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The Power Of Your Mind Means Everything – Start Today

 

Time to get rid of the baggage and reclaim control over your life.

 

We have many habits – we are in the habit of brushing our teeth, taking our shoes off when we walk in the door, giving loved ones a kiss good morning…

 

Some of these habits are good…some not so good.

 

For the brain, habits are a way to complete tasks more easily. The brain is always looking to be efficient and fast. FIlter out the irrelevant to make quick decisions. It is in our nature to do what is easy.

 

There is something very biological about habits.

 

Our neural pathways are strengthened by the things we do repeatedly. Make a dunk shot 10,0000 times and it will become second nature. You will become a master at it. Things negative thoughts, worry….and you will automatically do this. The more you perform it or think it, the more likely it will happen again.

 

These thoughts and actions become automatic and unconscious. We often do not even realize we are doing them or thinking that way.

 

What is important here to realize is that sometimes these things have become ingrained in our brain without us knowing it. Maybe someone criticized you in school, at work or as a child and you avoid certain situations as a result. That avoidance, a habit.

 

But the brain is incredibly flexible and extremely powerful. And guess what? You can control it and you can change it. How? Neuroplasticity.

 

As an occupation therapist one of my favorite people to help are those who experienced a stroke. You know why? Because it is extremely rewarding to see this ability for people to rewire their brain and regain function.

 

Sometimes after a stroke, a person may lose movement in their arm. The brain automatically goes the easy route and compensates by using the other side. Well, studies show that if you force the person to be aware of their weaker side and make them try to use or even visualize using it, their outcomes are better.

 

The first piece in changing the brain is awareness.

 

Realizing that you need to stop one action or thought and try something else. Same thing with a habit. You must first be aware. When you start to worry. Stop and redirect your brain. When you start to automatically go for the chip bag, stop and drink a glass of water.

You need to stop and listen. What is your body telling you. How do you feel? What are your thoughts? What are you doing? Ask yourself these questions. At the end of the day, reflect on what you did and how it made you feel. Start the process of tossing out the things that do not serve you!

 

Mindfulness is the shift to regain control and master your emotions and behaviors.

 

Second is you must repeatedly try, visualize and think about the thing that you want. Like with my stroke patients, we focus on the movement they want. I tell them to do this over and over and over again. As much as they can possibly do it. Why? Because that will create a stronger neural pathway. Even if you do not see results right away, that action will eventually become more automatic.

 

Once you are aware of the thing that you want to change, you need to interrupt and change the thought or behavior. I do this for my patients – When I see that they are not using the weaker side, I may say “Hey, try your other hand”. When I find myself thinking negative thoughts or worrying excessively, I stop and take a deep breath and switch my thinking.  It might take a little longer and feel a little clumsy, but it gets easier and easier the more you practice with intention.

 

This is why writing in a journal is so effective at helping people become more positive, happier. If you practice gratitude daily, if you practice the power of positive thinking, it will become more automatic.

 

Another way to change problematic behaviors is to commit to one small change every day. A change so easy that you have no excuse to not perform. For example, writing 3 things you are grateful for every night before bed, waking up 10 minutes earlier to take a quick walk or commit to doing one push-up or ten squats.

 

Once you replace a habit that does not serve you with one that does, you will build confidence in yourself. The confidence to grow and achieve more. This is the exponential power of the brain!! Start today!



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