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How Samskaras Change Your Brain + Change Your Life For the Better

Jillian Halliday
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“Live mindfully.”
 
This is a mantra you hear regularly in the yoga community, but have you ever wondered why practicing this mindfulness is so important?
 
Being fully aware and mindful is what guides us in creating positive samskaras for ourselves.
 
Just as a river eventually weaves grooves through the rocks it passes over, so too do our thoughts weave grooves in our brains. Over time, repetitive thoughts weave grooves in our brains, making it easier for our minds to follow this established path over creating a new path. These grooves are called samskaras.
 
Good or bad, our thoughts are always creating grooves in our brain, and our thoughts are actively creating our reality.
 
So the question becomes, are we using our thoughts to create the reality we seek, or are our thoughts not serving our highest potential?
 

How Samskaras Work in Our Brains

Samskaras are the impressions created in our minds and thoughts by our actions. When an action is first performed, it is usually done with full awareness, through which said action will create a strong impression on our mind.
 
When these actions are repeated on a continual basis, they become a habit and tend to be performed more mindlessly opposed to mindfully. The stronger these habits become, the less power we have over our minds the next time these actions are executed.
 

Are we using our thoughts to create the reality we seek, or are our thoughts not serving our highest potential?

 
These habits, or samskaras, then begin to play a huge role in our personalities: motivating our thoughts, communication, actions, and even how we view the world. And these samskaras can take the form of being either negative or positive.
 

The Impact of Negative Samskaras

Negative samskaras are created when we choose to partake in negative behavior, whether it’s being judgmental, mean or hurtful thoughts or words to yourself or others, or simply being rude. The more often you consciously use these actions, the more often your mind will subconsciously revert to these actions.
 
The result? Negativity will ultimately take over, appearing so often within your personality that you won’t even realize it’s happening.
 

What About Positive Samskaras?

On the other side, positive samskaras are created when we choose to partake in good deeds such as showing others love, being kind and compassionate, or practicing acceptance. The more you do these things, the more likely they are to become a positive habit, or positive samskara.
 
Eventually you will do them without even realizing that they’re being done. Our minds are filled with both of these positive and negative samskaras, but the ultimate goal is to learn how to strengthen the good ones and eliminate the bad ones.
 
The art of exchanging our negative samskaras for positive ones can be as drastic or as subtle as you choose. It can be something big like moving to a new city, surrounding yourself with different people, or choosing a new career path; or something small such as creating a different morning routine, going to a new yoga class, or taking a different route on your daily commute to work.
 

 

 

4 Reasons Why Positive Samskaras Are So Important

Why is it so important for you to promote these positive samskaras? How can living less out of habit and more out of intent help you to grow as a person?
 
 

1. Positive samskaras will force you to step out of your comfort zone.

For example, if you’ve ever found yourself saying no to fun opportunities before even knowing whether you could attend them or not, odds are you’ve created a negative samskara. Out of habit, you immediately answered no, perhaps because you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or just too busy.
 
Work on eliminating this negative samskara and instead turning it into a positive one. For your next invite, think mindfully, and make a habit of being more open to new opportunities. By exiting your comfort zone and choosing to view situations from a different perspective, you will find yourself becoming better rounded and more at ease when new opportunities arise.
 
 

2. Positive samskaras keep life fun and interesting.

You will begin to rely less on stagnant routine that quickly becomes exhausting and stressful, and in its place begin to rely more on the importance of switching things up. Use this opportunity to dump your monotonous routines and turn them into positive samskaras.
 
For example, instead of mindlessly hopping out of bed and cringing at the day ahead, make a habit of thinking positive thoughts about the day you’re about to tackle (i.e. visualizing how well you’ll do in that presentation, finding gratitude for a beautiful sunrise, or simply smiling and taking a deep breath before getting out of bed).
 
 

3. Positive samskaras open your mind.

. . . to new experiences, perspectives, and ideas. Keeping an open mind will help you accept others and withhold judgement, creating an all-around more humble and positive life outlook and vibration.
 
An example would be jumping to inappropriate conclusions of others based on their appearance. If this is something you commonly do, you most likely do so mindlessly and habitually (a negative samskara). Recognize this weakness of yours, and practice turning it into a positive by correcting yourself every time you notice that judgmental tendency. Eventually, you will begin be more accepting of others without even realizing that you’re doing it.
 
 

4. Positive samskaras will guide you in discovering yourself.

The things you love, and the things you enjoy doing, and the things that ignite your spirit are all going to become clearer than ever. This newfound mindfulness of altering your samskaras will motivate you to push yourself towards promising self-transformation, which will continue to help you grow. You will develop a great sense of self and independence that will fuel the idea that you’re capable of doing anything you choose.
 
 
We all have habits and ways of thinking that don’t serve us. Understanding the concept of samskaras is a great way to recognize and begin to break free of these negative tendencies. Once we discover the samskaras that are already in place, we can begin to work through them and transform them for the better.
 
Our minds are incredibly powerful – shouldn’t we use that power to improve our mindstate, empower our thoughts, and change our reality?
 

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Jillian Halliday

Jillian is a Business Administration and Management Graduate with a passion for all things health and wellness. Growing up, she learned natural and holistic ways for overall health and healing and has since continued to incorporate these practices into her everyday life. She’s an exercise junkie, book worm, creative writer, and yoga enthusiast.

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