Do you ever wonder what will happen if you do the opposite?
What if instead of cussing at the person who cuts you off in traffic, you wave and smile at them? What if instead of getting frustrated at your partner for not doing what you asked, you ask them how you can help? What if you brush your teeth with your left hand instead of your right?
All these things feel different at first. We’re doing the opposite of what our brain has been trained to do. But like any new thing, the more you do it, the more normal it becomes.
By making these different choices we are creating new neural networks in our brain. These networks become strengthened over time with consistent use. And neural pathways that don’t get used as often grow weaker and eventually disappear.
Wouldn’t it be nice to not have that instinct to yell and get frustrated by other people and their actions? Or to be ambidextrous?
These are all new and different approaches I’ve been trying lately, and it’s not easy. I have to remind myself and really focus. Especially on brushing my teeth so toothpaste doesn’t spray everywhere! But I think my teeth are benefitting from the extra consciousness. As are my relationships. There are plenty of automatic responses I have that I know are not ideal and really want to change. I can start by creating a new, more productive neural network with a different action and response. Can you?