How to Rewire Your Brain For Peak Performance and Happiness
By Amy Crawford
A few months ago I shared a beautiful piece by Joanne Antoun*, titled A lesson in change and six simple tips for creating it. Due to the success of this piece I asked Joanne if I could share another one of her inspirational articles. In this article Joanne sets out the 7 simple steps to rewire your brain for peak performance and happiness. These include: removing physical and mental clutter; reframing the way you look at things; diet; refocusing your attention (on the wonderful things in your life); exercise; awareness and affirmations and; mindfulness. Those of you who have experienced a CTC treatment will recognise many of these highly powerful, hugely positive tips.
How to rewire your brain for peak performance and happiness
Do you find yourself distracted, jumping from one task to the next without completing the one at hand?
Are you having trouble getting organised and remembering things?
Do you feel like you're caught in a fog, lacking direction and clarity of mind?
Do you feel like you're lacking energy and mental sharpness?
Are you feeling down more often than you're feeling good?
Are you finding it difficult to stay positive?
What if I told you that by changing your mind you could change your brain and your life!
The old school of thought was that the brain created the mind but that's not true at all. The mind is what configures the brain. Your mind chooses whether or not to listen and take thoughts on board and in the process of doing so wires your brain.
Negativity is instinctual in humans, we are wired to self-protect, always scanning for threats and we tend to pay more attention to and give more weight to negative experiences. No matter how good our day has been, if one bad thing happens the psychological effect of it far outweighs the positive. This is known as the negativity bias. We then get caught up in a downward spiral of losing our own personal power and draw more negativity to us because universal law is what we radiate we attract and what we feed grows. Ask anyone about negative experiences in their life and they can come up with quiet a few, very easily. Ask about positive experiences and it often takes a moment longer to access the information.
But there is great news. We can easily unlock the brain lock and this article will show you how in seven simple steps. We have the ability to rewire our brains for positivity, therefore attracting positive experiences and outcome to us. Neurons that fire together wire together, creating habitual thought patterns. Most of our deceptive brain messages that are false or inaccurate were to a greater extent created when we were young and taken on board without adequate insight, more often than not from the words of those closest to us. We all have some bad wiring that needs tending to but it can be done…and easily too.
We can, with awareness and effort, free ourselves from destructive thoughts and actions and change bad habits for good. With some focus, intention and practice we are able to rewire our brain for positivity, peak performance and happiness. By then living by example we can go on to change the lives of others too.
7 Step Brain Mastery
Get rid of clutter, reframe and dream.
Physical, mental and digital clutter affects the brain. Whether it be your office desk or closet, an excess of things in your surroundings can overload the senses, making you feel stressed and impairing your ability to think creatively. Physical clutter has a negative impact on your brain's ability to focus and process information, therefore decreasing efficiency and productivity. Clean and clear your surroundings and notice how much better you feel instantly.
Mental clutter. All those to do lists in your head (especially negative and overwhelming thoughts), compete for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress. You are literally in as many places as you allow your thoughts to be. Mental clutter has you past, future and sideways tripping - this is not only exhausting but debilitating. Get everything out of your head and onto paper. I personally write my to do lists on post it notes just for the thrill of being able to screw it up and throw it once the task is complete. Thoughts that don't serve you simply don’t belong, just let them go. But more on this in the following sections.
We live in an age where we can't seem to live without our phones and computers, constant rings and pings as notifications alert us of incoming messages that stop us in our tracks. Our curiosity then summons us to check who and what it might be, all competing for our attention. All this digital clutter is a distraction that erodes your ability to focus and perform.
Mark Hurst, author of Bit Literacy, a New York Times best seller on controlling the flow of information in the digital age, put it best when he said, "Bits are a new material ".
When you have to-do items constantly floating around in your head or you hear a ping or vibrate every few minutes from your phone, your brain doesn't get a chance to fully enter creative flow or process experiences. When your brain has too much on its plate, it splits its power up. The result? You become awful at:
- filtering information
- switching quickly between tasks
- keeping a strong working memory
The over consumption of digital stuff has the same effect on your brain as physical clutter. Remember, Keep it clean; your mind and your space.
Nothing has any meaning other than the meaning you give it. Every thought you have is a thought you choose. There is great power in this truth because once you accept responsibility for your thoughts and actions you can make more empowered choices and change your world.
