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Reprogram Your Brain, Change Your Life

Reprogram Your Brain, Change Your Life

Mental blocks. They’re referred to as limiting self-beliefs, negative anchors, and hereditary fears. They are the things that stop you from doing what you want to do, not because you don’t want to do them, but because you fool yourself into thinking you can’t.

Here are the first steps to reprogramming your brain and changing how you see the world.

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Rethink the Language You Use

The term “programming,” has been intentionally used. Language has a direct impact on your brain chemistry, which simply does as it’s told. Importantly, your brain has no option but to agree with what’s suggested if it’s offered no compelling alternatives, so when you tell it something is going to be hard, or huge, or impossible; it agrees. Through changing the terminology used, you can adjust your perceptions subconsciously, and in doing so adjust your brain chemistry ever so slightly, giving you an advantage over fear.
It’s hard to overcome fear, but easy to reprogram something.
Going for a long run on a hot day is difficult, but popping out for a jog is enjoyable.
If we make things large in our minds, they will become large in reality. Remember, your brain follows direct instruction, so offer it easier and more digestible presuppositions.

Teach Yourself That Life Is Good

You know that overwhelming feeling, when it seems like all you do in life is work? The tension in your chest that comes from feeling like you can’t escape, the headache that results from stress and the mysterious muscular pain that shouldn’t exist after sitting at a desk all week. Contrary to popular belief, stress doesn’t eventuate through hard work, but rather through not seeing any way out, or a light at the end of the tunnel. When you forget why you’re doing something, the relevance of it in relation to life diminishes – and you begin to question its validity, and then yours as the person completing it.

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“Why am I doing this?”

Through offering yourself a reward, you can put your brain in a more positive frame, thinking less about what needs to be done, and more about the end result. However, this can come with dire consequences, as anyone who’s been exposed to drug addiction, or alcoholism will attest to – make sure your reward creates a positive impact and doesn’t become your reason for doing everything. Addicts will look back fondly to their first years of substance abuse, the efforts they would put in at work, looking forward to that drink at the end of the day, before the drink became the only thing that mattered.

Discipline Yourself, and Your Mind

Most of us just think reactively, allowing in whatever images or comments that happen to be floating around. Through this, we are also reactive in our moods, which are dictated by our thoughts. It’s important to note that your experience of anything is simply an interpretation; it’s why one person can love an experience – skydiving for example – and how another can be terrified at the mere thought of it. Same experience, different interpretation.

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The same applies to daily living. We may choose to take other people’s behaviors or actions personally, and in doing so make ourselves angry, producing chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, which were used by our ancient ancestors to prepare for battle, or retreat hurriedly from a predator, but serve little purpose when someone runs a red light in front of you.

Instead, depersonalize the event and treat it as an occurrence, rather than something that, “happened to you.” Realize that the world isn’t personally attacking you, and don’t allow feelings of self-pity or self-importance to cloud your judgment. You’ll experience an increase in the chemicals that produce happiness and inner peace, such as dopamine and serotonin, and most importantly, you’ll be able to handle stressful situations much more easily.

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Your brain is a computer, and when programmed with intention, it can reduce the impact of negative events, and encourage focused action towards the things you love.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Jasso via unsplash.com

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Rhys Knight

Head of Content at www.knight.global

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

Throughout the ages, there have been many beliefs in various tricks to boosting brain power, yet when held up to scientific scrutiny, most of these beliefs don’t add up.

When I was a child, for example, my mother told me if I ate fish it would make me more intelligent. Of course, there’s no scientific proof this is true.

Today, there is a myriad of games you can download to your phone that claims to improve your brain’s cognitive skills. While we are still waiting for a conclusive scientific verdict on these, recent studies by neuroscientists at Western University in Ontario[1] and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia appear to contradict these claims.[2]

So, how can we really boost our brain power? Well, it turns out there are a number of simple things you can do that will improve the function of your brain. Here are seven to get you started.

1. Do Your Most Difficult Tasks in the Morning

Our brains work at their best when they are fresh and energized after a good night’s sleep.

If you have a task to do that requires a lot of thought and focus, the best time to do that task would be first thing in the morning when your brain is at its freshest.

