Until fairly recently, scientists believed that the human brain was “hardwired” and did not have the capacity to change. We simply had to make do with the brain we were born with.
Today, neuroscientists have made a groundbreaking discovery – we can actually change the way our brain’s neurotransmitters function, and over time, “rewire” our brain.
The scientific term for brain rewiring is “Neuroplasticity”,, which means training the brain to learn and retain new methods of functioning. As you can imagine, the potential benefits are immense.
We can train our brains to focus, become more creative, or better retain learning for higher academic achievement. We can break bad habits and even overcome addictions such as smoking and eating disorders. We can train our brains to be more alert and productive.
Neuroplasticity is currently used in several fields of psychotherapy not only to cure addiction but to alleviate depression, anxiety and stress-related disorders. In fact, current studies are exploring the power of neuroplasticity for healing physical and mental diseases.
And here’s the good news: Anybody can rewire their brain!
How does brain rewiring work?
Think of your brain as a motherboard or hard drive of a computer. Every time we feel, think, or act, millions of circuits are fired up, and signals travel through these circuits to trigger specific responses.
- Our habits, good or bad, are circuits that have been used so often that they have forged deep “neural pathways”. in our brain. Neural pathways are also formed by our beliefs, our way of thinking and the way we do certain things.
- Your brain is constantly learning and adapting as you process new thoughts, experiences and emotions.
- If certain thoughts trigger certain behaviors are repeated, over time, a neural pathway is created in your brain.
- A neural pathway is a strong connection between a though and the resulting behavior. For example, when you’ve had a tough day and are feeling sorry for yourself, you turn to food for consolation. When you repeat this behavior often enough, your brain will associate you feeling bad or depressed with eating. A new neural pathway is then created This behavior can over time develop into binge eating – you have taught your brain to do this.
- Neuroplasticity can work the opposite way as well. Changing your beliefs can change your behavior and reaction to certain triggers.
- When you simply become mindful of your thoughts and reactions, you can choose to act or not act on them, and to either eradicate old neural pathways or create new ones.
- Neural pathways for positive behavior can be created through changes in your behavior and even your environment.
- There is no danger in rewiring your brain as often as you choose. Our brains love learning new things and are extremely flexible.
- Rewiring your brain is not an overnight process. It requires a high degree of mindfulness and awareness. In time, the new neural pathway will replace the old one.
- Neural pathways for beliefs and habits formed in childhood will take longer to change than more recent ones.
Every single person has the ability to rewire their brain and improve their life. In fact, we do it all the time when we learn a new skill or study a new topic
Rewiring your brain is as easy as thinking, talking or doing something differently. It’s as simple as training your brain to create a new pathway. You can literally change negative beliefs, painful emotions and harmful habits to create lifelong change – and change your life!