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Overthinkers: This Is for You! 3 Ways to Shift Your Neural Pathways

Do you spend so much time living in your head that your brain is thinking about charging you rent? Does life sometimes make you feel like a deer stuck in headlights, frozen and unable to move? Are the phrases, “I can’t,” “That’s not possible,” or “There’s no point” part of your everyday, internal dialogue?

You’re not neurotic. It’s your neural pathways creating default patterns in your brain. Keep reading to learn three ways to shift your mindset so that you can literally step into the person you are destined to be!
 

 
 

How Neural Pathways Work: It’s All In Your Head

Our brains are tricky. They mean well and want to protect us, but oftentimes they can get stuck on a negative loop pattern which then reinforces and rewards behaviors that keep us there-consciously or subconsciously.

For example, if you are constantly stressed out about what to do, what to say, what to wear, how to act, what people will think of you, what will happen, etc, then your brain is going to physically rewire itself through neural pathways.

Neural pathways get stronger the more you reinforce them by repeating certain thoughts, habits or behaviors.
 

The same way any negative pathways are created in the first place is the same way they can also be rewired.

 
In other words, you constantly being stressed about stress sends a huge signal to your brain that you are working too hard to maintain this level of stress and your brain wants to relieve you from that duty.

Therefore your brain lessens your burden by creating a default pathway to the state of stress for you! You no longer have to think about the stress, or induce the stress, because you will now just exist in a perpetual state of stress.

Every situation in your life will now automatically run through the filter of that neural pathway to light up the stress center in your brain as if it won a prize! And since your brain is not able to filter what is good vs. detrimental for you, it will say, “You’re Welcome.”

Luckily, the inverse is also true. You can just as easily train those neural pathways to default to positive, empowered thinking . . .

These 4 Brain Hacks Will Help You Manage and Relieve Stress Now
 
 

Neuroplasticity and Brain Power

The way we think affects our existence and quite literally our reality. The more we give attention to ideas or thoughts that make us feel anxious, overwhelmed or stuck, then the more we are reinforcing those types of pathways in our brains and thus attracting situations in our life that will continue to uphold that story.

In other words, every time you think about something, your brain’s neurons are coming together in a very specific pattern – like a string of lights – looking for similar thoughts, feelings or experiences to keep them lit up!
 

Neural pathways get stronger the more you reinforce them by repeating certain thoughts, habits or behaviors.

 
The good news is that the same way any negative pathways can be created in the first place is the same way they can also be rewired to light a new, positive path! It has the ability to adapt with new experiences. This is due to a scientific idea known as neuroplasticity.

Depending on the thought you have, and then the action you take, you can either break a brain cycle or recycle the same, negative patterns your neurons are used to!

You can choose to let each thought you have contribute to the feeling of losing your mind, or you can become more mindful with every thought to bring you closer to the person you want to be.

Optimism and positivity can be your new mental default! The power for this to happen is in your your brain!
 
 

Try These 3 Exercises to Retrain Your Neural Pathways:

The most important mental note you can make from this article is that you can retrain your brain. Here are three exercises intended to give you a head start on creating new pathways and healthier brain patterns.
 

1. Do It a Lot and Do It Often

Consistency and repetition are key to building new neural pathways. Each time you behave intentionally or practice a meaningful task, your neural pathways are reinforced and become stronger.

Think of it like forming a new habit. A habit is typically something that you do with little to no effort because you’ve done it a million times before, you practiced it alot and consistently!

Repetitive action creates strong pathways in the brain for that specific habit, which is why that habit eventually becomes “mindless” or more automatic. It’s important to remember though, as with all habits and the process of building new neural pathways, you won’t see results without consistent effort.

Repetitive thoughts lead to samskaras. Intrigued? Read: What Are Samskaras? Learn How They Impact Your Brain
 

 
 

2. Feel Sensational

Associating a new behavior to different areas of your brain can help develop new neural pathways. One way to do this is to mindfully tap into all five senses.

For example, the next time you are staring at a beautiful field of flowers or taking the first sip of your beloved coffee ask yourself, “What do I see, feel, smell, taste?”
 

Optimism and positivity can be your new mental default!

 
The more you can anchor in the present moment and allow yourself to be immersed in the sensory experience, the more apt your brain is to start forging a new feel good pathway. This is because we are much more likely to make changes when our new behaviors are associated with positive emotions.

So couple this exercise with step #1 and watch how something as simple as each new cup of coffee will have you percolating with sheer joy!

Life Hack: Follow These 5 Steps to Be More Present In Your Daily Life
 

3. Interrupt Yourself

Consciously making a new choice can interrupt the automatic process of the already reinforced pathways during their firing sequence. Metaphorically, you can stop that string of lights from lighting up any further!

For example, if stress is a pathway that’s been ingrained in your brain for your entire life and you start to feel your cortisol level rising, take a moment to disrupt the pathway’s progress by taking a deep breath, or remembering a time in your life when stress actually led to a positive outcome, or by doing anything that makes you feel good.
 

Each time you behave intentionally or practice a meaningful task, your neural pathways are reinforced and become stronger.

 
This disruption will help re-route the thought process down a new, more positive path that will happily wait for the next experience it can use to reaffirm it!
 
 

Mind Your Mind to Retrain Your Neural Pathways

The next time you might feel like you’re running in circles, try walking in a straight line. The next time you can’t see an answer clearly in your mind’s eye, close your physical eyes and visualize hearing, sensing, smelling or tasting the answers you seek.

The next time you feel stuck inside your head emotionally, actually go outside. These are some symbolic exercises that compliment the three steps above in helping you retrain your neural pathways to create new, positive thoughts, emotions, and then behaviors.

The more you practice these simple suggestions, you’ll notice your mindset will go from “not this sh!t again” to “it’s this shift again!”

Samskaras Can Change Your Brain for the Better: Here’s How

Perspective is everything. Because even when it feels like you are taking three steps forward, and then one step backwards, you always have the power of choice.

You can choose to keep your perspective on “falling behind”, or “having a misstep.” Or you can choose to keep your perspective on the fact that you’re still moving and that you’re still a step ahead of where you started. Literally though.

Try it.

Stand up, take a mental note of your starting point and bonus if you place a physical marker on the floor to really drive the point home. Take three steps forward. Take one step backwards.

Now look behind at your starting point. You’ll get an instant hit of dopamine when you can actually see your progress. Even though you may not be where you want to be, you still aren’t standing where you’ve already been.
 
 

Neural Pathways: It’s a No-Brainer Approach to Empowering Your Mindset

It’s a no-brainer that positive thoughts and actions make us feel happier. What may not have been a no-brainer is that it does take a conscious effort to retrain our neural pathways to be able to think this way effortlessly.
 

Perspective is everything. Because even when it feels like you are taking three steps forward, and then one step backwards, you always have the power of choice.

 
What we have learned is that when you repeatedly align your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions then you will undoubtedly experience positive changes in your brain and in your life. You can be the mastermind of your actual mind!

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Abbey Acevedo

Abbey Acevedo is a Youtube motivational speaker, audiobook narrator, poet, caffeine junkie, student of life, and lover of all things related to self and soul development. By harnessing her natural superpowers - her voice and words - Abbey is lighting the way for those on their way to the light!

iamabbey.com

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