21 Days to Train the Brain
So they say it takes roughly 21 days to create a habit in one’s brain. Well, I’m ready to put this theory to the test! Although, I’m not sure if I’m the best lab rat to conduct brain research on. For some reason, be it genetic or environmental, (I also have a theory that someone pushed in my soft spot as a baby, LOL!), I have a HORRIBLE short-term memory. I’m not exaggerating either. I think many people say this, but I really struggle–it sort of worries me… And… I’m done worrying now because I can’t remember what I was just writing about. Ok, it’s not that bad. Ha!
We Can All Use a Little Positivity
I’m naturally a positive person, especially when it comes to encouraging others. Hey, I was a cheerleader for most of my life. But seriously, I’m great at looking at the bright side for others, but for myself, I tend to doubt just like most people. This blog for one thing, is something I doubt at times. I kill myself sometimes pulling all nighters working in order to give my family the attention they deserve. While I’m exhausted the next day, I wonder if it’s all really worth it.
So anyhow, I’m sure you all know I’m a teacher. Well, I have an amazing co-worker who also has a blog, and she is creating mini lessons on neuroplasticity for our students. Neuroplasticity is the idea that one can create new neural pathways in their brain in order to achieve their personal needs. Sounds brilliant right? Okay, so how does one conduct this sort of, self brain surgery? Well, it actually seems pretty simple. I’m going to break down REALISTIC activities that you can do for the next 21 days to get you thinking more positive! Let’s start with week 1!
Let the Brain Surgery Begin! Week 1
Day 1: Start with the end in mind.
- Get a journal or calendar, heck, staple 21 pages if you have to!
- Number off each day of your journal. You will need 21 days!
- On the last day of your journal, Day 21, write down, “I am positive, and I will reach my goal.” This will be your final day, the day when your habit will be hardwired in your brain–well hopefully.
Day 2: What are some positive things that make you happy?
- On day 1 of your journal, you will brainstorm 3 things that make you happy. Make sure these thoughts are positive, or else it sort of defeats the purpose. Draw pictures, make a bullet point list, whatever…
- Now circle your number 1 happiest thought.
- Next, close your eyes and try to remember a specific memory from this thought in its rawest form.
- Visualize this in a quiet place for 15 seconds.
- This will be known as your “Happy Place.”
Day 3: What is one thought that makes you worry?
- On day 2 of your journal, you will write 1 thing that makes you uneasy.
- Now come up with 2 ways to counter that worrisome thought and write it down. For example, I’m worried about throwing all of this time, money, and energy into this blog, and not seeing a return in the next couple of years. So now I’m countering this thought with, “but what if I do succeed?” “What if this opens the door to something I’m not even expecting that will better the life of my family?”
- Now take your “Happy Place” visual, and imagine that thought for 15 seconds.
- Now take your countered thoughts from step 2 and find a way to connect these thoughts to your “Happy Place” thought. Spend another 15 seconds on this fabulous day-dream. I do realize that this may have to be a super creative day-dream, but find a way, even if you’re stretching it a bit with your imagination. For example–here’s mine… (Don’t judge me). My happy place is me with my family enjoying a day in nature. We are playing and enjoying each other absolutely worry free. So if I added my countered thoughts from step 2, I would really be day dreaming about my ultimate goal. So my goal would be to have my own non-profit organization where I counsel adolescents where I use my blog as this platform to help my teens–so I now imagine me working with my teens, yet also having the freedom to be with my family–sort of this work and play atmosphere.
Day 4-6: Visualize, Visualize, Visualize
- Find a quiet place first thing when you wake up.
- Ask yourself, can I reach my goal?
- Follow up with a confident YES, and begin to visualize your “Happy Place” with your countered thoughts from step 4 for 15 seconds.
Day 7: Reflect
- When you wake up, find the time to reflect in your journal by drawing out pictures or symbolic representations of your goal.
- Once you have your images drawn out, write your goal in a one sentence statement.
- Now repeat steps 2-3 from Days 4-6.
Congratulations! You are 1/3 of the way to having a retrained brain! Get mentally prepared for more positivity next week!
*Please note that I am not a licensed psychologist or counselor. I am also not an expert on neuroplasticity. I developed these activities based on my own personal knowledge and research on creating habits. Results may also differ and depend on the individual. For some, creating a habit may take more than 21 days–and I may be one of those people due to my short-term memory problem. : / Have fun with this y’all!
Fill out my “contact” form if you want to share anything positive from your first week!