We were a little delinquent with our blogging last week but for very good reason. On Thursday Dr. Shelly Zavala was giving a presentation about the brain and how we can live intentionally.
I sometimes ask my clients to read the Toltec wisdom book ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz which talks about the illusion of the world and how we can create our own life using four agreements –
- Be impeccable with your word (i.e no gossip about yourself or others)
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
The book has a spiritual stance about it and for some it really resonates and for others not so much, (if you wish to read it for yourself and are local, I have a couple of copies in the coaching lounge you are welcome to borrow).
What is great about Dr. Zavala’s work is that in some ways she talks about very similar concepts yet she shows the neurobiological approach to it all. Neurobiology is the study of cells in our nervous system and the organization of these cells into functional circuits that process information and mediate behavior. Neurons are cells that are specialized to receive, propagate, and transmit electrochemical impulses. In the human brain alone, there are over a hundred billion neurons which communicate with one another via specialized junctions called synapses. The theory is that we create neuron pattern connections constantly based on our own self-talk. If you are consistently thinking or saying negative things, you create a neuron pattern making it very easy for the neuron impulses to travel down through that those negative electrical and chemical pathways creating a habit.
We can also choose to see the world from our Amygdala, which is a very tiny piece of our brain at the rear of our skull, and among other qualities we will be reactive, dislike change, be unable to listen well, be overly emotional, unable to make future plans and unmotivated. Or we can choose to live from our frontal lobe, a much larger part of the brain where we have intentional awareness, clarity, decisiveness, focus, strengthened sense of self and proactiveness. We can see our future, create a plan and stick to it.
We can consciously and intentionally rewire our own brains by choosing what we wish to focus on. We can continue to rerun all our fears and chatter and have our neurons locked in one sequence or we can choose to be more mindful, non judgemental, present, learn by experience, love and accept and wire our brains to live from that point of view. We can interrupt our inner chatter and break up the nerve patterns, habits and associations that have already formed.
If you still doubt this possibility consider this. NASA gave astronauts in training glasses that had convex lenses which turned everything that they saw upside down, to see if it would cause nausea, high blood-pressure and other symptoms. They had to wear the glasses for a few weeks and attempt to function under those conditions. After a period of time, while still wearing the upside down glasses, they started to see things right-side up. Their brains were rewiring, and adjusting to the view. When they removed the glasses everything looked like it was upside down for a few days until their vision flipped again and they could see normally. From this study it was found that it will take approx. 24-30 days to rewire our neurons into alternative patterns, we can choose to live intentionally and positively.
Which part of your brain do you choose and how are you wiring it?
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