This is one of the reasons why checking email first thing the morning is not a good idea. You are wasting your brain’s best hours on a simple task that can be done when your brain is not at its freshest

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Throughout the day, you will find the amount of time you can focus for will fall. Your decision-making abilities will also begin to weaken as the day progresses. This is called “decision fatigue” and that means the decisions you make later in the day will not be as good as the decisions you make earlier in the day.

It’s far better to do your most difficult, creative tasks early taking advantage of your brain’s higher energy levels.

Try to avoid meetings first thing in the morning and schedule work that needs higher creative energy and concentration.

2. Get Enough Breaks

Our brains are not very good at maintaining concentration and focus for much more than an hour. Once you go beyond a certain amount of time, doing focused work, you will find yourself making more and more mistakes. This is a sign your brain is tired and needs a break.

Taking the right kind of break is important. Switching from working on a complex spreadsheet to checking your social media feeds is not going to give your brain the right kind of break. Instead, get up from your desk and head outside. If that is not possible, go to the nearest window and look outside.

Your brain needs a break from the screen, not just the spreadsheet, so leave your phone behind so you are not tempted to look at it and just savour the view.

3. Read Books, not Social Media Feeds

There are no shortcuts to improved knowledge and you are certainly not going to improve your general knowledge about anything useful by reading social media feeds. Instead, make reading books a regular habit.

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When you read good quality books, you increase your ability to use the knowledge you learn to solve problems as your brain will apply the knowledge you learned to existing situations.

Learn about economic theory, history and psychology. All these topics have real practical applications for us all today.

4. Exercise Regularly

Humans did not evolve to be stationary animals. You need to move.

Had our ancestors spent their days sat around, they would not have survived very long. To survive and find food, our ancestors had to keep moving. Our brains have evolved to function at their best when we are exercised.

In his book, Brain Rules, Prof.John Medina explains when we exercise, we increase the amount of oxygen in our brains and this helps to sharpen our brain’s functions.

In studies, when a previously sedentary group of people began a light exercise programme, their cognitive skills improve as well as reaction times and quantitive skills.

This is why you are more likely to find the solution to a problem when you are walking somewhere or exercising rather than when you are sat at a desk in front of a screen.

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5. Get Enough of the Right Food

You probably have experienced the afternoon slump at some point in your life. This is when you feel tired and fatigued in the mid-afternoon. This is a result of the carbohydrates you ate at lunchtime, stimulating your body to produce insulin which then causes a drop in your blood sugar levels.

When you go into an afternoon slump, concentrating for long periods become almost impossible and you just want to curl up and go to sleep.

To prevent the afternoon slump, try to eat a protein-rich lunch such as a tuna or chicken salad without pasta, rice or bread. Keep some healthy snacks such as mixed nuts and dried bananas around your workspace and when you feel a little peckish, eat a few of these.

Not only will you avoid the afternoon slump, but you will also improve your overall general health and feel a lot more energetic.

6. Drink Enough Water

Your brain is made up of about 70% water, so without enough water, your brain will not function at its best.

When you are not drinking enough water, you will find your ability to concentrate, make decisions and stay alert will reduce. You will feel sleepy and lack energy. Your brain functions at its best when it is properly hydrated.

The solution is to keep a large bottle of water at your work station and sip regularly from it throughout the day. This will increase the number of trips you need to make to the bathroom which is a good thing. It will keep you moving and taking regular breaks from your screen.

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7. Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

You probably don’t need a long scientific study to convince you that if you are not getting enough sleep, you are not going to function at your best.

You just need to go a couple of days without getting enough sleep and you feel your abilities reduce. Your decision-making skills become erratic, your energy levels drop and your ability to stay focused on your work diminishes.

If you want to improve your brain’s ability to function, then start with getting enough sleep. The number of hours you need will depend on your own circadian rhythms, so find what works best for you.

Six to eight hours is usually enough for most people so make sure you are hitting that number of hours per night as a minimum.

The Bottom Line

Improving our brain power is not difficult. All we need to do is develop a few simple habits such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods.

These seven tips will go a long way to helping you to become more alert, able to focus longer and make decisions. All simple common sense tricks anyone can use.

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Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

Reference

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