4 June, 2019
How are you feeding your brain?
by Anila Bashllari
I will start this article with a tale from the tradition of American indigenous people. The tale speaks about the way we feed our thoughts.
An old man was having a conversation with his nephew about the thoughts that were going through his mind. According to the old man, thoughts were like two wolves, one of which was greedy, revengeful and manipulator while the other compassionate, generous and peaceful. The nephew asks his grandfather: “Grandfather, which wolf will win?” The old man, thinking about the question, says: “The one I will feed the most.”
The same thing happens in our mind all the time. The thoughts we feed the most become stronger and stronger. They create our beliefs and convictions about the reality and direct our life even though we are unconscious about this process 95% of the time.
The easiest way we can identify our thinking patterns is by analyzing our results. If we are not satisfied with the current results and want to perform better, then we should feed the types of thoughts that will improve our thinking and help us get the desired results.
Our brain is like a muscle. Everything we see, read or understand creates our thinking models. Neuroscientists claim such fact and explain it through neuroplasticity, the theory according to which we could influence our thinking patterns and the way we see the world.
Neuroplasticity helps us to reflect on:
- The type of information our brains get every day
- The sources of information and
- Is this information healthy for our brain?
…as well as other aspects.
To make this clearer, let’s take an example: suppose you get up in the morning, turn the TV on and hear two or three bad news in a row. Your brain is getting filled with negative information such as murder, violence, destruction, etc. According to the latest neuroscience studies, such information can make you have negative feelings and influence your thoughts during the day. It can cause you to feel disguise, pain, insecurity about the world you are living in, et cetera.
Do you think such feelings will affect your emotional state during the day? Do you think such information will change your way of thinking, your behaviors?
I think it does…
According to neuroscientists, these types of information influence our emotional state. Being aware of this, I choose to not turn on the TV in the morning but I only read the news headlines and I focus on what I really need to read.
I suggest you feed your brain with information that motivates you, information that helps you achieve your goals during the day. Another alternative would be to listen to your favorite music, the kind of music that makes you feel good and increases the dopamine levels in your brain.
You should know that everything we hear, listen or see affects in our brain and our thoughts, subconsciously.
And if you want to start taking control of what information your brain processes, let’s do this exercise:
Sit in a quiet place and relax. Start to notice the type of information you are thinking of right now and also what emotions you are feeling at the moment. The brain is a continuous dialogue between positive and negative thoughts. It is possible for us to hear the positive thoughts but to do that we need to silence the negative ones. This process takes a new level of awareness which can help to remind us more often about the types of thoughts that we are thinking.
Such process seems so easy but in fact it is not. If it would be easy, people would be thinking positive thoughts all the time. But, the daily life, neuroscience and many analyses on the human behavior prove the contrary. We mostly feed our negative thoughts because we experience fear and we try to find solutions.