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The cognitive triangle and you

June 12, 20233 min read

Never underestimate the power of thought; it is the greatest path to discovery - Idowu Koyenikan

According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 70,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive.

The reason that this is so startling a fact is because what we think, affects how we feel and how we act. Let me give you an example. You hear a noise up in the bushes ahead of you when you’re out walking late at night. Now, you might think, it’s a cat or you might think it’s a kidnapper which would then influence how you behave next. Keep on walking or turn and run.  

The problem doesn’t come from these different or negative thoughts though. The issue itself comes when we believe them to be true. 

Our brain doesn’t hear sound or see light. The brain itself doesn’t ‘feel’.

What we perceive is the brain’s best guess as to what’s out there in the world.

And the world we live in is one we actively generate. Everybody’s actual reality is different. 

The element therefore of control over our ‘world’ is phenomenal. 

The neurons in our brains communicate with each other via the synapses which is the connection between them. We adjust and create these synaptic connections all the time. Everytime we experience or learn something, these incidents and choices shape us. Sometimes that learning becomes reinforced and therefore hard coded. The more we practice something, the better we get and the more it becomes a habit. 

Why does this matter so much to me? This is neuroplasticity and why I’m passionate about the power of the brain.

My dad had Motor Neurone Disease and died when he was 48. My son had a rare stroke in the pons region of his brain and was paralysed all down his right hand side a week after his first birthday.

He has since made a full recovery and I have seen neuroplasticity first hand. I feel like I’m the missing piece between the 2 and am doing everything I can to harness the power of my mind so the former doesn’t happen to me. I wouldn’t wish MND onto anyone. 

By focusing on things in our life that are negative or aren’t going our way instead of focusing on the positive, we get into a vicious circle of negativity. Our world becomes negative and this world is one we’re creating with our own thoughts. 

We don’t notice our thoughts the majority of the time though - they go on in the background. In fact 95% of brain activity is beyond conscious awareness. 

So most of our emotions, decisions, actions and behaviours are made by your subconscious mind. 

The beauty of this is you have control over it as your conscious mind talks to your subconscious. 

Let me show you 

You can change the message. 

Change I can’t do this to I can’t do this yet. 

Change I’m not enough to I’m more than enough. 

Change why would anyone take me seriously to, I have a voice that needs to be heard. 

Depending on your message - your actions follow suit. 

Whether they know if or not, successful people practice this as they know it’s down to them. 

They tell themselves they can do it, they repeat the positive, they visualise themselves achieving it and they have high intrinsic motivation so they do this because they’re internally motivated rather than by external reward. 

You can do this as well. Recognise what you have personal control over. 

Notice when you’re telling yourself something negative and turn it around. 

When you hear that little negative voice in your head, replace it with something positive. It’s about catching yourself when you do this. 

And you can start right now.

I'm doing a year long experiment into the power of the mind in order to become mentally fit as possible. Why not come and join me on @philippawickham - I'd love to share this with you.

the brain and you

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