Understand that habitual urges from the brain that don't serve you are not who you are in your truth. Those old limiting beliefs are simply that, they are old. Refocus your attention and direct it by focusing on a positive. Choose to replace negative thoughts with a positive, like "e;I am good enough, I am peace, I only attract loving people into my world."e;
Changing the way you see things and focusing more on the positive rewires your brain to become more aware of other positives in your daily life and you’ll attract much more of them to you. Once you bring something to your awareness you find yourself aligning with it, drawing it to you and becoming more aware of it in your surroundings.
Reframing has great power because>when you change the way you see things the very things you see change in that same moment. Therefore freeing you of the constraints it once had on you and aligning you with more positive outcomes.
We all want to look or feel better and we know the importance of diet when it comes to our body. but how many of us take the time to think about how what we eat effects our brain? A poor diet can have disastrous effects on our brain however with a few more empowered dietary choices we can positively affect our brain. Especially in areas related to clarity of mind, cognitive processing, even feelings and emotions. A good diet will at the very least lead to strong blood flow, maintenance of mental sharpness and reduce the risks of Alzheimer's and Dementia.
It's a well documented fact that one of the super fats our brain needs the most are omega-3 fatty acids. Our brain converts these into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and neuronal growth. We need healthy neurons. Remember, what fires together wires together.
By putting the right fuel into your body you will maintain super brain-body function. Here are just a few brain foods you can easily add to your diet:
Apples: These goodies protect the brain from oxidative damage.
Berries: Specifically blueberries and strawberries, eating these has been shown to improve memory and motor skills and also protect your brain from the oxidative process.
Asparagus: Rich in folic acid, which is essential for healthy brain function particularly for the metabolism of the long chain of fatty acids in your brain.
Dark Chocolate: We can't forget this goodie. Good quality dark chocolate is a very powerful antioxidants which contains natural stimulates. Be sure it's sugar free for optimal benefits.
Salmon: A great source of omega- 3 fatty acids which are essential for brain function.
Walnuts: Walnuts have a high protein content and contain omega -3, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue.
Dried Oregano: There are lots of great spices but this one packs a punch. Oregano has 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries.
You will only ever see what you are looking at. If you keep focusing on what’s not working in your life not only does it become dominant but you attract more of the same, even if you don't want it, actually even more so if you don't want it. What you resist persists.
It's time now to accept that everything that has been and everything that is, JUST IS. When we come from a place of acceptance we no-longer lose our personal power to people or experiences, therefore allowing us to stay strong and present.
If we live from the truth that nothing has any meaning other than the meaning we give it and when we change the way we see things the very things we see change, we quickly put ourselves in the position of ultimate power.
Each and every day, and each and every moment we have a choice. Your thoughts and how you choose to see things is completely up to you. We often get caught up in the negative and forget that we have so very much to be grateful for.
It's time now to refocus your attention. Unplug from the stuff that doesn't serve you and refocus your attention on all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for.
Here is a great way to refocus, rewire and attract bigger and better things to yourself:
Keep a gratitude journal.
Or at the very least think of at least 3 things every day that you are grateful for. Hold these thoughts in your mind long enough to feel your heart expand with love.
Make a gratitude call.
Every day connect via any means with someone that you are grateful for and let them know. Letting someone know you appreciate them will put a smile on their face, warm their heart and it will work wonders for you too.
Just like our body needs regular exercise so to does our brain if neurons are to remain sharp. Practice, practice, practice of newly learned skills makes neuron connections stronger.
Repetition of new positive ways of thinking and behaving creates new neurological pathways that can override those old patterns that no-longer serve you.
Some brain exercises to keep you sharp are activities such as:
- Learning a new language
- Playing mental puzzles
- Listening to classical music
- Physical exercises that promote cardiovascular health
6. Awareness & Affirmations
Everything you think, everything you say, everything you believe becomes true for you, not because it's universal truth but it becomes true for you in your world none-the-less. You are the ultimate power in your world.
The law of the universe is whatever you radiate you attract.
I want you to think of your conscious mind, your personality, as a general and your unconscious mind as soldiers. Now we all know that whatever the one General says the millions of soldiers do, because they are designed to only follow orders, no questions asked, just follow orders. So if you, your General lives in fear, believes you;re not good enough and that everything you touch fails etc, the soldiers will stand to attention say 'yes sir' then they go into immediate action to radiate the energy to attract to you that which you have ordered. Right, wrong, good, bad, it doesn't matter, we are magnets and you will get what you radiate. Whatever you think, say, feel and believe will become true for you. If you don't like what you’re attracting, change your order! Rewire your brain. Remember what you feel has more of an emotional charge so congruency is important.
