We all have habits, some good and some bad. Habits are difficult to form, especially good ones. Research shows it takes 66 days on average to form new a habit however this is a conversation for a different day.
Today I want to talk about rewiring your brain to help you live a happier, more fulfilling life, whatever that may mean to you. It is within reach and you can start right now. There is a 4-step process that was created by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. He helps his patients who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder without drugs, instead, he teaches them to rewire their brains. He uses the 4-step method with them and believes it can be used in several different situations, life, business, and work. This is because it has been scientifically proven that the brain can be altered through changes in our behavior.
Re-label bad thoughts as false messages. This is you recognizing they exist and consciously doing something about them. Don’t act upon them or any urges and accept that it is just a false message your brain is sending you.
Think about why you’re thinking these thoughts, where are they coming from? Chances are, you will realize that these are coming from false beliefs and these thoughts are wrong and your brain is sending you false messages.
This is where you change your thoughts and in turn, change your behavior. This is the hardest step because you’re essentially forming a habit, you want to get to a stage where you’re doing this subconsciously without having to think about it and force yourself to do it. This is also where the brain chemistry starts to change, you’re in control of your thoughts and you’re not letting your brain run on autopilot. Habits are hard to form and they take time, see above, however they are well worth your efforts.
Now that you’re consistently changing these ‘useless’ thoughts, everything starts to come together. Negative thoughts are coming in (they inevitably always will) and are getting booted out as ‘useless’ things should be and you’re replacing these with positive thoughts. Now you’re much happier because you’re in control of your thoughts and as mentioned before, this allows you to take control of your behavior.
It takes practice to rewire the brain, one of the most amazing things about the brain is that it can’t distinguish between a real event or an imagined one. This can obviously work with you or against you depending on your thoughts. Think abundance thoughts regardless of your situation and you’ll live a happier life filled with success. We can do this by consistently training our thoughts through the 4-step method mentioned earlier and this allows for expansion of the number of branches and synaptic connections in our Hippocampus. The Hippocampus is part of the limbic system, which deals with the functions of feeling and reacting. It is also one of the few places in the brain where new nerve cells are generated. Negative experiences and stress as we know release cortisol and in turn shrinks the Hippocampus area in the brain. This is all bad news for someone who has negative thoughts all the time or even has a negative circle of influence around them.
Some extra tips to keep you from self-sabotage:
Control your environment:
Don’t watch negative news stories, don’t spend time with ‘negative Nancy’s’. Limit time spent in situations where you’ll be exposed to negativity.
Change your language – change the words you use:
Words you use have a very real effect on your brain – we’ve all heard about positive affirmations and how they have a very real impact on your mood and therefore your day. Negative words do the opposite, so next time someone asks you how you’re feeling, even if you’re not feeling great, you need to say you’re feeling great!
Begin and end your day with gratitude:
Some professors have suggested having a gratitude journal that you write every day which is a great activity but I feel that is too much effort for a lot of people but as we now know thoughts and words also have a profound effect on our wellbeing. Think about 3 things you’re grateful for every morning and night, say it out loud. You need to believe it so focus on smaller things in the beginning. The more you practice this the more it will open your eyes to the positivity around you. There really is an abundance of it!
The brain is amazing, genuinely one of the best, most adaptive supercomputers in the world. Think about how when someone becomes blind, their other senses have much higher sensitivity than someone with all of their senses. This is all done by the brain. Take control of your thoughts, every time you feel yourself focusing on something negative change your thoughts straight away. Use the 4-step process above to start living happier, more fulfilling lives.