Have you ever felt like you weren’t hitting your goals as quickly as you’d like?
Have you ever felt like you can’t break bad habits no matter how hard you try?
Today we live in a non stop world and awareness about the way we are participating in life sometimes goes right out the window in the midst of all the chaos. Maybe you start beating yourself up for not sticking with goals or you keep reliving events and aren’t sure why? I get it, trust me I have been there too and sometimes, still am. It’s okay that you feel stuck, what’s not okay is deciding to stay stuck because change is hard.
When it comes to past programming and how that affects your life now it’s important to know how the brain functions, in life we attach pain or pleasure to every action or event and through time we create neuro-associations, basically neurons in the brain that fire together, wire together, this is a basic safety function of human survival, do more of what makes you feel good and less of what makes you feel stressed.
In other words neuro-associations are the links that are created between what you are experiencing and the emotions/thoughts connected with the experience. Some experiences elicit “positive” emotions, like happiness or joy, this creates a positive neuro-association in your brain, no resistance in the body and is likely something it’ll be easy to do again in the future. In contrast when you experience something and it creates negative feelings, like sadness or anxiety, your body wires and fires negative neuro-associations in the brain, creating resistance in the body thus making is less likely for you to repeat the action in the future.
In life at whatever moment in time, your reality is based on whatever you are focused on!
An example of a neuro-association in the brain would be something like seeing a piece of chocolate, if you like chocolate, you may allow your brain to flow with the thoughts that come to you like “I love chocolate” “Chocolate tastes so good” or “Chocolate makes me happy”. With these positive thoughts you’re most likely going to eat that piece of chocolate! When you indulge in the experience your body will respond by going into a relaxed state releasing hormones like dopamine and serotonin in the brain, this is creating a positive neuro-association to eating chocolate.
On the flip side
Hasn’t there been times when you didn’t eat the chocolate? Times when you didn’t allow yourself to indulge? In this case you changed your point of attention, you changed your focus from how the chocolate makes you feel good to how it could make you feel bad. Maybe you had thoughts like “If I eat that chocolate I wont fit into my new dress” or “If I eat the chocolate I’ll feel bloated and not very good about myself”. When you focus on these thoughts, you are creating neuro-associations linked with pain, this means that you have all the stress hormones flowing, like cortisol and adrenaline, making you less likely to want to eat it again in the future.
When you eat the chocolate you add one more groove in the brain that says chocolate produces pleasure in my body and mind, practicing pleasure and ease around sweets. When you don’t eat the chocolate you add one more groove in the brain that says this doesn’t benefit me and you’re practicing unease around sweets.
For most people the change happens when they hit a threshold and experience so much pain, they decide to change.
You don’t have to wait until you’re in pain to change!
If you want to change your behavior, you must focus on how doing something is going to be more painful then not doing it or focus on how doing something will benefit you.
You procrastinate your taxes because you associate pain in taking time to actually DO them, then when April 15th is just around the corner you knock your taxes out like it was no big deal, because now you are associating how NOT doing your taxes will hurt you more than just doing them. This is an example how how pain can be a powerful motivator as well, when focused properly. Pain association can stop you from doing things that hurt you, but they can also stop you from doing things that benefit you because your association creates stress when your focus is in the wrong place.
So how can you use this knowledge to update your old programming, change your pain and pleasure responses to ultimately change your life?
Who you’re BEING and how you’re FEELING before, during, and after any action is what makes the biggest difference.
A great example of changing your focus is a lot of people want 6-pack abs but they associate going to the gym with the pain of working out rather then with the pain of being overweight or the pleasure of hitting your goals.
A little change in what your attention is on causes a major shift in the brain over time!
Sometimes when it comes to hitting goals or moving to a higher version of yourself it takes you doing things that you may find dull or challenging, causing resistance to the action, leaving you feeling stuck. When you’re frustrated, annoyed or upset your brain just sees it as stress, if you’re stressed your brains going to do anything it can to not repeat the activity, you can’t relax when your stressed, remember that the most important part of making positive neuro associations is you need to get out of stress and into a more relaxed state.
One of the most powerful ways you can help rewire your brain in times of stress is to heighten your state before, during or after the activity, in other words do something that makes you feel really good! Put on some music, use essential oils, dance around your house, be silly, do anything that makes you happy, it might feel weird at first but I promise if you try it, you’ll be more relaxed in no time, making it easier to knock out those challenging projects or stop eating chocolate! When your body goes into a more relaxed, blissful state, negative association begin to fade and are replaced with more positive feelings.
Changing your environment can be huge as well, if there’s something you don’t really want to do, try doing it in nature or at your favorite coffee shop, this will heighten your senses in a positive way making the activity less stressful..
You can’t just eliminate an old belief without first replacing it with something more beneficial.
Creating associations in your life your brain and body enjoy calms the central nervous system and allows you more clarity when making choices.
I’ll say it again! To begin firing and wiring positive neuro-associations you have to change your point of focus thus changing your state! When you do this you can take something challenging and turn it into a more enjoyable experience, increasing your chances of doing it again tomorrow!
Before you close this browser and go on about your day, I challenge you to find something in your life big or small that you want to change your emotional state around. Spend some time brainstorming ways you can heighten your state or change your focus to result in a much more pleasing experience!
There is great love for you here.