Unleash the power of your mind
to change your brain &
foster surprising achievement
Not long ago, we were taught that your brain is hard-wired and losing cells daily, and there’s not much you can do to change it or slow the process of decline. But recent breakthroughs in neuroscience research suggest that the human brain is far more flexible, resilient and open to change than anyone ever thought. You can manage your brain, helping it to grow beyond its current limits. Your brain can evolve and improve throughout your lifetime, supporting the development of new skills.
Recent years have brought a wave of books that reintroduce us to the brain and explore its amazing potential. In two of my favorites, leading scientists use ordinary language to describe how the brain works and how we each can use our mind to manage our own brain, whether we’re seeking greater achievement or a happier life.
Perhaps the most intriguing is by Alzheimer’s scientist Rudy Tanzi and prolific spiritual and medical writer Deepak Chopra. Their book is “Super Brain – Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being.”
“The human brain can do far more than anyone ever thought,” Chopra and Tanzi say. The brain is malleable. Because of its “neuroplasticity,” your brain is constantly changing. And you have the power to promote and help shape that change. This can be the “golden age for your brain,” they say, and you can develop a “super brain.” Your super brain will help you to thrive on activity and change, staying in a good mood despite the unexpected.
“The Emotional Life of Your Brain” is written by another influential neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, and respected science writer Sharon Begley. You can train your brain to shift your “Emotional Style” to one that is more resilient, positive and aware, according to Davidson and Begley. Your Emotional Style is your way of responding to experiences and challenges, and is governed by identifiable, measurable brain circuits. Through simple exercises and practices like meditation, you can rewire your circuits and change the way you function on a daily basis.
Here are 4 tips for using your mind to transform your brain:
- Manage your thoughts. “The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. As it listens, it learns,” say Chopra and Tanzi. In other words, if you think limiting thoughts like, “I can’t remember a thing,” your brain will perform in a way that is consistent with your expectations. But you can push your brain to a higher level of performance, including by “trading out toxic beliefs,” adopting a higher vision and enthusiastically learning new things.
- Become more adaptable. Highly successful people, like Albert Einstein, aren’t simply more intelligent than the rest of us. According to Chopra and Tanzi, they use their brain in a way that is keyed to success. And the “key is adaptability.” Einstein developed the strengths of “Letting go, being flexible and hanging loose.” Instead of remaining stuck in the same old behaviors you, too, can become more adaptable. You need to stop repeating what never worked in the first place. And “See righteous anger for what it really is – destructive anger dressed up to sound positive.”
- Express gratitude. You can make your Emotional Style more positive through exercises that promote well-being, say Davidson and Begley. They suggest you “Pay attention to times you say ‘thank you.’ When you do, look directly into the eyes of the person you are thanking and muster as much genuine gratitude as you can.” And at the end of each day journal about your moments of gratitude.
- Try mindfulness meditation. By meditating, you can change your brain and become more self aware and resilient. Davidson and Begley suggest you try out mindfulness meditation with a simple technique involving awareness of breathing:
- Sit upright on the floor or a chair, with a straight spine and a relaxed but erect posture.
- Focus on your breathing, on the sensations it triggers in your abdomen and throughout your body.
- Focus on the tip of your nose, noticing the sensations with each breath.
- When you are distracted by unrelated thoughts, simply return your focus to your breathing.
Bev’s Tips have been arriving as a zine on Tuesday mornings about 20 times a year since 2004. For more Tips, sign up for the zine, go to the zine archive or visit Bev’s blog. We’d love to hear your comments here on threejoy.com, or email Bev at: firstname.lastname@example.org.