Neuroplasticity is a term used to describe the brain’s ability to learn a new skill or reframe past learn behaviours. Remember that first driving lesson? So much to take in, the clutch, the steering wheel, changing gear, let alone navigating busy roads and roundabouts. Do you remember thinking it impossible and you would never be able to co-coordinate the process?
Amazingly, here you are now, driving around, listening to a podcast and thinking about 101 different things whilst simultaneously thinking about where you are heading to. Now here is the thing – you are not thinking about driving the car, it’s almost become automatic because you now have neural pathways in your brain related to that skill which is ‘driving’. Yes, it took lots of practice, constant repetition and time to establish those pathways but now they are so well established it’s what we might call ‘second nature’.
It can be much the same with most of the ways we think and react to many of our behaviours and decisions. The more we do a specific action or thought, we create a pathway in the brain. Whether it be smoking when we feel stressed and worried, snacking when perhaps we feel upset or biting our nails when we feel nervous. As the chemicals in our brain travel down a familiar route, they flow across the same synaptic gaps in between brain cells as they did last time and the gates at the end of the brain cell open more readily in response to those chemicals. Quite literally, a structural path is formed which gets stronger and more resilient the more we repeat it. So much so, that it can seem difficult or even impossible to act or think differently – the brain repeats what is familiar and follows the path of least resistance and, guess what, a habit appears out of nowhere that is pretty much unconscious.
The brilliant news is that you can use this to your benefit. Even if you want to go to exercise more often, have a soft drink rather than open a bottle of wine or simply calm your mind in the face of a stressful situation. We can work together to change habits, reframe past events or simply improve our self-esteem, confidence and self-care to be kinder to ourselves.
Hypnotherapy is the optimal tool for breaking down old unhelpful pathways and building new bridges and pathways to replace the familiar unhelpful thought processes. It’s even possible to generate new brain cells long into adulthood. You can makes changes to your life that you didn’t think possible with some gentle coaching, exploring and deep relaxation to enable your subconscious to make all those beneficial changes.