NEURONS THAT FIRE TOGETHER, WIRE TOGETHER
There is a popular phrase used today in neuroscience that states “neurons that fire together, wire together”. In its very simplistic form, it explains how neural plasticity works: connectivity between neurons can change with experience and association. Every time a group of neurons fire together and makes a pattern, their tendency to fire the same pattern again is increased. That is, every experience, thought, feeling and physical sensation triggers thousands of neurons which form a neural network. When you repeat an experience over and over, the brain learn to trigger the same neurons each time (association). A habit, long term memory have been formed. This phrase is originally associated with the work of Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb (1949). What has become known as Hebb’s Law, quite simply states that behaviour and action are the best ways to initiate cognitive and behavioural change.
Advances in neuroscience are giving us the tools to look inside our brains to reveal what is going on. ‘Neurons that fire together, wire together’ is one of the most impactful developments in this exciting field of neuroscience as it gives us improved insight in how to create new, positive networks and rid ourselves of the old emotions and behaviours that have been wired together and possibly held us back. The longer we are negative and tell ourselves “we can’t do something, that we are no good at xxx” etc the more likely it will become reality and habit.
Repetition or practice creates almost automatic behaviours that become our preferred way of doing things. You can become ‘stuck in a rut’. So my website tagline, Change Yourself. Change (Y)our World, was intended to challenge that we can consciously change habits and directly control our brain’s functions (epigenetics). This in the long run can have a positive effect on your immediate world and our world that we all live in. Achieving this point makes you no longer an observer but the captain of your destiny. One of my favourite relevant quotes here is from Louisa May Alcott: “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship”.
So, how do we strive towards optimal development? We start by changing our negative long-held beliefs and behaviours especially when learning and acquiring new information. How? The goal is to be aware of the pathways that you are creating. Become aware of your self-talk, focus on optimistic thoughts, be curious, persevere, practice, practice, practice and embed mindfulness and healthy eating and sleeping patterns into your daily life. A professional coach can help you ‘retrain’ your brain.
“Wiring with Suzanne” is here to help ignite those fires and keep the wires connected, to excite different sets of neurons and ignite new ways of thinking. To engage our newer, executive brain as opposed to our primitive brain, which is often our default brain, I am a firm believer in learning should not be a one-of event; it should be reinforced throughout the year as it takes time to engage our newer brain to enable growth and learning.