The more I learn about neuroplasticity the more excited I get. I’m so fascinated by the fact that we can literary change the pathways of our brain by changing our behavior. We are learning now that our brains are NOT hardwired and incapable of change. The exact opposite is true. Changing the neural pathways in our brain is key to successful change and growth in ourselves. According to Healthtransformer.com “Neural pathways, comprised of neurons connected by dendrites, are created in the brain based on our habits and behaviors. As patients participate in new activities, they are training their brains to create new neural pathways. The pathways get stronger with repetition until the behavior is the new normal.” New normal! That’s what I was shooting for in all the work I was doing on myself. To create a new normal and I knew retraining my brain was necessary to heal and get back to a normal life. To read more about neuroplasticity click here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/taraswart/2018/03/27/the-4-underlying-principles-to-changing-your-brain/#2a72e8e45a71
Day 3’s speaker was Geneen Roth. I highly recommend checking her out if you have not heard of her. You can find her here. http://geneenroth.com Geneen explains that “The neural pathways in our brains were established as early as childhood. The feeling of “I don’t matter” as a child, takes you into adulthood.” Wow. Now, I’m not blaming anyone here, however, I think we ALL have things about our childhood we would like to change. For the most part I had a normal childhood, but there were a few dark chapters and I’m positive those episodes have stuck with me and were never resolved with counseling of any kind. There were some traumatic events between the ages of 14-23 that never were addressed in any way. We all just pushed forward and wanted to (understandably) want to move on and leave all that behind. Sometimes the result was good, but in the end I had all of these things that happen to me that were never addressed properly. That catches up with you. For me it was in the form of panic attacks, excess partying, being reckless, and in my late teens some very risky behavior that put me in situations that I can’t even believe happened when looking back on it. I’ve cheated death and jail more times than I care to admit. (Those stories could be a whole other book!) Eventually, I got my act together, got married and established a wonderful life. But all of that “stuff” was still there. You cannot live through trauma and not have it effect you at some point. I’m not saying this is the root of ALL my issues, because according to my mother, I was an anxious kid. But, I do know that it most likely made an imprint of my nervous system that came out as triggers later on in life.
Geneen says that of course, we can’t change our parents or our childhood. So, what can be done? Well, we know for a fact now and the science tells us, that mediation changes our brains. In addition to that Geneen says to practice the following to create new patterns:
- Come into your body.
This is just being aware of your body. Have you ever done a mindful body scan mediation? I actually think it is the best type of meditation if you are dealing with stress or anxiety in any way.
- Turn toward what seems challenging. Don’t push it away, go deeper. Don’t be frightened of the feelings.
My mantra! Feel the fear and do it anyway!! This just keeps coming up over and over again, everywhere. It’s SO POWERFUL.
- Disengage from blaming in the head. Don’t judge.
Stop the blame game.
- What’s not wrong?
Oh my goodness THIS was a game changer for me!! I already had a gratitude practice, but to actually sit down and ask this question before writing in my journal was huge! What’s not wrong REALLY makes you focus on exactly what you are grateful for! Try it!
This week I suggest trying some of the strategies above in your life. Whether it’s a mindful body scan meditation, a gratitude practice, feeling the fear and doing it anyway or practicing stopping the blame game in your own head, I’d love to hear about it! Thanks for being here!