How to Train Your Brain to Think Differently | Guest Post by Upasana Gala
The conversations you have with yourself have a significant impact on how you feel and behave, so you want to work to remove self-talk filled with harsh criticism and doubt. Otherwise, it is going to lead to pessimistic feelings that hold you back. For individuals who suffer from depression, low self-esteem, or anxiety, these inner dialogues often occur over long periods of time, meaning they adversely affect day-to-day functioning and severely diminish their ability to participate in life fully.
Luckily, there are proven methods for overcoming these negative feelings and conversations to help your brain overcome the darkness and savor life to the fullest. To learn more, keep reading to find out how to train your brain to think differently.
1. Catch unhelpful and unhealthy thoughts early
One of the best ways to begin training your brain to think differently is by paying attention when unhelpful and unhealthy thoughts start arising. When you think things such as “I’m such an idiot,” “No one likes me,” or “I am never going to achieve anything,” then these negative forecasts often turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Additionally, the more frequent your negative thoughts, the more likely they will prevent you from taking action.
However, if you get in the habit of catching these thoughts before they can spread or become recurring, then you can start replacing them with healthier and more helpful statements. For example, when you start thinking, “No one will ever hire me for a good job,” tell yourself, “The more effort I put into looking for jobs, the higher the likelihood that I will get hired.”
Similarly, if you often have anxious feelings before a social gathering and find yourself thinking, “This is going to be a disaster,” then you want to slow yourself down and provide yourself with a more balanced outlook. This may sound something like, “There’s a chance this won’t be fun, but there is also a chance I might have a great time. I am going to go with an open mind and not worry about what other people think.” If you often find yourself having similar unhealthy thoughts, you may benefit from developing a personal mantra that you can continuously use to resist the negative thinking.
2. Get to know your brain
There is no denying that the brain is the most complex part of the human body, making it both the most interesting and the most confusing. What’s more, all brains operate slightly differently, which is why it is vital that you become acquainted with your brain. By getting to know your brain’s patterns and triggers, you will be in a better position to start training it to think differently.
First and foremost, you want to determine what the most fitting sleeping routine for your brain is. By getting the right amount of sleep, your brain will have more time to heal and restore itself. If you aren’t regularly getting enough sleep, then your brain doesn’t have the chance to repair old or damaged brain cells, and you are going to suffer as a result. In fact, it is going to be harder for you to have quick mental processing, stable moods, and the necessary energy to learn.
Similarly, you also want to ensure you are giving your brain adequate nutrition. Some of the best foods for your brain include fatty fish (such as salmon, trout, and sardines), coffee, blueberries, orange, turmeric, broccoli, dark chocolate, nuts, eggs, and green tea.
3. Consider undergoing brain mapping
For individuals who are serious about training their brain to think differently, undergoing brain mapping is an effective option. Brain mapping is a collection of neuroscience techniques that measure electrical signals in different brain areas that can then be analyzed to detect brainwave patterns. As brain neurons communicate with each other by electrical exchange, these signals can be observed using electroencephalogram (EEG) scanners.
With this data, brainwave patterns can be compared against a reference database to see where there is too little or too much activity occurring in an individual’s brain. This process is effective because brainwave patterns are linked with emotional and neurological conditions. For example, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and agitation are often associated with over-arousal in specific brain areas. On the other hand, poor concentration and insomnia often occur when particular parts of the brain are under-aroused. By identifying amplitude, location, and dysregulation, this process builds an in-depth picture of an individual’s mental functioning, the brain’s current strengths and weaknesses, and whether there may be a potential problem.
Generally, brain mapping occurs prior to other neuroscience techniques (such as neurofeedback brain training or depression treatment in Dubai), as it aids in formulating a suitable plan of action moving forward.
4. Treat your brain like a muscle
Just as when you are learning any new skill or changing any habit or lifestyle choice, you need to give your brain time to start operating differently. For many individuals, it is beneficial to think of your brain as being like a muscle. And, just like when you are building any new muscle, you need to practice continuously to build it.
Research shows that by stimulating your brain and engaging your neuroplasticity, you can shift your thinking patterns and enhance your cognitive functions and decrease the chances of cognitive decline. Therefore, just as you keep your physical body working through exercise and movement, you also need to maintain your thinking muscles through mental stimulation.
Engaging in debates, reading new viewpoints, interacting with different people, and challenging yourself in new situations are all effective ways to get your brain “muscles” firing. Seek out opportunities where your brain has to think quickly and absorb new information. Every time you learn something new and opt to fill your mind with interesting and exciting information, you are treating your brain like a muscle, training it to stay open and interested, and enhancing your life-long learning ability.
Do you suffer from depression or anxiety? How would you like to change how your brain thinks? What steps are you going to take this year to help train your brain to think differently?