Senior Mindset Coach at Samuel and Co Trading. While studying and practising many energy healing systems spanning 40 years (EFT, TAT, TCM, Yuen Method, NLP, Applied Kinesiology, Qigong etc). He gained qualifications in Massage, Reflexology, Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy. His goal is to continue to help his clients experience freedom from life’s emotional trauma, stress, negativity, limiting beliefs and to holistically balance the Mind, Body and Spirit.
Hi everyone, welcome back to my weekly article. In this article, I’m going to be talking about Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to continually change throughout your life. The human brain is a complex organ, and, at one point, it was thought that just like other organs in the body, once developed that was it – it couldn’t be changed. We now know that this couldn’t be further away from the truth.
In the last article on the Left vs Right Brain Hemispheres, I talked about the function of each hemisphere, what they’re responsible for and the additional lobes that had very specific tasks. We now know that certain brain functions can be transferred to a different location of the brain, the proportion of grey matter can change and the neural network can be strengthened or weakened at the synaptic junctions. Every part of the body is connected to a corresponding area in the brain which creates a cortical map. Cortical remapping can also take place following amputations or a change in the neuronal stimulus (brain damage) and another part of the brain takes over the function. It’s like being on the motorway until suddenly everything stops. The satnav gets us off at the nearest junction and re-routes us around the backroads until we reconnect at a junction further up the motorway. In the case of an amputee, this backroad eventually strengthens until it becomes the new motorway and life resumes again.
Every repetition of a thought, emotion, skill or how we interact with our environment creates a neural pathway – and with each new thought, we begin to create new connections. The brain is continually remoulding itself. Neuroplasticity is the ‘muscle building’ part of the brain; the things we do often strengthens the neural network, and what we don’t use fades away. Over time, these frequent repetitive experiences become a ‘programme’, a response, coping method or skill-set in the subconscious mind. What we think, we become. If all your repetitive experiences are positive, then, once the programme has been created, the corresponding belief that goes with that programme will be positive and vice versa if they’re all negative.
Henry Ford said it the best;
“If you think you can do something…
or if you think you can’t do something, you’re right” – Henry Ford
It literally is about the belief. If the belief is positive then you’ll act in positive ways, however, if the belief is negative then, you’ll act with hesitancy.
From the time the brain is developing in utero until the day we die, the connections among the cells continually reorganise themselves in response to our environment and changing needs. Although neuroplasticity continues throughout life it eventually slows down. Children change easily but the older we get the more fixed our thinking and learning becomes. Every time that you think about something, your neural network is firing, either creating or strengthening a neural network. It’s estimated that we have between 50-65,000 mental conversations per day, so start paying attention to what you’re thinking and saying. Be mindful of those quip remarks like, “he’s a pain in the neck (arse)”, or “I can never remember peoples names”. These statements will eventually become your reality. Have you noticed how much people swear in our everyday language? It’s as if they can’t help themselves, every sentence has a swear word in it. They’ve literally created a neural network in their speech pattern that contains swear words – great!!
In order to break this cycle of swearing or to change a response or coping method, you have to be mindful of your thoughts. Actively monitoring and correcting yourself with an alternative word or phrase or response, ‘in the moment’ that you notice yourself committing the act. The more you do this the weaker the original ‘swearing’ neural network becomes and the alternative response strengthens. This is the way to change unwanted habits or develop new skills. This process is used extensively in the sports world and why you see golfers, tennis players etc. repetitively playing the same shot over and over again to strengthen the neural connection from the brain to the muscles to produce the desired result when it’s required. This is why sporting professionals utilise the services of psychologists because – it’s all in the mind.
I hope that you find these articles informative. As always, I hope you have enjoyed the input. I look forward to seeing any discussions and interaction from the community – more next week…