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Lesson 19: Neurons and our Habits of Thinking

For the last two decades there has been a tremendous amount of research on the brain and how it works. The research done in this area has also been translated in user-friendly explanation and concepts that are easy enough to access without knowing all the scientific lingo.

We believe that understanding how our brain(s) work can only give us more power to alter what happens in our brains and to manage some of the unwelcome behaviors that show up for no apparent reason in all of us human beings. With the concepts in mind we will offer ideas about how you can harness the natural tendencies of the brain so that you can have greater impact on your thinking. 

A Hundred Billion Neurons!

We have over 100 billion neurons in our brain(s). Nervous system cells are called neurons. These neurons connect with each other to create neuron pathways and send chemical and electrical signals to other cells in the body. These highways of information are also designed to allow the brain to conserve energy and waste energy to do the same things over and over when they could be done automatically (habitually) by the brain.  The brain recognizes a situation and says, “Hey, this is like what we did yesterday and the day before and there is a common response that this person has to that – so here it is. And then you say something or do something without even being aware that you just did that!

This is where our habits come from. Like driving a route, you frequently take to go to work or to a gathering. We just program our brain to respond with good driving habits to situations you encounter along the road. Suddenly you realize that you missed the turn to where you intended to go because you had been on autopilot driving.  The neuron pathway was well-traveled and overrode your initial intention of going to another destination! 

Now there are also those who believe we have neurons in our heart and our gut as well. Sometimes we say we overthink something in our head (brain), or we act with compassion from our heart and operating from our gut instinct. If this is true, we could ask you to get in touch with how your heart or gut might weigh in on your decisions.

Exercise: Listen to your Heart or your Gut

To do that is as simple as thinking about a situation that has been overwhelming your thinking. Write it down and then doing the following:

  • 1. Placing your hand on your heart,
  • 2. Taking slower and deeper breaths at a comfortable rhythm,
  • 3. Sending your thoughts from your head through your heart,
  • 4. Take a moment to think about a caring or compassionate act with a person, an animal, nature, or something important to you, and
  • 5. Listen to what wisdom comes from your heart. And now write that down to see if there is a different answer from your heart wisdom.
  • 6. You can also do this same exercise replacing heart with gut and thinking about a moment where you listened to your gut and your gut informed you well. With that trust in your gut, as it for the answer to the issue causing the overwhelm.

©Certified Divorce Coach Program-Divorce Coaching Inc. 2021