Rewire your brain (Part 2) - Activate neuro pathways
Dr. Hilary Stokes says that we have trillions of brain cells, resulting in thousands (if not millions) of strings of lights (chemical reactions) correlating with our habits in all areas of our life.
In part one, the introduction, we looked at why we need to explore the idea of rewiring the brain. In my opinion I want to be able to get out of depression easier and cope better with anger, stress and anxiety. I want to let go of unhealthy behaviors. The idea is to make me healthier so that I can be more productive, approachable and calmer.
I want to get out of the victim role where there is blame and disadvantage and into the creator role where I use my circumstances to my advantage to control my present destiny.
I was captivated by an article titled "5 Ways to Rewire Your Brain for Meaningful Life Changes". It's about activating neuro pathways to create new neural networks in the brain.
My article is a summary of the original for documentation purposes and adaptation of my understanding of the content as best I can.
Dr. Hilary Stokes wrote that Neuroscientists have discovered the strategy for rewiring the brain. According to her post five neuro pathways must be activated in order to create new neural networks in the brain.
1. Identify the beliefs that support your intention
You need to believe that it is actually possible to change your behavior in a certain way. If you don't believe it is possible, you cannot change.
- What are your beliefs regarding the particular behavior?
- Identify the beliefs that make it possible to change your behavior.
- Make these beliefs your intention.
Example: When someone is questioning Jane, she gets defensive because she feels interrogated and makes her feel threatened. Those are her beliefs.
She could identify that not all questions are interrogations and that she doesn't have to feel threatened.
She can use this to her advantage and as her intention to not get defensive the next time she is questioned but she must believe it.
2. Embrace your strong
Neutral emotions don't have enough power to induce change. If you are feeling a strong enough emotion, use it as fuel to change your behavior.
- What emotions do you feel that drive the need to change your behavior?
- Why is this meaningful to you?
- Spend time with the emotion while you focus on your intention.
Example: Jane feels embarrassed by her defensive reaction. She gets angry, lashes out which only results in negative responses back at her.
It's meaningful to her to change her behavior because she wants to be more approachable, calm and relaxed in a conversation.
She can reflect on this meaning with her emotions so that she can reinforce her intention.
Your brain is awesome but filled with trickery. Imagination can become reality. You can use this to your advantage to train your brain into new habits by mentally rehearsing them. This strengthens the ability to form new habits.
- What imagery aligns with changing your behavior?
- Visualize them daily
Example: Jane could imagine being questioned by a colleague. She could imagine different types of questioning styles specifically the ones that make her defensive.
She could visualize scenes where she responds to these questions in a more approachable manner.
4. Take actions that support your intention
Your behavior must align with your vocabulary. You need to fully believe your actions. You need to identify what actions are aligned with your thoughts and emotions.
Example: Jane cannot say that she will be approachable but when asked questions become defensive. Her behavior must mimic her intention through practice.
If she gets it wrong, she can reflect and introspect to determine what she needs to do to get it right.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat
You need to practice your new habit daily or you will fall back to your old ways.
- Do this consciously (mindfully) and daily
- Practice thinking, feeling, visualizing and acting in alignment
Example: Jane needs to be fully present in the moment of the conversation. She needs to be aware of her body language, posture, vocabulary and tone. Her responses need to be as calm as possible and she must be aware of the triggers that induce her rage.
Through activating the different pathways and by practicing her intent she could succeed at breaking away from this behavior she chooses to change.
Dr. Hilary Stokes continues to say that the key is to activate as many of these pathways as possible given they work synergistically.
One pathway is not enough to rewire your brain. You need to repeatedly align your beliefs, feelings, vision, and actions to experience lasting changes in your brain.
My final thoughts
Dr. Hilary Stokes' article is powerful and elaborate. I encourage you to read it.
Using the techniques could be beneficial although I have not yet tried them consciously myself. I see the five steps in the form of questions that I can use to explore and activate my own pathways.
- What do I believe about my current behavior?
- How do I leverage strong associated emotions to make a change?
- What can I visualize to integrate this change into my life?
- What must I actually do to integrate this change?
- How can I fully believe in this change and repeatedly practice it?
- 5 Ways To Rewire Your Brain For Meaningful Life Changes, MindBodyGreen, Dr. Hilary Stokes