Challenge Your Brain and Change Your Patterns

Challenge Your Brain and Change Your Patterns
Challenge Your Brain and Change Your Patterns

It is almost 2019.   My challenge to you is to pick an old habit that is no longer serving you and change your pattern.  This will reduce boredom, reduce your risk for injury and change your life.  I wrote this blog a few years ago, but feel it can help you today.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

i just finished reading Jill Bolte Taylor's book, "My Stroke of Insight."  Jill is a neuroanatomist who had a stroke that damaged her "left brain."  She writes not only about how the stroke impacted her life, but also how the two sides of the brain impact what we do, how we behave and the peace or chaos we feel in our life. I learned in school what each side of the brain did from a physical standpoint, but her book outlines it from a psychological and personality standpoint. I highly recommend reading the book (because it is good for your brain!). My favorite chapters for those of you who don't want to read the whole thing are chapters 15-19. If you are really busy, you can also watch her story on YouTube at the following link:

I have always been fascinated about how the body and mind work so perfectly together. I have known that peace in the world begins one heart at a time and I can either add to peace or chaos. There are days I can access that peace and pass on healing to those who come to me in pain. There are other days, when I can barely shut off my busy self-absorbed mind that chatters incessantly. On my journey for healing and peace in the world, this is what I learned from this story and want to teach you:

1) Our "Right Brain" controls the functioning of the left side of our body. Information from all of our senses comes into the brain and the right brain makes a master collage of what all the information looks like in "pictures." It is not concerned with the details, just how it all fits together. It creates a picture of the space around us and our relationship to that space. It is our creative mind. It helps us remember moments with clarity as to all the pictures, smells, and emotions that were felt. It gives us those warm feelings of being connected. No time exists except the present moment and it exists vibrant with sensation. It is what people mean when they say "I feel it in my heart or soul."  In our right mind, the only moment is NOW! There are no rules or regulations or "right" way of doing things, therefore we can be creative. You have all felt it, it is when you are "in the groove" at whatever you are doing and you don't have to think about it. It is spontaneous, carefree and imaginative. We are all one when we can inhabit our "Right Brain." This is where our intuition and "gut feelings" arise.

2) Our "Left Brain" controls the right side of the body. It thrives on the details of the information coming in. It breaks present moment information into manageable bits of data. It categorizes, lists, compares, files, and retrieves information to keep us organized and on task. It creates stories about the information to help us make sense. It creates edges, boundaries, rules to keep us safe and organized. It separates us as individuals different from those around us. It judges the information that is coming in. It is great at critical analysis of all information. It excels in academics and manifests a sense of authority over the details it masters. It allows you to process large amounts of information without overload. Our language center is found here and speaks to us constantly. It defines who we are. It reacts to protect us. Without the left brain you would lose track of your life and forget who you are and how you relate to those around you.

This was a "stroke of insight" because the author realized that prior to her stroke she functioned mostly with "Left Brain" dominance. We all have a dominance we use, some of us find it easier to be creative and have difficulty with facts and figures. We think in pictures and make decisions by the way "things feel" (that's me) - Right Brain.  Others think in facts and figures. They have great memorizing skills and easy recall - Left Brain. But we all have the ability to tap into the "other side." The first 90 seconds of a response to incoming stimuli (sight, sound, etc.) is usually an automatic response. We were designed that way to protect ourselves from harm, because in a dire situation if you wait to think, you could be dead. But after the 90 seconds, we have a moment where we get to choose. In that moment you get to decide how each stimuli (stressor) is going to impact your day. You will first fall back on which side of the brain is dominant. I am proposing that you take the time to go to the "other side" and process the information before you make your choice. So for me (right brain dominant), I need to think about the facts, figures and outcome before I make my choice. I may have to give myself time. And if you are a "left brain" person, take the time to ask your right brain the best way to connect.

So the bottom line is use your amazing brain every day to learn new things. Figure out what hemisphere you are comfortable in, and then go and explore the other side. You will be amazed at how your life will change. I was.