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Neuroplasticity

How to rewire your brain to become who ever you want to be, to become your best version? This is what science is saying about our brilliant brain ability.


We typically grow up with some specific beliefs about ourselves, we have our perception of who we are or who we are not, what we can or can not do, what we are good at and what we suck at. We were taught that we are who we are, that change is not likely, that we are born with certain levels of mental abilities and we can not exceed them. We were told that to be good at something you need a talent and this is something you are ether born with or you are not. Recent research changed this idea and completely changed our understanding of the mind. We believed that brain cells are not regenerating themselves, but now we know that the brain is constantly rewiring itself in response to our experiences, our environment, and even our behavior. This process is called neuroplasticity, and this is how it works.

Let’s take learning to play guitar as an example. When you go through the motions of playing, some new neural pathways are created in your brain. The next time you take a guitar, these neural pathways are fired up. The moves of your fingers running through the accords are being recorded in your brain. The more you repeat the moves, the stronger the neural pathways become. That’s why, after a few years of playing, it becomes second nature to you. Those neural-pathways are well-established, so your brain knows exactly what to do with little input from you. It gets recorded into the subconscious mind and runs on autopilot. Now imagine you switch to a Ukulele - the tiny 4 strings guitar - it will be challenging at first, because the usual guitar has 6 strings. So your fingers will be looking for extra strings on Ukulele at first (that's your brain following the established neural-pathways), but with a couple of attempts you will get used to it and music will be flowing. Congratulations - you just rewired your brain! Neuroplasticity means that you’re capable of almost unlimited growth in any chosen field as long as you put the effort into the transformation. It means that you’re not bound by some limited set of abilities or traits. It means you’re in full control of your potential - you have the ability to change and adapt. It means you can literally shape your own mind to become the person you want to be. How incredible is that?!

Fast Learning New Skills Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to sing but you’re ‘just not musically gifted’. Maybe you’d love to play football but you’re ‘just not the sporty type’. Maybe you have a great idea for a business but you’re ‘just not driven or organized enough’. Well, science says all these are bogus beliefs! What neuroplasticity tells us is that any skill can be learned or improved. What looks to us like a guitar master is simply somebody who created those neural pathways and reinforced them with repetition, in other words - practiced. Their brains work exactly like yours, and there’s not a single reason you can’t repeat the same process that worked for them. It only requires focus, practice and maybe some positive attitude.

How to break bad habits? Your brain does not choose between good and bad habits. Your behavior doesn’t matter — if you repeat it, that neural pathway will grow stronger. This is why when you choose smoking, overeating, alcohol, drugs looking for relief, for some artificial happiness (and there is a temporary effect) you get stuck in repetition that leads to addiction. Well, we also know that when the neural pathways are not used, they become weaker. A very effective way of breaking bad habits is to interrupt the pattern of behavior and replace it with better behavior so that those negative pathways ‘die out’. Let’s take for example, when you feel like smoking a cigarette, you go take a walk instead. Over time, this action creates a new neural pathway where your craving is automatically followed by the desire to walk. Meanwhile, the old habit and neural pathway that leads to smoking become so weak, until eventually, it doesn’t impact you at all. Overcoming fears Let’s say you're deathly scared of bugs, worms, and spiders. At some point in your early childhood, you had a negative experience with a scary bug. Maybe one ran into you and scared you, or an older sibling teased you with a fake spider, or someone saw the green worm and freaked out in your presence. Whatever happened, you learned that spiders and bugs equal fear, and a neural pathway was created. Every time you’ve seen a spider since that pathway has been fired up and you’ve gone through your programmed fear response. Each time, that pathway has grown stronger and stronger. Neuroplasticity allows you to rewire your brain to eliminate phobias. This process is used in many therapies as well as hypnotherapy. When you see the object you are afraid, the therapist helps you to interrupt the fear response and stay calm. This creates a new, positive pathway, which becomes your default response with practice. That's why hypnosis recordings are good to listen to after the session to make the transformation sink deeper. Challenging Limiting Beliefs Limiting beliefs are things we tell ourselves that hold us back from achieving our full potential. Things like: “I’m not smart enough”; “I’m not good at this, so why try”; ’’I can’t speak up - they might not like me’’... These limiting beliefs usually come from negative experiences, and they usually trigger a bunch of other self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Like bad habits and fears, limiting beliefs can be reprogrammed. The thing is that the brain believes whatever the mind tells it. If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, the brain accepts that as the truth. Tell yourself you’re confident, smart and capable of anything you stick to, and your brain will accept that too. Affirmations It is declaring yourself to be someone you desire, have certain skills or results in life. You constantly talk to yourself in the mind and that voice is often critical or negative. By consciously choosing certain positive phrases to repeat you can rewire your brain to trigger the positive pathways instead. Interestingly you don’t even need to believe these positive affirmations. They still trigger a new neural pathway, and you can still reinforce that pathway by repeating them over and over again. You start to behave in ways consistent with your affirmation, and eventually, it becomes fact. For sure if the affirmation is backed up with a coherent feeling - the results will be seen significantly faster. Meditation You can use meditation to rewire your neural pathways, you can also use it to literally change the shape and function of your brain. Meditation increases the density of grey matter in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which boosts your intelligence and your emotional health. It also strengthens the corpus callosum, the bridge between the brain’s two hemispheres. This leads to a boost in creativity and logical thinking, and it can also increase your focus. Research has found that those who meditate have a larger hippocampus. This area of the brain is responsible for emotional regulation, and increasing its size can help to reverse the damage done by depression and improve symptoms. Meditation also suppresses activity in the amygdala, which effectively rewires your stress circuitry and relieves anxiety. Visualization Visualization is the process of creating a vivid mental picture of a future event. You know that to become skilled at something, you have to practice it in order for the neural pathways to become strong. Interestingly, research has found that simply visualizing yourself doing a specific activity can strengthen those pathways, too. Your brain can’t tell the difference between real and imagined stimulation, so it responds as if the activity were actually being performed. So whether you really play the guitar or you just close your eyes and imagine yourself doing that your skills are improving. I'm not suggesting that you will become a virtuoso only by imagining yourself play, but several scientific experiments show very close results between the real practicing and visualization. So combined with action, visualization is an undeniably powerful way to push yourself towards your goals, whatever they may be.

Are you ready to train your brain for greatness?

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