In case you haven’t heard, it turns out that the brain is in fact plastic. This means that the brain constantly creates new neural pathways, actually changing its structure and function. It’s called neuroplasticity. And if you ask us, it’s a pretty big deal! It means that each of us has the power to constructively re-wire our own brains.
Back in the day when our entire species lived in caves, and survival was the name of the game, we needed to be particularly sensitive to dangers, losses, and conflicts, in order to increase our chances of survival. Thus, the brain evolved a negativity bias that to this day constantly scans for bad news, reacts intensely to it, and quickly stores the experience in neural structure. This bias might have helped us get this far in our evolution, but in today’s world, incessant negative thinking only serves to harm us. It is mostly comprised of either ruminating on the past (which you can’t change anyway), or worrying about the future (things which more often than not, never eventuate in the way you had imagined).
So our thought for this week is about becoming aware when our mind is engaged in negative chatter, curiously observing this dialogue without judgement, then coming back to the present moment with three mindful breaths (deep breaths where you observe the air entering your nose, filling up your diaphragm, and flowing out again).
By simply taking notice, it is like we are putting up ‘stop’ signs on these particular neural pathways, weakening these undesirable habitual thought patterns, and harnessing our power to constructively re-wire our own brains.