Brain Hacks for Neural-Normals

Another new year is upon us. So many challenges still looming from 2020. As Covid 19 wreaks havoc on our ability to live and love, it’s also making it difficult to love living. Business as usual is no more therefore, life as we once knew it, may be changed permanently, Ugh… But this Spring there does seem to be light shining through… For me, it has been like losing the floor and ceiling all at once! Can you relate?

This contrast in COVID symptoms, the very random nature of its nature is what’s keeping us all on edge. The very idea of the unpredictable nature of this pathogen and now varients, should be setting alarm bells off which say, stay home more, social distance, mask up and soap up to protect you and your loved ones... Get vaccinated as soon as you can! Yet, there are still those out there not believing that a crisis exists.

Some days, I need a big push just to get myself out the door. And there lay the issue… The brain games. The ability of our thoughts to be uncontrollably dominated by issues of which we have no control.

This life altering, historical cluster of months, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds means that BIG TIME STRESS has moved to the forefront and self-care has been placed in the background for maybe, SPRING.

A term used to describe the tools needed for getting through tough or uncertain times of crisis is “coping skills or crisis management.” Another term popularized most recently due to the dawning of AI and Autonomics is “Brain Hacking.” That is how this missive came to be… I have been busy creating brain hacking strategies to help me push through so that I do not lose my neurological connection to all that I know and love and so that I do not become uncontrollably obsessive about the new realities facing us/me daily.

While some are getting back into some kind of pace, most of us are no longer carrying on business as usual. Our daily life patterns have been altered. This means that literally our neurological response to life and all things around us has to change as well.

Since the Pandemic stay at home begun, I along with many others feel pretty restricted. Some days, it seems like time is moving sideways. Brain and body seem to be in rebellion for whatever might feed its need for comfort and information. My responses to the little things has changed. I seem to have adopted an air of hyper vigilance which, at times, makes me a bit up tight and on edge. Thank god I am married to a person who literally takes very little seriously. His lack of concern, while sometimes concerning, seems to bring calm and levity to this plight.

So, what is brain hacking? How do you get started? And what resources do you need to help you succeed?

Brain Hacking is our ability to shift behavior by replacing it with another more desirable one…To go into your neurological hard drive and create positive or negative change. Here are some basic strategies for you to explore. There is no better time than now to get started. The mind set necessary is your willingness to want to affect positive change for yourself.

Brain Hack #1 — Recognize and Acknowledge your present state of consciousness by LEANING INTO A GUIDED MOMENT OF SILENCETake some time to sit quietly. Pick your fav spot of your home or office. All electronic gadgets off. Take 20 to shutout the world and recharge. While seated or laying down begin to take several deep directed breaths into your center. Feel your muscles relax and the clutter in your head slowly evaporate. Release all expectations and shut out all the “shoulds” for a while and begin to connect to what is. With each breath begin to recognize the source of pull or stress or obsession and focus on letting go momentarily. Once you feel yourself begin to let go, recognize the source of disruption and conflict and acknowledge it. Like an ancient warrior, call in the assistance of your ancestors. Thank them for giving you life and ask their assistance in this moment then, let go and know the power of the universe is with you. This is just an example of something you can do to CREATE A NEURAL NEUTRAL BRAIN STATE. A brain state where you can begin to observe your own response to life and create a shift in thinking and how you move forward. Recognition and Acknowledgement is key. These two things will help create a sort of neurological opening for you to begin making change.

Brain Hack #2 — Create Clarity by making a plan. MAKE A LIST OF YOUR TRIGGERS. What seems to be really critical for getting through the day is remembering to create a daily purposeful pattern of tasks that connect you to you. Begin to take notice of triggers of task delay, interruption or resistance to moving forward. What is your trigger that moves you, motivates you or stops you from moving forward? While the downside is that there is less to do for most of us, the upside is that we have more time to spend exploring who we are to ourselves and to each other. It is from this place of awareness we can begin to create change. This will require a brain hack strategy of creating calm and clarity before laying down new tracks which will lead you to your desired outcome. LIST YOUR TRIGGERS so that you can become aware of which people, places and ideas pull you off center as well as ones that center you.

Brain hacking literally means to break a neurological impulse, a means of changing impulsive, thoughtless tasks or responses that might, in the end, set us up for failure; or worse, depression. Replacing neural-negative behavior with more constructive neural-positive/responsive behavior relative to your goals is what you are striving towards. CHAOS AND CONFLICT CAN CREATE A JAMMING OF OUR NEURAL SIGNALS… LIKE INTENSE ANGER. While it may be appropriate to be angry at some event or person, it is how you resolve your response to that circumstance that creates your neural footprint. We can affect positive changes in brain chemistry if we direct the power of our biological resources for a desired outcome.

By making a list of triggers you are initiating a feedback loop or conversation which, much like a computer solving a problem, your neurological system will naturally solve. It’s not magic…Well, it is magic however, you need to provide the right conditions for change to occur. Our autonomic nervous system is the most powerful system in our body. It literally is our hard drive. However, often we are told that it is programmed and not changeable. NOT TRUE. YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS is the other most powerful tool that you possess. Although you cannot see your consciousness you can feel it, mold it and expose it to conditions that are great for you or not so great for you. It is the interface where these two powerful tools meet that you can learn to affect change.

Brain Hack #3 — Replace your negative neural-nonsense behavior with a neural-nurturing behavior. HAVE A NEURAL-NEUTRAL STRATEGY.

Behavior replacement or creating neural-consciousness requires the first two steps… Creating a neural-neutral zone for your brain and understanding and acknowledging your triggers. Once these two steps are acknowledged the next phase is the practice phase…So next time…. You want to reach for a snack, go for a run or ride your bike or put on your favorite song and dance around your house. Next time you have the urge to thumb through your social media for 30 minutes, re read a chapter in your favorite book or write your favorite someone a letter/card, even if you do not send it. Next time you finding yourself losing your temper with someone, smile and give them a hug instead.

The practice of behavior replacement will literally reset your neural-circuitry and with practice will create a whole new story for you. Our thoughts and responses to events and activities are patterned. Some patterns are good, others lead us into the void of repetition without purpose; YOU HAVE A CHOICE AND A CHANCE TO CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the importance of purposeful exercise in for brain balancing.

PS…We ARE RESPONSIBLE for our best and worst moments. Our best and worst self is based on the reality that we create.

Janine is a mind-body wellness practitioner/coach with a specialty in ortho-bodywork & corrective exercise. She maintains a private practice in Camp Hill, Pa.

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