Brain Power, Part 2: Rewiring Your Brain
Yes, you read that correctly! We are going to rewire your brain and I am not even a brain surgeon!
Science is finding our brains are actually able to learn new patterns to replace old damaging patterns. It's like rewiring a faulty circuit. The scientific name for this is neuroplasticity, which is the brains ability to create new synapses and connect neurons in different ways. (Click here to read the science.)
What is incredible about this is you don't need a brain surgeon to do this for you.
All you need is creativity and awareness to rewire your own brain.
Remember how we explored the idea of thoughts creating realities last week? This week, I am sharing two ways to rewire your brain in a way that produces more positive thoughts which create a better reality for you. These two practices are something I do every single day because they work without me even realizing it.
One, get quiet every day. We are so loud in our culture that we can't hear ourselves think. We won't know what is happening between our ears until we are quiet enough to hear what thoughts are flowing through our brains. We think we know what we are thinking, but most of the time we don't. Getting quiet could be sitting doing nothing, journaling, talking a stroll around the yard, or meditating.
I am so amazed at what I find swimming around in my head. I meditate each day and there are days I am stunned by what I find. For me, meditation is about noticing what thoughts are flowing through my head. Some days the theme is money worries. Other days the theme is negative body image. And, yes, some days there is a flow of positivity and gratitude, but those days are few. Once I become aware of what I am thinking, I am able to gain some perspective and consider what might be driving those thoughts. Often money worries are driven by the fact that I haven't scheduled a financial date with myself so I am spending blind instead of having a good awareness of where my money is flowing. With body image, usually I am feeling bad about myself in general because of being too isolated or allowing past thought patterns to rise and take control.
It is only when we are aware that we can begin to shift those thoughts towards truth and what we need. Most of the time, the thoughts in our heads, especially the negative ones, are pointing us towards what is missing and needed.
Two, get down with gratitude. Gratitude is like the amazing guru of rewiring the brain. A simple gratitude practice for 5 minutes daily over time has profound transformative effects upon your thought patterns, the way you view the world, and how you relate to yourself and others. (To read more about gratitude's effect on the brain, check out this article from UC Berkeley.)
The easiest way to start a gratitude practice is to write down three things you are grateful for before you go to bed. Writing gratitude down seems to be key to the actual rewiring. If you want to include your spouse or kids, that works too. What about incorporating a gratitude practice with your kids as a part of winding down before bed?
When we focus on what is going well and what we appreciate, our emotions become less overwhelming and our outlook on life becomes more positive.