recycling the old news. It has been said that by the time we are 35 years old, up to 90% of what we think, feel and do is recycled from our past. However, change is possible!
Neural pathways are strengthened into habits through the repetition and practice of feeling, thinking and acting. Below are 4 important tips on how you can change some of the “worse” habits into “better ones” just in a few weeks.
- Intensity of emotion and feeling is required to take an experience and make it a solidified habit. The more intensely you feel the emotion, the more neurons you activate to form well-worn pathways. Eventually, through repetition and feeling intensity, your new habits start running on autopilot and great new habits set in.
- Visualization is almost as powerful as the real thing given your brain cannot tell the difference between something real or imagined. Research shows that anytime you are thinking, you are engaging and thus conditioning neural pathways.
- Meditation is a healing state of being that is great at relaxing the body and quieting the mind. In order to tap into the benefits of neural plasticity you have to stay out of the fight or flight response (stress) and engage the parasympathetic nervous system (relax, breathe, meditate). Research in recent years has led neuroscientists to believe that our brains are in fact much more malleable, flexible and able to shift physically and psychologically than we first thought.
- Regularity (around three times a week) has also been shown to cause increased gyrification – the formation of more folds in the prefrontal cortex. This is important because the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain associated with our higher executive functions, namely our abilities to think flexibly and creatively, switch between tasks and make reasonable decisions.
Next week we will look at some practical techniques of bringing more self love, acceptance and pleasure into our lives.