Lately I’ve been geeking out on science… specifically the neuroscience of consciousness, and the processes involved in changing your mind.
IT’S SO INTERESTING 🙂 I find it absolutely fascinating how habitual patterns and beliefs shape our minds – neurologically forming and strengthening certain connections over others. We cling to different experiences based on our emotions and environment, and based on these (most often, subconscious) patters, we allow it to influence the life we live.
But let’s hit pause and rewind for a sec.. I want you to catch up to speed on everything we’ll need to know!
THE HUMAN BRAIN: a network of billions of neurons and synapses (connections). Different experiences create different neural connections, which influence different emotions.
NEUROPLASTICITY: certain connections having the ability to become stronger or weaker, depending on which neurons continue to be stimulated.
In the example of a vocalist, someone who continues to sing and train this talent will create strong neural connections with repetition. In this way, the vocalist will fortify the neural pathways for singing, and create the connections in the brain to become musically inclined.
In the example of someone who does not have a trained voice – or consider themselves to be a “singer” – they can still create the SAME neural connections to become musically creative. This means any talent or skill can be learned by training.
Let me repeat that.
ANY TALENT OR SKILL CAN BE LEARNED BY TRAINING.
Just as ANY pattern can be fortified, or weakened.
Just as ANY BELIEF can be constructed or broken down.
Are you jumping up and down yet?
BECAUSE I AM, and I want you to join me!
If you can view this objectively, you will understand the boundless opportunity we have just by being ALIVE. The human brain is absolutely incredible, it can do ANYTHING for us! Remaining in a neutral perspective, we can begin to see the all the ways we can empower ourselves with these possibilities.
If I haven’t sold you yet, let’s keep going. 😉
While my intention is to inspire you with ALL the limitless opportunity you have just by sharing these facts, I want to dive in deeper on the latter – BELIEFS – for the sake of this blog.
BELIEFS shape our reality; they form our identity, and ultimately what we get out of our life experience. What we accept and allow to be true in our minds will merge into the person we are, and we carry these ideas – neural connections – around with us every day.
Let’s take the example belief of “not being able to lose weight” – somewhere along the line, this idea was planted in your mind. This could be a past experience from childhood, or something you picked up along the way. Where it came from does not matter, what does is at one point you either consciously or subconsciously (without awareness) accepted this idea and made it your own.
Your subconscious mind then took over, it liked the idea of this belief so much that it continued to strengthen the neural connections associated with it. The more it was accepted, the more neuroplasticity made a home for it in your brain, and the more your emotion responded by creating a solid environment for this “new – unable to lose weight – version of you”. Now, you began to have thoughts that are in alignment to this way of thinking; you may even say to yourself “I’m fat”, “it’s hopeless”, or “I shouldn’t even try”.
Of course, this is not limited to weight loss – it could be anything! So, I want you to think of the most challenging self-limiting belief YOU HAVE today as I share this next analogy.
Imagine your beautiful brain as a forest – trees, branches, bushes, flowers, grass, and all the greenery overflowing like the wildlife it is. You’ve accepted a limiting thought, and as you continue to buy into this belief, a pathway is formed through the wild greenery – just for you! Your brain is so proud that it can accommodate this, and says “look what I’ve done for you! I’ve made it way easier for you to walk down this path” – or in other words, continue to think the same thought. Now that you have an easily accessible path, your way of thinking becomes habitual.
Let’s say now, you we’re sick and tired of the way the thought made you feel. You become aware that this engrained path (belief) is keeping you limited, and you decide to create a change in your thinking. When you first try to pave a new path, you notice it’s a challenge. The new path is right beside the old one, and it’s so easy to just fall to the side and walk through the paved grounds. Your brain notices you trying to pave a new path and says to you “what are you doing?! I’ve worked so hard on this beautiful path for you! Come back and use it” – as a way to keep you safely programmed to your familiar habits.
Know this – just as you paved one path (or developed one particular way of thinking), you can pave another in the exact same way.
Will it be challenging at first? Of course! You will have to clear out the greenery again, and you will have to resist falling back on the easy path of your old patterns of thinking. On this journey, you also begin to witness your brain trying to pull you back to your familiar habits – but having awareness is everything! You SEE whats happening, and most of all, you understand why. You have compassion with yourself as you say, “it just takes time” – you may slip on the old path a few times, but with persistence you will start to create a new one. Before you know it, you begin to clear the way for a new path that says “IT IS POSSIBLE. Achieving my goals and being happy is my natural birthright!” – and with repetition and practice, it becomes easier to consciously choose. Now that you’re getting stronger (thank you neuroplasticity!) the greenery clears on your new, loving path, and the greenery repopulates the old one as if it never existed!
With this new path comes a new version of you, and the best part is you can choose to change over and over again. We can tend to the garden in our minds and consciously “weed out” the limiting habits we accumulate over time.
I hope you enjoyed my little story :); before I go I want to leave you with most important advice for the journey of changing your mind – compassion.
Be compassionate towards yourself, and honour your courage to create change in your life.
Changing your mind can take time, but know it gets easier with practice! The ego will get involved and attempt to tell you you’re not going fast enough, highlight your “failures” or try to discourage you, but stay one step ahead of the game and don’t fall for these distractions. When you fight with yourself, you buy into the ego’s trick to keep you stuck in the same place. If you have compassion for yourself, you will speed up the process tenfold!
Remember, YOU are a badass with a beautiful mind.
It’s time to revolutionize it!