rewire your brain
the science of rewiring your brain and how you can use it to re-orient your life
Law of Attraction 101
Let's do a quick recap on something called the 'Law of Attraction.' The LOA (this is how you abbreviate it when you pretend you know what's up), states that 'like attracts like' and whatever you think about becomes your reality. Damn. Okay - so that's a pretty intense statement. If you want a true mind f*ck, consider this quote from 'The Secret' (a book and movie that delves into this concept in an arguably cheesy, yet still effective way): 'your physical life is a manifestation of your thoughts.'
"Your physical life is a manifestation of your thoughts."
Does it matter if the thoughts are negative or positive?
No. According to the LOA, the 'Universe' doesn't care nor differentiate when manifesting these thoughts of yours into reality.
Examples of thoughts that could go through one's head:
1. I only date a**holes.
2. All men / women / whomever are liars.
3. Money is hard to get.
4. Life is difficult.
5. I don't deserve ______ (to be happy, to be with 'x', to get this promotion... etc etc)
Can you relate to any of these thoughts? It is worth considering whether you are the victim or perpetrator of your circumstances...
But what about the science...?
While the LOA hasn't been rigorously tested in the lab, the idea that your thoughts have an effect on your life circumstances is definitely something that has been explored in the academic world. Moreover, it is worth taking a step back and reflecting on your thoughts and beliefs because...
One word: Neuroplasticity
Connections in the brain are the result of thoughts: when we learn something, new connections form. In fact, once you’re done reading this article, you brain will have made new connections. The concept that we can rewire our brains based on what we use our brain for has huge implications.
A famous study on London taxi drivers provided an overwhelming amount of evidence for the theory that says we can actually rewire our brains since they are malleable—this concept is referred to as ‘neuroplasticity’.
Brain scans conducted in the study showed that taxi drivers in London were found to have way larger parts of the brain committed to memory (the hippocampus) than the average human being since their job depends on this skill. The drivers had to practice using this part of the brain on a regular basis, so the brain figured out that the region specific to
this action had to be bigger and stronger.
The more you think a certain way, positively or negatively, the stronger these thought channels become. As psychologist Tim Bono pointed out: it is possible for discontent to be a habit, just as much as it is possible for happiness to become a habit. However, strong connections which lead to habits only form when thought patterns are repeated.
That is why when you fall into a rut, it can be extremely difficult to get out of it. Repetitive thinking behavior - negative or positive - results a deeply ingrained habit...which then manifests itself into belief, and ultimately reality.
"It is possible for discontent to be a habit, just as much as it is possible for happiness to become a habit."
Thoughts x Reality
Therefore, the more you practice positive thinking, the stronger the connections between neurons become and the more likely this action will develop into a habit. The less you think negatively, the weaker these connections become and the easier it will be to kick this vice.
An important point to note, however, is the fact is that some people are more likely to think one way or another because of their genetic endowment. But, being mindful of one’s thoughts is the first step towards change.
To summarize, while we cannot change our genetic luck of the draw, we can change how our genes are expressed and therefore our state of happiness depending on the thoughts we practice.
Practice, time, and patience are a crucial part of the equation, too. Wherever you are—you've got this.