Can your mind can change your brain? The answer is absolutely yes! Learning to do this, and engage your neuroplasticity, is the second step of my coaching program.
First, it is vital to identify your belief structures. It took me a long time to recognize the power of this in my own life and just how much it was in control. Belief structures make up the invisible filter through which we interpret and see the world, and each and everyone one of us has our own unique structure that has been built up from the day we were born. It’s our “truth about the world.”
It’s important to note that it’s OUR truth, and isn’t necessarily THE truth about the world. Over our lives we’ve created belief structures that served and supported us at one time. However, as we grow and evolve they become limiting and even damaging. The reason this is step number two is that you must first get clear on your own belief structures before you are able to change them at all. Moving them into conscious awareness is the first step to their transformation.
Beliefs in and of themselves are not bad things; beliefs can be very supportive, however they can also be very limiting. It’s the limiting ones we need to identify so we can begin releasing them, and ourselves, into far more expansive and fulfilling experiences.
One of the most exciting aspects of doing this work is that you are literally changing your physiology. Beliefs, habits, and old ways of perceiving the world are not just invisible ideas made up in the mind, they are imprinted patterns that literally exist in your physiology. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because once we learn something, it tends to stay with us – we don’t have to think about how to tie our shoes, drive a car, brush our teeth, or any number of things we do each and every day. We have imprinted our physiology to automatically do these things.
However, the “bad” old habits and beliefs that no longer serve us run on automatic, too! And it’s these old patterns, habits, and beliefs we want to transform and evolve beyond. These are the parts of ourselves that are now holding us back from the freedom, success, love, happiness, and power we desire.
“The number one reason people don’t achieve or hold on to new success, is they haven’t released old issues.” – Lisa Nichols, Best Selling Author, Coach and Speaker
Science is now discovering “How the Brain Rewires Itself.” An excellent article by that title ran in “Time Magazine” on January 19, 2007, summarizing and highlighting some of the most important studies in this arena. Amazingly, these studies reveal “mental training has the ability to change the physical structure of the brain.” And these aren’t fringe, quack scientists performing this work. These studies are being done by neuroscientists at leading institutions like Harvard Medical School, The University of California San Diego, The University of California Los Angeles, The University of Toronto, and The University of Wisconsin at Madison.
These studies reveal how “The brain can change as a result of the thoughts we think… something as seemingly insubstantial as a thought can affect the stuff of the brain, altering neuronal connections in a way that can treat mental illness, or perhaps lead to a greater capacity for empathy and compassion. It may even dial up the supposedly happiness set point.” The researchers are calling this newly discovered capacity of the brain “neuroplasticity.”
Why is all this so important? Because this new information tells us that by practicing desired (chosen) thoughts, feelings, and actions, we can literally rewire ourselves to experience (and create) the world as we now desire. Through “self directed neuroplasticity, the mind can change the brain.” We are not, as was long believed, prisoners of our DNA, genetics, or childhood conditioning. While it will take some discipline and it will occur over time, it’s exciting to know you have a choice! You can literally change your physiology and sculpt your experience of reality.
Identifying your belief structures and learning to consciously cultivate your thoughts, and therefore your experience, is a key piece of my coaching system.
Watch your thoughts very carefully. Choose a day to consciously watch and track your thoughts by carrying a small notebook with you through the day. At multiple times throughout the day – maybe every hour or so – write down the “nature” of your thoughts. Have they been mostly positive and creative, negative and destructive, or more neutral? Celebrate and reinforce the positive creative thoughts you are having, and question the more negative and destructive thoughts. Ask yourself “are they true?” And if your answer is yes, ask yourself can you absolutely know they are true? More often than not, you cannot ABSOLUTELY know they are true. There is almost always the chance that the negative thoughts are not true. Remember, life is dynamic, and what was once true, may no longer be!
In this manner you can begin to loosen the grip of the more negative thought patterns and open up to more creative thinking, positive experiences, and good mojo!