I have some great news for you! You are not stuck with your brain the way it is. You have the power to change your behaviors, your mind and your brain.
Because our brains are physical organs, it has long been thought that we can’t change our brains, but we can change our minds. Scientists are learning, though, that we can change our brains, and our behaviors have a lot to do with that.
In the world of neuroplascity, it has been found that the brain actually does have the ability to change, according to medicinenet.com. If injured the brain can form new synapses and connections into adulthood, although only in certain areas. The brain can reorganize itself by forming new connections throughout life.
In addition, the brain’s physical composition can alter in response to needs and experiences, which means that if we change our needs and experiences, we can change our brains, according to J. R. Thorpe in “Can You Rewire Your Brain?”
He adds, though, scientists and doctors are still not educated enough about the mechanisms that govern such changes to manipulate them. The thing they’ve found that does work is what is called “experience-dependent plascity.”
This is basically the same as repeating a good habit instead of a bad habit. The reason scientists haven’t discovered why this works is because they haven’t factored in the power of God to direct us in why we need to change in the first place. God will lead us to what we need change and why when we make a determination to change, really change for the rest of our lives.
What we do is dependent upon what we think, feel and believe. If we have formed a habit of using certain foods to reward or comfort us when were are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, that habit has formed a neural pathway in our brain. When we repeat a cycle over and over again, it becomes hard-wired into our brain by that very repetition.
Healthy In, Healthy Out
Remember the old saying, garbage in, garbage out? If we have a bad habit, it began with us thinking whatever we were doing was helpful for us. Such as baking a pan of brownies and eating the majority of them brings us pleasure or calms us at the end of a hard day.
That’s garbage in and the result is the bad action, or garbage out. So how do we change that? We have to change the input. Instead of garbage, we put in healthy thoughts. Then, we will have healthy actions as a result. Healthy in, healthy out.
Here’s the problem. The garbage is still there in our minds. Remember, though, even science is understanding that our brains change because of experience-driven plascity.
So how do we change our input so our experience will change, thus changing our minds and then our actual physical brains? We make a firm decision based on what our overriding desire is. As we practice the healthy habit it replaces the bad habit.
For example, at 430 pounds I really wanted to lose weight in order for me to live and have a quality life. I had to do my part to stop the thief from killing, stealing and destroying my destiny so I could receive the abundant life1 Jesus promised me. I had to keep that desire in the forefront of mind.
Then, I made a decision to stop a bad habit. The first one I choose to stop was eating candy, which had become a trigger food for me. In it’s place, I started a new experience of exercising three times a day for 30 minutes.
I put firm boundaries around the bad habit and focused on the good habit. I made appointments with myself to exercise. Exercise wasn’t an appointment I saw as one I could go to if I felt like it or not. It was as important as anything else I had to do that day.
As I started down this road, I began to see how exercise was more important that anything else I had on my calendar because it was a vehicle to change my mind and my brain.
I had gotten so set in my ways after years of relying on foods made with sugar and flour to comfort me, protect me and even be a companion, that it took time to get this mindset change ingrained in me. After a few months it became a habit. Now after years of doing this exericse has become my first choice when I am stressed or overwhlemed.
That voice in my mind says, “Did you exercise today? Did you choose to eat something that is less than the most healthy thing you could have eaten? Why not go exercise now?” I love that my brain has changed. I love that mind is now helping me rather than working against me.
We can change our minds and that will change our brains. Scientists are now saying the same thing. The problem is, they haven’t identified the secret weapon, but I have. It is the power of God at work within His children.
The Holy Spirit was always whispering to me what the best choices were, but until I focused on what He was telling me and learned how to reinforce positive habits instead of negative, nothing changed.
After losing more than 250 pounds, I now live knowing with God helping me I can change from the inside and see that change reflected on the outside. The key is I just have to listen and obey.
“Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”2
On my own, I would not have been able to arrive at this ability or continue to use the tool of stop-start on a myriad of my other bad habits. I had a coach who helped me, a group of peers who were on a similar journey with all of us focusing on God as our leader and director.
This is why I started Overcomers Community. I wanted others to have this same level of teaching, coaching, encouragement, support and interaction. To learn more about how Overcomers Community can help on your healthy living journey, go here: https://Teresashieldsparker.com/Overcomers-Christian-weight-loss-group.
It would be my distinct honor and pleasure to help you on your journey. Let’s do this together. I’ll see you in the group.
1John 10:10 NLT
2Romans 12:2 MSG