Redesigning Your Brain Every Day
Moss Jackson, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Success Coach
This morning I noticed that I did not have an upbeat, looking-forward-to-my-day attitude. Even though in the early morning I awoke to bright sunshine and pleasant weather, I left the house with a sense of annoyance, frustration and tension. Realistically, there was not much to complain about. My life was going pretty well. Relationships good, work intriguing and health good! I think I just got captured by what I like to call my “Default and Shit Brain,” a condition all of us seem to have when our minds are not clearly focused or intention nor taking actions that further our intentions.
I remembered a talk by Kelly McGonigal at Stanford University about the notion of intention and attention. She said that the default nature of our minds when we are not absorbed in a mindful way is to slip into a three step descent into misery and upset. When you are not consciously focused and building something of personal value, you first become very self-focused and self-centered. Then you hit the “Shit storm” part of your brain where you encounter a flood of stored up and submerged upsets and dissatisfactions. In the third step you then look for reasons why you are so upset, i.e., “I don’t have enough gas,” or “No one took care of the dishes in the sink again,” or even “once again I have to go buy a crummy breakfast sandwich. I don’t remember the last time anyone made me a fresh breakfast.” Add whatever appeals to you in terms of your personal list of upsets. They are just reference points for the general state of your brain when it unleashes the “shit storm.”
So, aware of my slip into the above, I began driving to work. I acknowledged my level of general dissatisfaction on a scale of 1–10, giving myself an upset score of “7”, a moderate level of displeasure. I had no interest in going through my day in this state of mind so I DECIDED to use everything I have been learning over the last few years to “redesign my brain!”
You may not be aware of this, but all of us have the power for brain redesign. The brain is capable of significant neuroplasticity and is responsive to the thoughts, beliefs and intentions we choose to feed it. Our brains possess almost 100 billion neurons; 10 million of these neurons die every second and 10 new ones are born. We are either continually redesigning our brains in a positive way, or succumbing to a gradual decline in our neurological health that includes degradation, loss of vitality and possibly mental decline. It all depends on what you decide to feed into your brain, i.e. negativity or positive energy.
This morning, I chose to feed health, vision and curiosity into my brain. So, over the next 20 minutes of driving, I employed the following strategy: first I took in several deep breaths to trigger the physiological relaxation response. Then I spent five minutes looking, hearing and truly seeing my surroundings, allowing me some time to escape the seductive power of my pessimistic thinking. I also imagined a time when I felt safe and connected and breathed that experience back into my body. Lastly I created my intention for the day by asking myself three questions:
1. What do I want to experience?
2. What do I want to learn?
3. What do I want to contribute?
The answers to these three questions gave me my intention for the day. I then went through my day asking myself these 3 questions and paying attention to what I was thinking, doing and feeling. Whenever I wandered into unproductive territory, I returned to my inspired intentions. I had redesigned my brain from an initial dissatisfied state to one that gradually emerged as joyful, insightful and connected to others.
So, tonight, as I finish up my dinner and reflect on my day, I feel satisfied, energized and peaceful. My experiment in brain redesign has worked and my new ten million neurons a second are enjoying their new living space.
The key point here is that the brain is highly responsive to being redesigned. If you understand and practice the skills and strategies for brain redesign, I think you have the power to create younger brains and renewed nervous systems. Perhaps this is a key to radical health reform, cell rejuvenation and reversing our aging brains.
I hope you join me in my new video webinar series on “Navigating Life,” my intention is to provide you with a point of view, practices and a way of thinking to allow you to redesign your brain, cells and nervous systems in order to become more successful and happy and even to reverse the aging process. It is quite an ambitious undertaking and I wonder if I am on the right track. I hope you choose to accompany me in this exciting and extraordinary undertaking. Sign up HERE for the webinar.