Inspiration

How Habits Are Wired in the Brain

Written by: Nick Ortner

Let’s talk about CHANGE. It’s something most of us want, in some aspects of our lives or other, yet we struggle so much to make it happen.

Neurons-that-fire-togetherYou’ve probably heard of the statement regarding the brain that, “Neurons that fire together, wire together…”

Attributed to Donald Hebb, a neuropsychologist, it means that every experience we have, and their associated feelings, emotions, physical experiences and so forth, become embedded in our brains. And the more an action is repeated, the stronger the connection between these “neurons” or brain cells.

Thus, a professional golfer who has swung a golf club tens if not hundreds of thousands of times can do it without thinking. Whereas if you’ve never played golf, your first couple (or thousand!) swings might be a little…uh… “interesting”. 🙂

The same patterns apply to our daily experiences. Some are simple, like brushing our teeth. Others are more “complex” (yet still simple in many ways!), like how we interact with people in our lives, how we react in certain situations, the emotional states we tend to live in, etc.

A Simple Exercise to Interrupt Old, Unwanted Patterns With Tapping

Writing-Down-2Tapping is designed to interrupt these old patterns, and release the stagnant emotional memories, energy, and brain patterns from old habits, while establishing new ones. 

This exercise will help you do that. Firstly, pick a single day when you’re going to “practice” this approach. The day before, identify the things you want to do the next day, but are more likely to put off. For example, items on this list might include:

  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Being more focused at work
  • Skipping Facebook for a day
  • Spending more time with your kids
  • Working on your creative passions
  • Being more patient with “X”

We’re looking for the things that at the end of day, on many nights, you say to yourself, “Shoot, another day when I didn’t do…”

“Another day I said I was going to exercise and I didn’t! Another day I said I was going to be more patient and I wasn’t!” (And take a look at what you do every night as you review your day – you reinforce these patterns of “NOT” doing stuff! More brain neurons firing and wiring together, making the experience more likely to happen again).

Your Job Is Simple, Interrupt Old Patterns…

interrupt-2OK, so now you have your list (and you don’t have to be “perfect” – you can just pick one or two items), and your day begins. Your job for today, is just to practice this: INTERRUPT old patterns, using tapping, and put new patterns in place.

Let me give you an example of how I used this the other day.

I’ve wanted to meditate in the morning more often, even for just 10 minutes, to set a clear intention for my day and start it off right. And I’ve really been wanting to change the pattern of the way I’ve been waking up, which is checking my email right away, sometimes even just minutes after waking up! Things have been so busy, and there’s always so many exciting things going on that I’ve gotten into this pattern of checking emails.

So what I did last night is set the intention to change this pattern, and then when I woke up this morning… here’s what happened… (And it’s likely going to happen to you, so pay attention to the details of the experience!)

I had the mental pattern in place to check emails as soon as I woke up… it had become routine… so when I felt that pull (it’s weird, if you pay close attention to it, it almost feels like a craving!) to check my email, I stopped and did just a few minutes of tapping.

Here’s An Example of How to Tap For This Exercise…

Karate Chop: Even though I want to check my email right now… I deeply and completely love and accept myself…
Karate Chop: Even though I have this old pattern of checking email… I choose to behave differently right now…
Karate Chop: Even though part of me wants to check email, it’s just what I do, it’s who I am, I choose to change this pattern and meditate now…

Eyebrow: Part of me wants to check email…
Side of the Eye: I’ve got this old pattern…
Under the Eye: That wants to keep running…
Under the Nose: This old pattern…
Under the Mouth: Of checking email…
Collarbone: And I choose to let it go now…
Under the Arm: It’s safe to make a different choice…
Top of the Head: And meditate now…

This Simple Tapping Exercise Can Change an Unwanted Pattern

That’s it, nice and simple! You can obviously do more rounds, but sometimes just one round can be enough to take the “edge” off the old pattern and establish a new one.

So play with this, use it throughout the day. Catch your brain when it’s looking to run the same patterns, and give it a different option.

And for me this morning, it worked! I sat down and meditated for ten minutes and it really helped propel me forward into a more productive and focused day. 

Try it today, and comment on your experience below!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner


What did you think of the exercise?  Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below!



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