Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Study: We Can Re-Wire Our Brains -- In Other Words, How to Stop Stalking Your Ex's Facebook Profile

When we're stuck in a rut, or repeating the same problems
, it can feel that "things will always be this way." This leads us to feel that we cannot change -- a depressing thought -- you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, right?

Here you are again, binging on potato chips (like always), stalking your ex's facebook profile (as you always do), or afraid to go for a promotion at work (just like last year), you can feel that your brain is set in stone -- it feels like you'll never change.

Researchers have uncovered an exciting fact -- our brains are quite changeable -- we have the power to mold them like clay. Neuroplasticity is the brain's natural ability to re-wire itself. This phenomenon is not limited to the childhood developmental years -- adults can make big changes. This means you can learn to literally change your mind (and behaviors), with a few simple techniques.

This is especially helpful for people who have OCD-like problems, e.g., needing to do things a certain way and having anxiety if things happen differently -- in other words, most Type A professionals in Manhattan! Yes, that guy who is furious his date is 2 minutes late, or the girl who is obsessed with getting a spot in her yoga class -- they can change.

Recent studies conducted by Dr. John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, an American psychiatrist and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity demonstrate that people can change the neural pathways in their own brains.

In his book, “A User’s Guide to the Brain”, Dr. Ratey writes “Genes and environment interact to continually change the brain, from the time we are conceived until the moment we die. And we, the owners – to the extent that our genes allow it – can actively shape the way our brains develop throughout the course of our lives.”

Dr. Jeffrey Shwartz, who also practices the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, agrees that this is possible through increasing one’s level of self-awareness and of course, one’s level of desire to want to improve. He demonstrates, through the use of MRI scans and by utilizing a simple four step process, that if patients pay attention to their behaviors -- and mindfully change the way they react to these behaviors -- these old behaviors become replaced with new behaviors.

People who follow a 4-step process can create huge positive changes in their lives
-- from being in the best health of your life, improving your relationship with finances and creating wealth, giving back for a greater cause, revving up your love life, or having more time for your family.

1. People first need to re-name their behavior. They should call it a "symptom of disease," or a "false signal." So instead of thinking you are stalking your ex's facebook profile because that's normal, you realize your brain is simply messed up.

2. See your behavior and thoughts as "pathological brain circuitry." Yes, that's a mouthful. When you're insisting that you must get a spot in this yoga class, or you will get fat, or proclaiming that you will absolutely never get a job in your field, or clicking yet again on Jane's new facebook photo -- stop. Pathological brain circuitry. Try repeating that one out loud! It will stop you in your tracks.

3. Re-focus. Shift your attention away from your "pathological brain circuitry," and move it towards constructive behavior. Ask yourself, what would be the constructive thing to do? Perhaps, realizing you can run on the treadmill today if the yoga class is full, apply for new jobs, or sign up for an online dating site.

4. Remove power. Take power away from your obsessions, realizing they have no value. Realize this isn't really about a spot in a yoga class, or the right job, or your ex -- it's about your brain having been stuck in the wrong rut. Creating a more constructive rut, will lead you to happiness.

This means that you don't have to stalk your ex's facebook profile obsessively, ever again.

image, digital photos. net

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