The Mind

Everything we think, feel, or do imprints or rewires our brain. Our rewired brain in turn affects everything we think, feel, or do, which again in turn,
imprints or rewires our brain.

– Dr. Shad Helmstetter, author of The Power of Neuroplasticity

Did you know that unless you understand how to control the mind, the mind controls you? Predictably and repetitively, you often won’t like where it takes you.

There is tremendous power in our thoughts that work either for us or against us. Past trauma, learned behavior, and lived experiences shape our brains and wire in patterns, habits, reactions, and beliefs. These pathways become highways, developing our subconscious. That means most of the time, your brain has already decided what it thinks and feels, and feeds you a response or reaction before you even have time to consider what is happening.

A mind running on thought alone and dictated by the subconscious means following those same pathways: same old thoughts, same old responses, same old life. In order for a new pattern to be formed, in order to change behaviours and habits, it has to begin with the way the mind operates. No matter the goal you want to reach – be it personal, cognitive, educational, fitness, weight, body health, finance or career – a healthy brain can have a big impact on how successful you are in achieving whatever you desire.

To learn a new skill, or improve your memory, or find your peace, drive, focus, determination, or strength, – it begins in your head. This is ground zero. Once you train your brain to get it working for you, new pathways are wired and it gets easier and easier until whatever you are learning is second nature. Learning to ride a bike means training your brain to pedal, and steer, and keep your balance, and watch for traffic – all at the same time! – but soon enough, you can just hop on your bike and ride.

In his book, The Power of Neuroplasticity, Shad Helmstetter talks about the principles of intention, focus and repetition.

First, you have an intention.

Then, you focus on forming a habit.

Then, you wire new neural connections through repetition.

You blaze a new trail, that becomes a path, that becomes a road, that turns into a freeway. New connections are being made and the brain is not what it once was. Your beliefs and behaviour start to reflect who you are today, a more authentic you.

How do I start? Here are a few tools I’ve found for kickstarting brain change and really getting the neuroplasticity working for you:

1. The Wim Hof method – Also known as the Iceman, Wim Hof developed breathing techniques that allowed him to survive freezing temperatures. These methods have since been scientifically studied and have many benefits.

2. Meditation with Headspace – Meditation was not something I had an easy time adapting to. I could easily plan my day, write a grocery list, rearrange my closet and redecorate my house in the span of a normal meditation. But once I found Headspace, it offers such a variety of options, that meditation is now a daily habit. Headspace has many different guided meditations, music, tips and education for calming the mind and creating a more peaceful environment in your head, all in an app (and there’s even a Netflix series). Thanks to Headspace, meditation is one of the most important tools I use to stay grounded, and to manage depression and anxiety, as well as my emotions overall.

I am not yet a master in meditation or Wim Hof, but these practices were easy to slip into my day and assisted me in
gaining peace, control over my emotions, and clarity in my thoughts. My brain has room for new ideas and information to be stored. I am basking in the growth of new brain connections and self-talk!

I want to share one of the ways I practice focusing on a new narrative by setting myself upright in the morning.

  • When you wake up, take a couple of deep breaths, focusing your attention on the inhale, filling your lungs with ease, and then focusing on the exhale, releasing
  • tension.
  • You may notice the urge to rush through. Just remind yourself, this only takes a couple of seconds, for great benefit.
  • After your breaths let your breathing return to normal and, out loud or in your mind, say one or a few of the following:

Be in this moment, fully aware of my body and thoughts.
Let it be, accept the moment for whatever it is.
I am driven and creative.
I am strong, confident, and focused.
I know time is not endless and I do not want to waste the day.

These are a couple of suggestions, but the goal is to create a new habit of awareness and positive thinking that will soon become second nature. Feel free to find your own empowering statements that relate to your goals and who you want to be.

Where can I learn more?

Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs:

  • Discover Wim Hof – Grab a seat and get euphoric with this out of mind, into body experience.
  • Meditation – Learning to live with and manage the mind in your head running wild