Saturday, 18 November 2017

Week 3 - Neurons that fire together wire together

Thank you, Dean Ware, for the simple explanation:

"Neurons that fire together wire together.

To oversimplify:  Our brain cells communicate with one another via synaptic transmission–one brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) that the next brain cell absorbs.  This communication process is known as “neuronal firing.”  When brain cells communicate frequently, the connection between them strengthens.  Messages that travel the same pathway in the brain over & over begin to transmit faster & faster.  With enough repetition, they become automatic.  That’s why we practice things like hitting a golf ball–with enough practice, we can go on automatic pilot."
So if we get used to feeling bad about others, feelings of jealousy, etc, we increase those feelings.
On the other hand, if we work and practise gratitude, self-love, those feelings become stronger too.  
You have more power to change your brain for the better. See it like a muscle; the more you work it, the stronger it becomes. If you feel that you tend to be negative, don’t ostracise yourself, because this comes from survival.

Week 2 - Wiring in the pause

Wiring in the pause – To form new habits, we need to first become aware of the current habits. Practise noticing without judging.
Neuroplasticity – Take 5 deeps breaths when you notice a habit you have decided you want to change. Train yourself, be gentle with yourself, listen carefully, learn to interpret those first signs of those feelings or moments that trigger you. Act quickly to breathe in and out, to catch yourself, send love to whatever you feel at that moment. I chose to notice my phone use.

"1.     Every time you reach for your phone, pause and take 5 deep breaths.
2.     At the end of the breaths, notice how you feel.
a)    What was your ability to stay committed to the exercise?
b)    How did you feel at the end of each 5 breath pause?
c)     Any physical sensations?
d)    Did the pause open up a clarity?
e)    Did you redirect your actions?
f)     Did you find yourself taking the 5 breaths outside the assigned times?"
Excerpt from #yogaMOOC website

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Awakening to habits

I am interested in this theory that if we change our experiences, our habits, we can change our brain, the way we are wired. I find the concept of neuroplasticity exciting in all the hope it brings us, because it empowers us to change the way we are wired. This is so much more exciting than the idea that we are who we are and are stuck with all our habits, because they define us. Now, in order to change habits, we need to start by identifying them, by seeing them, by noticing them. Personally, whenever I try this, I bring in all sorts of judgment; both positive and negative, so I see this course as an opportunity to teach myself how to notice, without liking or disliking. I think that this will allow me to learn more about myself, what triggers me, what my action/reaction chains are like.