Have you ever heard “neurons that fire together wire together”? Have you ever given any thought to what that really means; how it happens and how you can rewire them to serve your needs better?
Let’s cover those items one at a time.
1. Neurons that fire together wire together.
All parts of the nervous system are based on the functions of neurons. Neurons are specialized cells that process information. The human brain has over 100 billion neurons. Neurons that fire together wire together. All nervous systems in all animal species have four basic types of neurons:
- Sensory neurons: Tell the rest of the brain about the external and internal environment.
- Motor (and other output) neurons: Motor neurons contract muscles and mediate behavior, and other output neurons stimulate glands and organs.
- Communication neurons: Transmit signals from one brain area to another.
- Computation neurons: The majority of neurons in vertebrates are computation neurons. Computation neurons extract and process information coming in from the senses, compare that information to what’s in memory, and use the information to plan and execute behavior.
The number of possible neuron connections is so large it cannot be counted. That translates to no neuron connection limits in the human body which is one of the reasons athletes and others can break records and do the seemingly impossible.
2. How do neurons wire together?
Neurons wire together when you think in a certain way or do an action in a certain way long enough to make it a habit. Every time you think something different or differently, different neurons fire up to make that happen. Every time you do something different or differently, different neurons fire up to make that happen. Being wired together means it becomes an unconscious activity; meaning you think those thoughts or do those things without consciously thinking. Think about brushing your teeth. Is that a habituated action for you? If it is, then neurons have wired together so you can essentially brush your teeth without thinking about it. There are pros and cons to the wiring of neurons.
If it’s a good habit that serves your wellbeing and frees up your energy to do more important tasks, it’s a wonderful thing that neurons have wired together to habituate that action. If it’s turning to sugar or unhealthy foods every time you’re bored or stressed, that is not a beneficially wired neuron connection.
That which is unconscious runs under your radar. You don’t tend to pay attention to them or whether or not they still serve you. As your goals and life change over time, some habits may need to change – especially as they affect your health and wellbeing.
That which becomes unconscious fools you into thinking that is just how things are; that is just how you are.
Memes, or collective beliefs, are another example of neurons wired together from a collective perspective. Memes can be more difficult to rewire, but not impossible.
3. How can you rewire neuron connections to serve your needs better?
The first step to rewire your neurons and essentially change the habits you want to change is to notice them. Since they may be unconscious, you may wish to ask those close to you to notice and let you know in a kind and loving way those habits that may not serve you well. Keep in mind they may have their own unconscious reasons for pointing them out to you, so you will have to decide if that is something you wish to change about yourself.
After you notice them and decide you want to make changes, decide what change you want to make and build a plan. Changing habits takes a minimum of a consistent 21 to 90 days depending on the person and how long that habit has been ingrained in your unconscious mind and lifestyle.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein
For example, let’s say you want to loose some weight and improve your health. You would first have to make an absolute decision that you want to make this change. You would have to examine all the habits that have contributed to that which you now want to transform and then build a plan of action.
Thoughts precede feelings and then actions or no actions follow. That whole sequence leading up to action or no action took millions of neurons wired together to create the body you have now. You will need to fire up new neuron connections with new thoughts, new feelings about your goal and actions that support it. Once you’ve stuck with the new plan for a consistent 21 days minimum, new neurons will have wired together making your thoughts, feelings and appropriate actions unconscious. Reaching for unhealthy food choices will be more difficult once new neuron wiring is in place. You will feel angst or even anxiety every time you try to deviate from your newly wired neuron connections because they have become unconscious.
Having others around you that support the changes you wish to make helps enormously. This is also where a coach is very beneficial.
This process is true and works for everything. No exceptions. Since there is no limit to the possible neuron connections that can be created, anything is possible. God puts the dreams in your heart. You are the one who has to believe in your dreams and yourself and take the actions to create what you want. The most difficult thing for a human is change because of our limbic system – fight or flight wiring from our cave man ancestors. It’s there to keep you safe – not stop you.
If you find you could use a little help in your quest for change or find yourself in the midst of a life transition, take advantage of a limited time offer for one free coaching session.
Are your habits serving you well?
To your success!