The Brain is not Hardwired
Thanks to advances in neuroscience it is now known that the brain is not hardwired as was thought in the past. Instead it has been revealed that the brain is adaptable to change and what changes the brain is you and the experiences you feed it. Whether those experiences are revealed by a mood, a habit or physical activity you can rewire your own brain. If you want to change your life for the better then it is time for you to take action and change your brain.
There are many ways to input information to the brain and the complexity of this 3-lbs of grey matter is shown beyond doubt if you consider it takes a person approximately 14 years training to qualify as a neurosurgeon. However that level of involvement is not necessary for the type of changes suggested in this article. Instead you are going to be given some simple tools to help change your brain so that it functions at the level that you want it to, without the limitations you may have placed on it through your previous way of living. The brain is not hardwired and because of that you have a chance to change.
Tool No 1 – Let go of old beliefs
Let go of your preconception about the brain and know that the brain is quite plastic and maleable. Your genes DO NOT dictate your thoughts, emotions and behaviour – so you do not have to end up like your parents. The research being done in neuroscience shows that the brain can be modified by life experiences and that new brain cells are regularly formed and that the brain is in a constant state of change, even in old age. Although your genes may indicate your potentials, they do not dictate your life.
Tool 2 – Use it or lose it
The brain is not hardwired and you can rewire the brain through repetition of thought or movement. If you wanted to be a good tennis player you would spend many hours practicing the sport. The brain is no different, repetition feeds the brain and is the way to develop new brain-habits. If you find you keep having irrational fearful thoughts, then find a way to replace the anxious thought with a positive one. This method may be as simple as using a positive affirmation or a single positive word to replace the negative thought. If you get into the habit of stopping irrational fearful or negative thinking immediately and instead replace the negative with positive – you will be building up a good practice routine that reinforces positive thinking over negative.
About the Brain
The brain has billions of neurons that are waiting to be used. These neutrons are little cells that transmit nerve impulses and they are constantly working together forming new connections. As you learn new things these connections change . The neurons chemically communicate with each other through a structure called a synapse. These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters which is the result of one neutron getting another neuron to fire up so they can work together. The resultant feeling may be that of excitement or the opposite, it just depends on what is being chemically fed to the neurotransmitters. There are many neurotransmitters in the brain and the synapse comes in all shapes and sizes which will change as you learn something new proving that the brain is not hardwired.
There are a couple of neurotransmitters which are the main workhorse of the brain:
- Glutamate – Which incites activity and enhances excitement levels.
- Gamma-Aminobutryic acid (GABA) – which inhibits and lessens down activity.
- GABA is used in drugs like Valium which is used for people who are very anxious.
There are scores of other neurotransmitters that have very important roles to play in your brain. However as becoming a neurosurgeon is not our aim the above simplified explanation about the brain will have to suffice.
The brief explanation was mentioned to indicate how the brain operates – at a very simple level. It also indicates that the way you think and how you’ve your life is based on what you feed the brain and what neurotransmitters get used the most. The more you do something, the more likely you are to do it again in the future. If you constantly allow your thoughts to be fearful you will eventually be dominated by fear. If you do the opposite and instead of supporting a fearful or negative thought you replace it with a powerful affirmation or positive thought – then over time you will get rid of your negativity and fear and instead become more positive.
You are what you think because the brain will keep triggering the neurotransmitters that are used the most often. If you want to become an expert in fear and anxiety then keep practicing with those thoughts. If instead you want to become courageous and a warrior, then change your training program and start practicing more with powerful and positive thoughts. It is that simple.
Tool 3 – Think Positive
These two simple words are probably the hardest thing to maintain over a long period of time. However knowing what you do about the neurotransmitters you have to at least make the effort. In the beginning it will be quite difficult as the old habitual neurotransmitters will still be in control. As you try and think positive a negative thought will enter your mind – but persevere. If you gave up tennis after the 1st day of practice you would never become any good at the game. Use will-power, concentration and persevere with the Game of Thought as you actively choose to rewire your brain to change your life for the better.
There is a lot you can do to change your brain but in the beginning keep it simple and manageable. If you can persevere with the above 3-Tools that will be a good start.
The Brain is not Hardwired
About Liz McCaughey
If you are unable to travel to Liz’s practice, there is an online portal where Skype appointments can be arranged.
Liz has recently opened her new business aMindset in Hong Kong. aMindset is a comprehensive mental health resource that incorporates Psychotherapy, Counselling, Mentoring and Workshops. Liz originally founded the company “Kumara“ in Perth, Western Australia in 2003. This company is affiliated with aMindset and you can read more about Kumara in the website KumaraHub.