Change is always happening.
To successfully tame the anxious mind, it helps to know that neurological and behavioral changes take place in their brain and body. Anxiety finds a cushiony home in the “what if’s” of Negative-ville. So for many people, just knowing that while they’re consistently practicing different techniques to manage their reactions, they are also investing in new real estate in Calm-ville.
Neuroplasticity is our brains’ ability to be shaped by the information we perceive from our experiences. This takes place by creating new neurons and neural connections. In fact, according to an article in Nature, the human brain has 100 trillion connections and contains roughly the same number of neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way, around 100 billion. The more that we learn about a particular subject, the more those neural connections become stronger and quicker our brain is at understanding and reacting to that information. Note that it doesn’t matter whether what we learn is healthy or not, it’s the repetition that strengthens and solidifies the neural pathways in the brain to think that this is okay, this is comfortable, this is real and true. Take a moment and think about the things you do every day that you’ve been doing for years. Some of them probably you’re not even aware of or take for granted. From the fact that you’re reading this post, to which side of the bed you sleep, to how you cut your food, to your reaction to someone’s complaint about you, or how you deal when what you expect to happen, doesn’t.
Many people erroneously believe that our earliest experiences cement the ways in which our brain reacts to life for the rest of our lives. The first five years of life do create the foundation for our worldview, relationship styles, intellectual and academic abilities, essentially, every change of the human experience. However, neuroplasticity doesn’t end when you turn five. It continues for the rest of your life. I’m not downplaying the importance of these years. Obviously, growing up with a healthy and solid foundation during the formative years allows for more opportunities to live an enriched, balanced, and healthy life. And, being exposed to the opposite of that allows for more opportunities that create stress, medical concerns, relationship issues, lower academic and employment achievement, etc, etc. However, your past does not need to dictate your future. If you find that your foundation is less than stable, creating a new mindset, consistent practice of new skills, exposing yourself to new experiences, surrounding yourself with information obtained from therapists, friends, colleagues, and educational content can change your unhealthy habitual reactions and replace them with others that lead to a more enriching and fulfilling life. Take a look at this video to learn more about how neuroplasticity works. And, if you’re interested in learning how to apply this specifically to your life, send me a message, and let’s get that started.