We actually have control over our brains. Now, this is powerful s*%t!
Neuroplasticity is one of those amazing phenomena that can change your life. Do you realize that you actually have control over the structure and function of your brain? Existing theories in the cognitive sciences have documented that our brain changes every time we learn something new. Now, given that we have the wherewithal to choose what we want to learn and practice, we essentially have the power to change the structure of our brains in whichever way we’d like. There’s nothing cooler than this!!!
Do you realize the power you have with this idea? In every decision, you are potentially changing the shape and function of your brain. Let’s take an easy example. If you are a smoker and wish to not be, you might engage in some kind of therapy. This therapy may involve vaping (for behavioral substitution) and talk therapy (to understand what smoking brings to you outside of the physical addiction). If you commit to your therapeutic plan, complete your homework, and follow through with your therapeutic strategies, you will essentially be unleashing different neurotransmitters (brain cells) and different hormones. In other words, you will encourage different chemicals to talk to each inside your body instead of those old (smoker) neurotransmitters that have been ruling your behavior for years. The brain will evaluate your body as you practice new habits and actually change. The structure of your brain will be modified to accommodate and facilitate the new set of chemicals that are now communicating inside your body. For the sake of this example, we can call them new and improved anti-smoking neurotransmitters, making you a non-smoker.
Essentially, you can do this with absolutely anything. Think about it. It’s not hard to believe that someone who plays the piano has a space for piano playing in his/her brain. They obtained that cortical space (or brain space) from practicing the piano day-in/day- out for many years. Neuroplasticity says that we can basically do this with ANYTHING! So why not change those bad habits that are no longer serving you? Why not?! You actually have the power to!
How exactly do you go about changing your bad habits so that they actually create positive structural brain changes?
In changing your thoughts and behaviors, you change the chemicals in your body. You essentially MUST PRACTICE a new habit religiously. If you want abs and go to the gym once …no abs for you, sorry. You must go to the gym for at least 3 months to see any difference. The same goes for changes in your brain. You must practice new habits for a few months before feeling that your original urges are actually subduing and changing into what you’ve been practicing.