Knowing that we have something like 70,000 thoughts a day, would you be surprised to learn that 90% of these thoughts are exactly the same as the day before? There are thought patterns that become hardwired into our minds, patterns that eventually become fixed, and reinforce the way we look at the world, over and over again.
In neuroscience there is a common principle that says, “nerve cells that fire together, connect together.” In other words, repeatedly thinking and acting the same way over and over again will mold your mind into a specific pattern. The theory tells us that our brains organize themselves according to our environment. This means that every experience we have ever had, the people we know and the places we have lived in, the actions and behaviors we have taken throughout our lives come together to be imprinted and configured in the plastic tissues of the brain.
In general, people go through their lives thinking and behaving in these memorized ways. It is automatic, especially if we usually always repeat the same daily routines.
Think about it – do you wake up at almost the same time every morning? Take a shower, dress in the same clothes and make yourself look the way that is expected of you? Do you usually eat the same breakfast and then get in your car or take public transport to work, where you spend the day with the same people, which makes you feel the same day after day? When you spend your life repeating these ways of being a boss that are so familiar to you, you basically stay the same. Your mind operates along its well-worn paths and does not allow anything new to happen.
So many of us are connected to the same thoughts, actions and feelings but we are secretly hoping that something different will appear in our lives. If you want change, you have to think and act in different ways. You have to think beyond your usual circumstances and environment.
Reprogramming the brain
To change your life, you have to change the way you perceive yourself. Think of it as literally reprogramming the circuits in your brain. It is important to recognize that changing those hardwired patterns requires some effort. We become addicted to the way we think on a chemical, emotional and physical level.
When we were living in a state of anxiety, depression, fear, shame, guilt, anger or any kind of low energy emotion, we were boosting stress hormones. Unlike animals, we humans can turn on our fight or flight response through thought alone, meaning there doesn’t need to be an actual threat to us to activate our stress hormones which would be present if we were actually in physical danger.
Addiction to stress
When you repeatedly turn on your stress hormones, your body is thrown out of balance by going into emergency mode and staying there. When animals are in danger, they react in the moment and then turn off that stress response, once the danger has passed. As humans, we have the ability to make thoughts so real that our body believes it is experiencing something physical. The cumulative effect of this is unfortunately, disease. Our bodies become so unbalanced that disease is actually created in our cells.
Those hormones that we turn on in response to our anxious thoughts, give our minds and bodies a chemical rush. We become like drug addicts, using the conditions and problems we have faced to reaffirm who we think we are.
For example, if you have experienced things in life that have made you feel insecure and unworthy, you have conditioned yourself towards insecurity. Those negative feelings are more familiar to you than feelings of confidence, happiness and worthiness. In order for your body to continue to have its known rush of chemicals, your mind will repeat those thoughts. You have been thinking about them for years in many cases, they have literally been hardwired into your system!
This is why when you begin to change your way of thinking through forced effort, it can be difficult to sustain. You can’t just suddenly start thinking completely different from how you did yesterday, days, months and years of negative thinking take time to remove. Your mind can essentially ‘pop’ with the new thoughts you are introducing that are literally chemically different from your usual negative subconscious. Your mind and physical body will react to them differently.
How to change your old thought patterns
Positive thinking will strengthen and turn on different neural pathways, but it needs regular repetition to be effective. You have to make the decision to make new choices that lead to new behaviors and new emotions that inspire new thoughts that in turn change the plasticity of the brain.
When you decide to focus instead on who you want to be, the best ideal version of yourself, you will recall all those old emotions that keep you stuck in the past. This is where meditation comes in and your feeling towards a new self. It is not enough to think your way to a new reality. You have to feel your way there. You can do this by meditating and focusing on the gratitude you already feel for the new life you are creating.
Create a new image of yourself in your mind, by quieting your mind and meditating to go beyond thinking. When you do this, there comes a point when your brain cannot tell the difference between the thoughts you are having about your new imagined reality and what is actually real in your life. Just like stress hormones, your body will react to reflect what your brain perceives.
If you are thinking intentionally about what you want your life to look like, you will create changes in your mind to reflect that. Changing your mind will change your mind, which will change your experience of life.
Repetition is crucial to success. Like learning something new, an instrument, language, sport; the connections in the brain need consistent repetition over time in order to stay lit in new ways.
We have been conditioned to think that we have to see change before we can believe change. The opposite is true. Rich people don’t feel lack, they feel rich. Happy people feel happy and healthy people feel healthy.
What kind of person do you feel like every morning?
Make a conscious effort to feel yourself and your life the way you want them to be. Ask yourself, what is the greatest expression of myself that I can be today? Can I show love and patience? Can I express energy, joy and enthusiasm? How do I want to walk in my world today?
Change the way you think and feel and see how a new version of yourself is broadcast to the world, changing who you are. The most beautiful thing is that we all have the ability to transform our lives. We just have to learn how to access new thought processes. You must stop anticipating your life based on past experiences and learn to embrace a new vision of yourself. When you start each day with that intention, you are conditioning your body to work in harmony with these thoughts and your life will flow. People will start reacting to you differently, noticing that your energy has changed. Everything will change.
There are many examples of people who have had incredible transformations through meditation and the creation of new thought processes. One of the best ways to start is to shake up your routine. Doing something different from the norm helps to break patterns.
Ingrid came from an abusive and traumatic background, which caused her to be angry and unhappy most of the time with many violent relationships and negative experiences. When she started focusing on her dreams of freedom and creating her days intentionally, she saw incredible results. She created a happy marriage, financial freedom and taught herself that she could manifest everything she wanted in her life, even though she hit rock bottom. She did all this with the power of her mind and her firm belief and trust in the universe to be able to deliver.
You can literally have the life you dream of, there are no exceptions, and everyone is capable of manifesting their desires.
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