We might think we can’t change easily. Can your brain really change? The surprising news is that your brain is changing constantly. Even though your brain is actually a physical structure it changes based on how you think, feel, what type of behaviors, actions you choose, or what you choose to eat. As you think and feel, you generate quantum energy waves throughout your brain and your brain responds chemically and electromagnetically.
Our brain changes a lot throughout our lifetime without our conscious impact. However, we can take control of that process. We have the ability to point those changes in the right direction, in our favor. If we are dealing with anxieties, emotional trauma, we can restructure our brain and move that change in a positive direction.
Caroline Leaf, Ph.D., pathologist, and cognitive neuroscientist said:
“Plasticity happens whether you like it or not, so it helps to be in control of the process.”
How do you take control over changes in the brain? All that you need to do is be a little more mindful. Leaf has a five-step process on how you can change your brain in your favor.
First Step – Be Aware
You can become more aware through breathwork or meditation, mindful eating, or exercise. Be aware of your thoughts or how you feel. If you are anxious become aware of those signals. Pay attention to how you feel.
Second Step – Reflect
Ask yourself tough questions. Become focused on what are you trying to do differently and how can you achieve that. Reflect on any unconscious thoughts that you are aware of now. This is not an easy process. Often, we push back things that are difficult to handle. You need to gather your thoughts, be aware, and reflect on how you feel.
Third Step – Write it Down
The first two steps have a lot of heavy lifting. When you are ready for step three, grab a pen, and write everything down. Writing things down helps a lot, and science has proved this over and over again. When you write things down you activate your brain. When you are writing down your thoughts and feelings you achieve cognitive fluency, and you latterly get things out of your head onto the paper.
This is especially crucial if you are dealing with anxiety. If you are not writing things down you might push them to the side again. It’s not always comfortable to write things down, you might release those thoughts from your mind and you can feel very uncomfortable with your thoughts and feelings. However, if you want to change something you must acknowledge that changes have to be made in the first place. Or that something is wrong and needs changing which is completely fine.
Step Four – Re-conceptualize
Reframe new and positive thoughts into mindsets. If your emotions are taking a toll of you, reframe how you feel and what is behind your emotions. Build resilience. You should be in control of your emotions and thoughts to avoid being overwhelmed with emotions.
Step Five – Active Reach
Take what you wrote down and what you re-conceptualized, and find actions that you can take to discover how you can act the next time. Maybe you decide to stay calm and mindful when facing a difficult situation. Or maybe you have your own mantra that you repeat to yourself when you are anxious or angry at someone. Find out what works for you and practice it daily.
This process is not something that can be completed in a day with visible results. Changing the way we think, feel, and changing your brain takes time and requires some commitment. Scientists believe that it takes 63 days for neuroplasticity to occur.
Caroline Leaf, Ph. D explained:
“It takes 21 days to break down your thoughts and start the building process, but real neuroplasticity happens after 63 days.”
Be patient and remember although changing your brain is possible, it’s not easy.