All of the latest breakthroughs in Neurobiology are resulting in a revolutionary view of how the brain works. Science has discovered that neurons that fire together strengthen their bond by increasing the number of synapses between them. This encourages the stimulation of one with the other.
In layman’s terms, this means that when we think of relationships between two things, or when we think about something while undertaking an activity, then these things become connected in our thoughts because they literally become hardwired together in our brains. This explains the Pavlovian experiments that result in the salivating dog.
What excites me most about this latest breakthrough is the implications regarding habits and mental world-view constructs- but more on that in a moment.
Have you ever seen the question posed in a seminar or forum, “How long does it take to change a habit?” Whenever I see that question, I always know that there is a trick question being thrown out to the audience. I have seen no conclusive scientific research to suggest one answer over another, yet people will vehemently adhere to what they have been told. 21 Days! 1 Month! In an Instant of Decision! Well sure. To some degree, all of those answers are correct. But was the question trying to figure out how long it takes to make a decision – because the most recent research suggest that we make decisions approximately 5 seconds prior to our recognition of the decision. Or is the question trying to figure out how long it takes to replace or eliminate a habit? Because that is a much more complicated issue, where the answer would depend on how long, how often and how intense the habit was. It also depends on how proactive an individual is in changing the habit.
Neuroplasticity suggests that the longer we do a habit, and the more varied experiences that we have with the habit, the more deeply ingrained it will be in our brain. The wider variety of activities in which we engaged in the habit, the more experiences the habit will be linked to (quantity). The longer and more frequently a habit was carried out, the stronger the bond will be between the linked neurons (quality). Here’s the important part: We must counteract the habit we are trying to change with new programming equal in measure. The longer and stronger a habit is, the more effort is needed to change the neurology of the brain regarding the habit. In cases where hypnosis fails, it is typically due to a failure to address the quantity and quality of synaptic connections. Hypnosis can however be effective at shifting belief paradigms that can result in eventual habit change.
There is another way to combat unwanted habits, and neuroplasticity holds the key.
Habits and beliefs can literally be adopted into or eliminated from your consciousness through proper programming. Through repetition, emotional anchoring, and increasing brain functioning we can decrease the synaptic connections (or desires) for unwanted habits, and increase the strength of synaptic connections for desired habits. The same holds true for beliefs, and the process is the same. We can witness the effects of daily visualizations.
Let’s look at an example. What would happen if we were to listen all day long to commands regarding our health habits? Eventually, and usually quickly, we notice that our desires and thoughts about food, exercise and activity all begin to shift. And shortly thereafter, without any cognitive effort, our actions begin to conform to those new desires and thoughts. Each time a command is heard, it strengthens the synaptic connections that shape our actions and mental constructs. It’s a pretty cool thing to witness, and even a cooler thing to have happen personally. It is also the gift that our clients give back to us when they share their experiences. So, if you have benefited from Mindful Measures, please tell us about your experience by commenting below. And join us on Facebook and Youtube, where your experiences, comments, and discussions are also welcome.