We have the power to determine the direction of our lives…..with our thoughts. Do you believe this? Better yet, are you aware of how your thoughts are impacting your life right now? And have you attempted to change your thoughts to change your life?
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change and adapt due to experience. It is an umbrella term that refers to the brain's ability to change, reorganize, or develop new connections. Because of neuroplasticity, we know that our brains can rewire to receive new information that we tell it about ourselves and/or our circumstances. Phew, we don't have to have a 2 yr old brain or an adolescent brain forever!
But, today I would like to illustrate how changing a thought NOW can change an outcome.
Our thoughts drive our emotions, which drive our actions, which drive what results we will get out of life.
Consider this example that is pretty common among my clients:
Let's use the context of the workplace. A woman has a thought that goes through her head: "I am not good enough". This thought causes her to feel insignificant. Because she feels insignificant, she doesn't do a whole lot. She doesn't put herself out there, so she doesn't accomplish much. Therefore she is not getting recognition let alone a promotion and this perpetuates her thought of "I am not good enough".
But, I like to say "Change a thought, change a lot!!".
So, let's see how this same woman could change her thought from "I am not good enough" to something more useful. Most women would be challenged to jump from "I am not good enough" to (believing) "I am good enough"...so, let's try something easier to handle. How about "I know a lot about________________ or I am good at _______________". The blank is some component of her job: maybe it's marketing, writing copy, billing, teaching kids, mentoring others,
real estate law, orthopedic manual therapy, whatever......she can realistically believe. If she goes in with this new thought of knowing a lot about a component of her job, she can feel "proud" or "useful". This can lead to a desire to contribute and give more value to her workplace. and depending on the specifics of her career; she is now creating a product and/or helping others. These are actions that can be recognized and she can grow professionally.
OR- what if you want to change an action. I will give you a recent example from my own life. I recently began attending a new church and started a fantastic bible study. I really enjoyed the discussions and the women and did not want this community of fellowship to end. I had the idea, that I would just throw it out there to see if anyone would be interested in continuing the dialog informally on weekly basis at a local coffee shop. However, at some point- the thought entered my head of "I am new here". And that made me feel shy. Because I was in the place of shyness, I did not extend the invitation and now there is not the opportunity for continued fellowship.
Now, as I am reflecting on this missed opportunity. I want to learn and grow from it. So, I ask myself- what did I need to feel to extend that invitation? My answer is "connected". What thought did I need to have to feel connected. My answer is "this has been an amazing group to be a part of. I have contributed to the rich discussion and learned so much from the other women".
I hope this inspires you to reflect on a recent situation where you did not take an action that you have wanted to take or planned to take. Trace it back? How did you feel? What were you thinking? And how could you change that thought to change the feeling to change the action.
What I would like to leave you with is Phil 4:8.
Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.