Whatever you do, think, feel or pay attention to, changes the structure of your brain. This is called Neuroplasticity. And as it’s from the brain that all actions, emotions and bodily functions spring from, Neuroplasticity is a key factor in the Mind and Body connection.
Neuroplasticity is the 'muscle building' part of the brain. The things we do often we become stronger and better at. It creates a pattern, a neural pathway in your brain. That is the physical basis of why making a thought, feeling or action over and over again increases its power. Over time, it becomes automatic, a pattern. We literally become what we think, feel and do.
Our brain is constantly shaped by our experience. With every repetition of a thought, act or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes, frequently enough repeated lead to changes in our brain.
Neuroplasticity is at work throughout life. Connections within the brain are constantly becoming stronger or weaker, depending on what is being used. Younger people change easily as their brains are very plastic. As we age change doesn't come as easily. The brain loses some of its plasticity and we become more fixed in how we think, learn, and perceive.
According to recent research we only need 21 to 30 days to consciously repeat a specific thought, action or emotion for the brain to create a new neural pathway, a new pattern. All you have to do is become aware of your limiting pattern(s) and replace this repeatedly for 21 to 30 days with the new empowering pattern you want instead. Here mindfulness comes in. As mindfulness or in other words, attention training is the way to train your brain to happiness. More on that in other blogs.
Since the brain is pivotal to all we think and do, by harnessing neuroplasticity we can improve everything we do, feel and think. By using our mind-body connection in a positive way, we can keep stress levels lower by becoming aware of what we think and feel. In other words, the better we are able to cope by staying calm and reducing psychological stress, we will in-turn reduce physical stress, along with the chance of developing a disease.
One of my recent personal examples of neuroplasticity is that I throughout my life created a sleeping habit of believing I always need a good bed to sleep (because of my lower back issue), privacy and I only fall asleep after reading a good book or watching a no brain series. So for me, no camping and a lousy bed always affected my sleep and my lower back.
The moment I decided to go to a course in India this year. Knowing I had to sleep in a dormitory with “crappy” beds, I started my 21 day training. Every day I went to bed, programming myself by thinking I could do this. Cold turkey, no book, no TV series, lie down and sleep. And really after 21 days I easily fell asleep.
Arriving in India, seeing the dormitory, to me was a shock. The filthiest beds and matrasses I’ve ever seen in my life and no privacy at all. So this was my real test. And guess what? Ok, after the first night adjusting to the environment, I really slept well for the 16 days I was there. And even my lower back was doing fine.
I hope you feel inspired and motivated enough to create any desired pattern that makes yoy happy in your life. As it takes only 21 to 30 days to create a new neural pathway, pattern. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re absolutely right. So what do you believe? And what do you create? And if you need help, all you have to do is ask for it here.
Be Happy. Be Bright. Be You!