How are you feeling…and I mean really feeling, when your everyday façade is down, when you’re alone with yourself and no one is around. Do you look at your life and wonder how did I get here, this is not where I want to be, I am not proud of the person I have become, I don’t connect with my friends, the strength of my relationship has faded, my business isn't going so well or I go through my day in a daze of uncertainty, anxiety and stress. I have one word which can change your life forever starting now, Neuroplasticity.
Simply put it means you have the ability to change your brain from the day you’re born until the day you die, yes our brains are not hardwired, you have a conscious choice to create new positive pathways. The scientific truth of the last decade is that we have much more power to shape our reality than we realised due to the brain’s ability to change its physical structure and function through thought, emotion, activity and our environment. The brain can build new pathways across its 100 billion neutrons as it's challenged by new information or a new environment and it can be as easy as choosing a new way to go to work, reading a new book or saying yes to a new experience.
Just as positive influences shape our reality so too do negative ones. Have you actually stopped and thought about how many mainstream negative influences there are in today’s society with the 24/7 feed of information on TV, phone, tablet, radio and print. The undercurrent below conscious awareness continually reinforcing our human frailties, that life is hard, other people should be feared, bad things always happen and attacking our self belief that we are not beautiful enough, not smart enough, not rich enough or not cool enough. We are so programmed and influenced to see the negative in things it's no wonder 1 in 5 Australians have diagnosed mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and there is an undercurrent of hopelessness and low self belief.
If you want to live with a positive growth mindset, to see new things and people as exciting, to see roadblocks as challenges, to embrace yourself for your strengths, to make good decisions, to be the best you can be or to role model optimism and empowerment to your kids, it is within your grasp. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and environment, refuel your mind and body, love yourself again, seek out those who inspire you and be curious. Best part about it is you have already started, as you are reading this new neural pathways in your brain have already fired as you think about the possibilities and what this could mean for you.
Tip 1 Influences – You are being influenced every minute of every day whether you are aware of it or not. Choose to fill your mind with positive influences, listen to uplifting music, read positive books about people who have overcome adversity to reach their goals, choose to interact with positive people, listen to motivational speeches and gain new knowledge through podcasts. Try skipping the news for a whole week and see how that changes your outlook on life, make a list of all the major people influencing you, make a conscious decision to spend more time with those who are positive and give you energy. Try slowing down, load up your senses, actually take in the beauty around us, the taste of good healthy food, the delightful smell of freshly brewed coffee or baked bread, be playful with your kids and delight in their laughter, cut back on appointments and allow yourself to just be.
Tip 2 Birds of a feather – It is necessary that you surround yourself with people who inspire you, who don’t accept limits, are hungry, who challenge themselves, who want more from life, who are still dreaming, are successful and want to grow. Collaborate, share ideas, knowledge and resources, join groups of like minded people, this might be an industry group or something you start yourself. Try targeting inspiring people, leaders of your field, partner with a business coach, someone who can mentor you, elevate your thinking and keep you on track.
Tip 3 Physical Environment – You’re a product of your environment so surround yourself with positive triggers, remove junk food from the cupboards, take all electronics out of the bedroom so you can get a good nights sleep, de-clutter and clean your house, car or work space, add more nature and greenery, put up some artworks, cancel that pay TV subscription, fill your shelves and coffee table with inspiring books. Providing positive environmental triggers will in turn lead to creating positive habits. Spark your creativity and energy levels with a change of scenery, try working outside, hang from an egg chair, run your meetings from a coffee shop, over a round of golf or do a walking catch up.
Tip 4 Create a Positive Habit – Strengthen the new positive pathways in your brain by doing them repeatedly. Try incorporating the change by tweaking your current routine, this will make it easier to introduce, remove optionality and any obstacles that will likely get in the way. Commit to the change and keep at it, habits are forming and strengthened by repetition so don’t get discouraged if you have a few lapses. Team up with a buddy, preferably someone who already role models the habit.