Yes it's true that your entire past, your beliefs and experiences have created who you are and how your world looks today but the wonderful thing is that it has nothing to do with your tomorrow. It's what you do today, in this very moment that creates the next moment and therefore your tomorrow.
Here's where the power of awareness and affirmations comes in. You may have wiring, thought patterns and behaviors that don't serve you but that doesn't mean that there's no hope for you. With the power of awareness and affirmations and your brains ability to be rewired we can create new pathways rewiring you for peak performance positivity and happiness.
Once you have the awareness of what you do then you can work on changing it. Remember change requires change. Positive thoughts = Positive outcomes.
Whether you think you can or can't, you're absolutely right.
So if the truth is that positive thoughts equal positive outcomes, then the flip side of that, negative thoughts equal negative outcomes must be true too. This is your world and you have the power of free will and choice.
When you say you feel down or low, you literally are. You are vibrating at a lower frequency and in that space you can only attract to you that which vibrates at the same level. Now if you want a life filled with what vibrates in a higher range, it won’t come to you until you raise your vibration to match it at its level. Until then it cannot be a part of your world. We simply raise our vibration by living more on purpose, be aware of what you believe, think, feel and say, be positive, have loving thoughts, speak from the heart center and have an attitude of gratitude. Start by giving thanks for all that you truly appreciate in your life, your family, your friends, your health. Within a moment or two you will notice that you now seem to be thinking not with your head but with your heart, your heart consciousness literally feels like its expanding. Not only does this make you feel great but instantly balances you and raises your vibration. In this space you begin to see things more clearly, possibly even what you couldn’t see before. New neurological pathways are being created in your brain and with repetition of this practice they become hardwired. Solutions to your problems begin to appear with clarity, more options become available, everything unfolds much more smoothly. In this space you can place your new order, give thanks for all you have then affirm all that you desire in present tense, for example, I love my life, I only attract loving people in my world, I am a magnet for divine prosperity etc. The key is to always affirm in present tense if we use the words will or going to, it's like tomorrow it never comes. This raises your vibration and as you match the vibration that holds what you desire then it too becomes a part of your world.
Remember to affirm with conviction, really feel it, imagine it and make it your truth. What fires together, wires together and with repetition this will strengthen and become the new way your brain operates. Also take action, no-one had a bag of gold land in their lap by meditating and affirming alone.
Being mindful is one of the most important practices there is. It’s an activity of your attention being in the present, an awareness of what is happening right now, without judgement and letting all other thoughts and distractions go. This opens our awareness beyond the narrowness of negativity bringing calm and peace to the moment, providing an ability to focus solely and productively to the task at hand giving us the ability to see things for what they really are.
With practice these feelings can become a way of being and a state of mind rather than just somewhere you visit.
Mindfulness decreases distress, anxiety and depression and allows for more rational and empowered decisions/actions. Practicing mindfulness regularly has been shown to affect the brains plasticity, increasing and strengthening the grey matter in the hippocampus, the area of the brain important for memory, learning and emotion, and reducing the grey matter in the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.
All of our problems, great or small are all entirely in the mind. Yes there are external forces at work, but the event itself isn't causing you the stress, it's your reaction to the event that is creating the emotional experience you are having. Remember nothing has any meaning other than the meaning you give it.
When you are here in present time and no longer allowing yourself to lose your personal power to a situation the external event no-longer becomes a problem because there is only you and the current situation and you’ll find you have the tools to handle anything with much greater ease.
The method for being present is simple, but it's practice that matters most. Most people don’t master it, not because it's difficult but because they don't value themselves enough to practice the art.
How to be Mindful
Whatever you're doing, right now, pay complete attention to it, every aspect of it and let everything else go.
Take time to meditate. Simply focus only on your breath. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and become aware of your breath, breathing in an out of your nostrils. Be aware of the movement of the air as it passes in and passes out, the place where the inner and outer world meets. Any thoughts that come to mind just let them go. This naturally calms the breath and increases our awareness. Start this practice for 10 minutes a day and build to 1hr.
To start with getting into the zone requires effort but I can guarantee you that once you’ve had the experience of being totally present and had that feeling of heightened awareness you’ll never want to go back to how things used to be.
Joanne Antoun is a lecturer in the field of Personal Growth and Consciousness, a Gifted Medium, Curator and trainer of CTC Technique. She is also a Psychotherapist, Reiki Master Teacher, NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer, EFT Trainer, Hypnotherapy Trainer, Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Teacher of Accelerated Learning Techniques, and an Author.