From one EX ‘over-burdened, stressed out perfectionist’ to another, there is a scientific explanation for your reactive behavior. There is also a W.A.Y to navigate around it and this is how…
Your brain is biologically designed to react against ‘bad news,’ or things you DON’T WANT. Like, I don’t want to be stuck in traffic. I don’t want to talk to my mother-in-law. I don’t want to run out of gas. All these ‘don’t wants’ cause us to feel everything from annoyed, ticked, bothered and frustrated. When this happens a part of your brain experiences this as a threat and is programmed to react. That reaction can look like anything from lashing out, avoiding the problem or pretending there is no issue when you know there is.
This is how your brain is hard-wired. After using these strategies, you then tell yourself that you should’ve done things better, differently. I know because I told myself the same thing. Then I got sick of my behavior and the guilt and exhaustion it was bringing me. This pattern is a common thread in those of us with high expectations for our lives and families. I wanted change.
After years of watching my pattern of behavior, listening to thousands of clients, hearing and seeing the same thing, I had to ask the question: Why in spite of wanting change and knowing the information on WHAT change we wanted …why didn’t we??? No amount of will power and wanting did it. What was missing? I searched the research. I found the link. It’s our brain! To my surprise and then great relief, the research showed that these behavior patterns are neuro-biological. They are here to protect us, but now they harm us. Good news! There is a W.A.Y. around these patterns. Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful word that changed my life many years ago: neuroplasticity.
We all find ourselves repeating patterns of bad habits, making poor behavioral choices that negatively impact the important relationships in our lives, most especially our partnerships, professional and parenting lives.
Many of us have tried some type of meditation, mindfulness, life coaching, vision boarding, cognitive behavior therapy… and yet still find ourself sadly locked in the spin cycle of our life. So we continually ask ourselves how can we really change our behaviors to lead a healthy life, maximize our true potential and contribute to society?
The answer is Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the rewiring of our brain to break old negative behaviors and habits. Neuroplasticity may sound scientific, and it is, but it’s not all that complicated. It’s simple. It identifies that the brain is plastic and therefore moldable or changeable.
Think of your brain like your cellular device. It has hardware and software. The hardware are the structures of the phone like the screen and the cables…the unit you buy in the store. The hardware of the brain is the physical structures of your brain. The software of your phone is the operating system and your apps. Brain software consists of neurons, chemistry and neuro-electricity that allow communication among the structures in the brain.
As we know, there are always upgrades available for the operating systems in our phones. What IOS are we on now…45??? And of course, there are ALWAYS changes and upgrades on the apps. We frequently make the upgrades because we want the best service on our phones and our systems to work efficiently. What if, like your phone, you could upgrade your brain and your mind!
That’s what it is. Neural-plasticity says that we can continually ‘upgrade’ for better more efficient lives. Just as with your phone, the apps that serve you well, those you can keep. But the ones that slow down your device, those brain patterns that create poor choices and negative behaviors, those can be rewired using the principles of neuroplasticity.
Have you ever heard the statement “it takes 21 days to make or break a habit”? That’s based on neuroplasticity. After identifying the pattern or behavior you want to change (example smoking, drinking, REACTING) you can retrain your brain to create new patterns of behavior. You can learn how to use your brain to work for you, rather than against you.
However, once you break bad habits and learn new ones, you also need to be aware of your environment. The brain changes YES, but it also responds to the environment. Back to the cell phone example, if I have a new phone with cool apps and the best operating system, but I keep putting it in the wrong environment; dunking it in water or hitting it with a hammer, it won’t work.
Not only do we have to retrain our brains, we have to retrain and create a healthy environment for ourselves and for others so that we can retain the new information and make it a part of our lives. This is what allows us to function at our best!
The most important part of all of this is, just like you have a brain that is pliable and changeable, so does your partner, child or employer/employee. Any disruption that you have introduced into these relationships can be reversed. You can change the environment in which your brain and their brain are functioning. The best news is that the most important environmental factor in your life is your behavior. By changing you, you change your brain and you help to change them.
So, say hello to neuroplasticity and goodbye to those old habits!
On any given day life is full of don’t wants, and that’s not going to change. Being able to change what happens in us when those don’t wants come… that’s the key to rewiring the brain and changing your behavior. You can reroute yourself around this natural, brain-based, biological behavior pattern through neuroplasticity. I got so excited when I learned how to do this, I dug deeper into the research, got my PhD and created the W.A.Y. program so others could do it for themselves. Since then, thousands of my clients have rewired their own brains around our simply human behavior patterns. Now I’m bringing it to you!