How to Change Your Mind: The Science of Breaking Habits

Everything you do, think and feel is the result of one powerful organ — your brain. The conductor of consciousness, the author of your story, the frontier of your future — whatever name you want to call it, it’s important to recognize the vital role your brain plays in directing your life.

Your brain contains 100 billion neurons — nerve cells that have the ability to store and communicate information between each other using what’s called synaptic connections. These neurons are linked together in numerous unique patterns, all of which shapes your behavior.

Most of our ideas, thoughts, memories and behavior is a result of a neural network (the various combinations of these neurons firing in unique sequences). All of this activity in your brain often happens unconsciously and automatically. How incredible is that?

For instance, when I was in grammar school, I hated math. I had a tough time and didn’t know how to ask for help so I just got by with a passing grade. Each year brought more anxiety, and the more I thought about math the more it scared me. My neurons became so hard wired from thinking that way, just the thought of doing math sent shivers up my spine. As a result, I had programed myself to react a certain way.

Understanding how these neural networks work is important. Because the more brain circuits repeatedly fire, the stronger the connections between them become. So whether you consciously realize it or not, you are neurologically wiring yourself (for better and for worse). The bottom line: Where you focus your attention is what you neurologically become.

In order for change to occur, you need to rewire the circuitry in your brain. Breaking old patterns requires sparking new thoughts, introducing new ideas and then strengthening them over time. Through repetition, these new thoughts will eventually become ingrained in your mind.

So what will you choose to focus on today?

If you’re still wondering if you can change your brain, the answer is yes. You most certainly can.

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