"Neurons that fire together, wire together"
One new thought or fresh experience can change us neurologically, chemically – and ultimately genetically according to Professor Bruce Lipton in his mind-blowing book The Biology of Belief (2016). Put simply, we largely operate on automatic pilot and so our old ‘wiring and firing’ can either serve us or get in the way of us realising our goals and aspirations.
I used to nod my head in agreement and then unconsciously dismiss Henry Ford’s profound quote until I stumbled across the work of Dr Joe Dispenzer in his incredible book: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to lose your mind and create a new one (2016).
Drawing on neuroscience, Dr Joe Dispenzer explains how we used to think of the mind as an incredible computer and while there may be some similarities, it’s a lot more complex than a ‘hard drive’ receiving new updates. Dr Joe Dispenzer and many others remind us that our brain is approximately 75% water; made up of billions of nerve cells called neurones that are arranged like a gangly, stretchy, elastic oak tree (think Avatar!). These trees have roots and branches that connect and disconnect to other nerve cells. Joe Dispenzer explains that as we think new thoughts, do new things and create new memories, our neurones make new synaptic connections and exchange electrochemical information; serotonin, dopamine, acetocholine are just a few you may have heard of.
What this means is that the more you repeat a new behaviour or thoughts, jungles of those elastic trees of neurones fire in unison to strengthen new connections which in turn support the new thought. We largely operate on automatic pilot and our old ‘wiring and firing’ can get in the way of achieving our goals. Dr Joe Dispenzer proposes that we think around 60-70000 thoughts per day and 90% of those are exactly the same thoughts we had the day before… and the day before that.
We largely operate as creatures of habit; we get out of bed on the same side; repeat daily washing and grooming rituals, order or make our coffee in predictable ways, watch the same TV programs and so on. Each day we function on autopilot, repeating familiar patterns until we fall asleep, wake up and repeat all over again, which is all very well if you are happy, content and comfortable with the rituals you engage your mind and body in. If not - the good news is you are a thought away from everything you desire. Imagine that!
Remember the inspiring words of Mahatma Ghandi:
Let’s draw upon this wisdom and put more energy into what you do want, rather than what you don’t want. And the best place to start that is to recognise and dismiss negative and limiting thoughts that no longer serve us.
As you recognise yourself about to think a limiting belief, replace it with:
For one day keep track of every time you say:
and replace with a more loving response:
Remind yourself everything is temporary; this too will pass.
Practice self-kindness - wear an elastic band around your wrist for a day and flick it as you flip limiting thoughts to kindness, compassion for you.
Pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself ‘how would love respond?’, ‘what would I choose for a best friend?’, or ‘what would love do in this scenario?’
Adopt a mantra for the day: I am no longer limited by past thinking, I choose my thoughts with care, I joyously let go of things that no longer serve me (thank you Louise Hay)
For more ideas and techniques to break the cycle of negative thoughts you can download a copy of my eBook ’10 Simple Steps to Control Anxiety’.
We invite you to be the best version of yourself and we would love to hear how you are breaking the cycle of negative self-talk. If you have additional questions or want to understand how to ‘re-set’ your mind and body to a calmer, lighter and more energised place, please give us a call.