“It isn’t reality that shapes you, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.” – Shawn Achor
For each of us, reality is our perception of the world based on our experiences and unconscious biases. It may not surprise you to know that the human brain is wired to record negative experiences for self-protection. The good news is we can rewire this default programming by creating new neuropathways!
Scientists today believe that we develop new neurons even in adulthood. When new neuropathways are formed, a person can change their habits or reframe their experiences from negative to positive ones. This ability of the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life is called neuroplasticity. It is neuroplasticity that allows the brain to compensate for injury by adjusting its activities in response to new situations or to changes in the environment.
Here are some practical ways to rewire your brain for success:
- Create a positive environment. Surround yourself with positive people and positive reading/ video material. Begin your day with an attitude of gratitude, as this sets the mood for optimism and positive affirmations.
- Avoid self-defeating language. Replace words like “I can’t,” ”I’m bad at this,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m lazy” with statements like “I can,” “I can learn to,” and “I am capable.” Using encouraging language in your thoughts helps break self-defeating beliefs and reinforces a ‘can-do’ and active nature.
- Think bigger than you desire. The human brain is very receptive to internal suggestions. Spend a few minutes every day focusing on what you desire – whether it’s that big contract, a new client, or that upcoming promotion. Visualize the win and what you need to achieve it. Visualizing fruitful outcomes rather than the pitfalls activates neuropathways based on the feeling of reward, which is a powerful motivator.
- Use superlatives. When someone asks how you are, be conscious of your response. Saying “I’m ok,” or “I’m fine,” is like a flatline response. Raise your energy levels by saying, “I’m fabulous,” or “I’m awesome.” While this may seem exaggerated at first, vocalizing a positive state triggers the brain into experiencing positive emotions, elevating your mood and confidence.
- Begin and end all conversations positively. Develop the habit of connecting with people, paying compliments, and being present and genuine when conversing. Besides fostering productive relationships, this trait of being present helps you stay mindful, which reduces anxiety and promotes a greater sense of well-being.
Rewiring our brain involves paying special attention to our thoughts and limiting beliefs. Remember, a negative thought can easily be flipped into a positive thought. As Norman Vincent Peale said, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”