How I re-wired My Brain
In our last blog we talked about how we can re-wire our brain to help us to achieve our goals. Which sounds great in theory but how on earth do we go about doing it?
I often hear my clients talking themselves into ways of being. “I’m so disorganised”, “I’m always late”, “There’s no way I could ever…”. I even find myself doing it sometimes and I should know better (yes, hypnotherapists are human too!).
I remember spending many years right into my 30s saying “I can’t swim”. And I couldn’t! I am dyspraxic which means my co-ordination is all over the place. But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t swim. What it meant was that I hadn’t learnt to swim…yet! By me saying I couldn’t swim my brain had, quite rightly, switched its limited resources to focusing on something I could do. What’s the point in putting energy into a dead end?
So I started to change the way I spoke to myself about swimming. “I can’t swim yet” became my new way of speaking about it. And that got my brain firing off in all sorts of different ways.
Our brains are problem solving machines – give them a problem to solve and they can’t help but try and find an answer, or multiple answers so we can weigh them up and find the best solution.
My brain was able to look at my past experiences and evaluate what went wrong. It was on the lookout for new information that might be able to help it move forward. So when I dropped my god daughter off at her swimming lessons one day I hung around. I noticed something that was different to my childhood experiences in the school pool. These children were being taught how to swim. I couldn’t ever remember that happening. My memories were very different, of everyone else already being able to swim, of me being left in the shallow pool with a float and told to keep trying. No one was actually teaching me how to swim, our time in the swimming pool was more a supervised swimming opportunity for those who could already swim. So not only did my dyspraxia mean I was likely to find it more difficult to learn, but my mother’s fear of water put me at a disadvantage because no one actually taught me! No wonder I couldn’t swim!
So off I went to find some adult swimming lessons. And I discovered I was actually quite good at it. Well, at some of it. Front crawl – bring it on! Breast stroke, somehow I managed to go backwards! But that didn’t matter, I could swim. Being taught and lots of practise helped me create new pathways in my brain that helped me to move my arms and legs at the right times and to breathe with my head in the right position so I didn’t take in a lung full of water! And every time I practised, those pathways in my brain got stronger and stronger, it became easier and easier for me to swim. As the actions of swimming became more automatic I was able to focus on improvements, little tweaks that make me more efficient in the water. Now, when I get in the water I don’t have to think about what to do, I don’t have to remember how to hold myself, how to breathe, which muscles to move, it all just happens automatically thanks to those pathways in my brain.
And it’s not just about swimming. Market Harborough based Associate, Carmen Wilson, used her knowledge of re-wiring her brain to help her overcome her fear of public speaking.
“In the past I have been intimidated by public speaking and was impressed by those who seemed to do it so effortlessly. It’s an area of life that can be easy to avoid – get an office job, don’t join committees and certainly never put yourself in any position where you need to speak or offer an opinion. But now I go out to speak at WIs and other organisations to help people understand just how beneficial and life changing hypnotherapy can be.
My first talk was awful at a rotary group. I could see my hand shaking and I was fumbling my words even though I knew the subject well, because everyone was looking at me. It was a relief to have that behind me, but it made me realise that the next time would definitely be better because I was now experienced!
The first step is, of course, the hardest, but if you forge new neural pathways in your brain and use them regularly, these pathways become your new normal and although they can take work, it really does become easier.
Each time I have spoken since, it has definitely improved because my brain is no longer tricking me into thinking this is a scary event. By using my public speaking neural pathway often I have overridden my brain’s false perception of what was intimidating and now I always imagine when speaking that the audience are there because they want to listen to me speak and am interested in what I have to say.”
About the Author: Caroline Prout is based in our Thrapston clinic in rural East Northamptonshire. Caroline chose to retrain as a hypnotherapist after her own anxiety led to physical health problems and a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. “One of the things that helped me the most in my recovery was understanding how our brains work and why that can have such a huge impact on our wellbeing, both physical and mental and this is something I now share with all my clients”. Using her own experiences and training Caroline specialises in helping people overcome anxiety and chronic conditions such as CFS, Fibromyalgia and IBS.
So if you’re feeling stuck with old behaviour patterns and struggling to change your ways maybe it’s time to contact your nearest Inspired to Change hypnotherapist to book your FREE initial consultation. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
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