By Andrew Wilding
When you consider our exhilarating modern ability to understand neural function and learning, you may find proof if you were looking for it, that you can change the way you are thinking. You can control your mind – what you are afraid of; what you have mental blocks about doing; your worries; anxiety; even depression – is merely neural programming: which is learned behaviour.
Neuroplasticity is the term given to our brain’s ability to rewire itself, or re-learn. Lets unpack what this means.
Why is neuroplasticity proof that we can control anxiety or depression?
Reduced to it’s basic elements, neuroplasticity is just scientific evidence of learning, but it becomes far more exciting when you consider that:
- You can learn a more positive way of thinking and feeling about your life (a new neural network)
- You can create a habit of positive thinking, so that it becomes natural for you without any conscious effort (Hebb’s Law of neural pathways)
Brain scientists tell us that, anywhere between 1 and 30 times a second, your neurons (brain cells) connect into tree-like formations within your brain, called neural networks. Neural networks connect information in the brain, such as memories, beliefs, values, logic, and emotion, via spontaneously forming neural pathways. Neural networks are the electronic circuitry of our belief systems.
They are like the “branches” of the tree-like neural network. Neural pathways are not physical structures like blood vessels or nerves, they are spontaneous pathways of electrical current that connect neurons from different areas of the brain, in that nanosecond. The next nanosecond, the same neurons can connect in a totally different formation of neural pathways – to form a different neural network.
Hebb’s Law of neural pathways:
“Neurons that fire together wire together”
When neurons connect (fire together) repeatedly, the neural pathway between those neurons becomes habitual, and the neurons “wire together”. With continued use (practice) of the same neural pathway, neighbouring neurons in the two areas of the brain that are connected by the initial pathway fire together and form a thicker neural pathway. The more the neural pathway is used, the thicker it becomes. As with any electrical circuit, thicker pathways mean more information at a greater speed.
The same is true for neural networks, as they are made up of neural pathways – the more the neural network is used, the stronger it becomes. Now imagine repeatedly firing (practising) a neural network that includes extremely positive memories, beliefs, values, emotions, and logical conclusions, using the correct neurolinguistic affirmation to cause this neural network to fire. With continued use (practice) of this positive neural network (belief system), the pathways become stronger, and the positive belief system becomes a habit, without any conscious effort on your part.
“Once you get the snowball rolling, it gathers it’s own momentum!”
Hypnotherapy can give you the practice that you need to start the ball rolling, by installing a successful self-belief system into your subconscious, and training you to focus your mind into the state that you choose to be in, every day.
Sessions are available on-line and in Cape Town.
Check your availability here.